The baize is back in town this week as the 2019 Masters gets under way from the Alexandra Palace, with Ronnie O’Sullivan chalked up as the hot favourite.
We’ve taken a look at each quarter of the draw ahead of the start of the tournament on Sunday…
Quarter 1 – Mark Allen – 6/5
Allen has matured into a terrific snooker player of late. So it’s no surprise our traders have him down as the 6/5 favourite in Quarter 1.
The Pistol won here 12 months ago and boasts an ultra-consistent game which has seen him walk away with the International Championship and Scottish Open already this term.
To put that form into some context, those victories account for two of his five ranking tournament successes in the last 14 years. It’s difficult to argue with that sort of form ahead of this one.
Quarter 2 – Ronnie O’Sullivan – 8/11
There’s not a lot of fun in backing the favourites. But how can you look past O’Sullivan at 8/11 for Quarter 2? The five-time world champion is picking and choosing his events these days.
And given that he’s advanced to the semi-finals in all five tournaments he’s showed up at this season, the Rocket is difficult to ignore here.
Further confidence can be gleaned from O’Sullivan’s Masters record. The Essex potter has made it to the semi-finals in four of his last five appearances here, going all the way three times in that time.
Quarter 3 – Kyren Wilson – 3/1
We’re intrigued by Quarter 3. Selby may be the favourite, but he’s had a relatively barren season and has failed to reach the last-four in each of his last four Ally Pally appearances.
Trump is the obvious alternative, although the Juddernaut’s failure to win any of his last three matches against Kyren Wilson over the best-of-11 sets format has left us with cold feet.
On that basis, it’s Wilson’s long potting game which is taken to prevail in the quarter of death. If he can win through, then he may fancy his chances of making the final for the second year running.
Quarter 4 – Shaun Murphy – 7/2
With Williams and Barry Hawkins enduring difficult years, it could be worth looking towards a resurgent Shaun Murphy to spring a surprise in Quarter 4.
The Magician has conjured up some decent form of late to reach the final of the Scottish Open last month and the semi-final of the Champion of Champions in November.
Some big names have fallen by the wayside in those runs. And we reckon the 36-year-old can reproduce that form again here to have a major say at this business end of the competition.
Click here for all our 2019 Masters odds.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication