The Masters snooker tournament gets underway at the Ally Pally this weekend with Aussie potter Neil Robertson aiming to retain his crown. For our 12/1 fourfold to cop, however, he’s going to have to fall at the first hurdle.
Ding Junhui to beat Neil Robertson @ 6/5
Chinese break-builder Ding Junhui lifted the Masters crown in 2011 and must overcome the reigning champ if he is going to get his hands on the trophy for a second time this year.
Both winners prior to Robertson (one of which being Ding) have had their hopes of regaining their crown ended in the opening match the following year and this will give the Chinese Dragon hope of inflicting the same fate on his Australian adversary, as will his 3-0 win over him when the pair last met in the Championship League.
Stephen Maguire to beat Graeme Dott @ 8/15
The shortest price selection of this accumulator puts faith in Maguire to overcome his Scottish counterpart Dott in the opening round.
Former Crucible champion Dott has lost three of his last five matches and has only ever won three times at the Masters since its 2002 inception. These stats should give Livewire the confidence to advance beyond the first round of this tournament for the first time in two years.
John Higgins to beat Ali Carter @ 8/15
This one has banker written all over it.
Carter, already a UK Championship semi-finalist this season, has progressed past the last-16 of this competition just once in seven attempts; it’s clearly not his favourite event.
Compound this with the fact that he has been trumped on 15 of the 20 occasions in which these two cuesmiths have stared down the felt at one another and you’ve got to be backing two-time Masters champ Higgins to get the job done here.
Stuart Bingham to beat Mark Selby @ 6/4
The Jester from Leicester has an enviable record in this event, making three of the past five finals and winning two of them.
He could well be sent packing early doors this time around though when he takes on Bingham who arrives at the Ally Pally in decent knick.
Ball-Run made the final of the Wuxi Classic earlier in the season and reached the last-eight of the recently concluded UK Championship. What’s more is that he has a surprisingly good record against current world number one Selby, having beaten him in seven of their 15 meetings, including their latest duel.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date