Championship League Snooker 2020: Betting and Odds Preview
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Sport is just starting to make a tentative return to the schedules across the world and in the UK, a number of events are being scheduled for the start of June. Among these is the Championship League Snooker which gets underway on Monday the 1st and runs through until the final on the 11th.
All matches will be played behind closed doors and under strict medical regulations so it will seem odd to watching spectators. However, snooker must be relatively easy to police in this respect as it’s a non-contact sport and only involves two players plus the referee. We saw the Gibraltar Open conclude in this fashion back in March so let’s look forward to the Championship League and see what it has in store.
Event Date: June 1-11, 2020
History and Format
The Championship League Snooker tournament was first held in 2008 and was originally used as a qualifier into the now-defunct Premier League. The fact that the event carries a large field and the frames are short means that we have seen a number of surprise winners over the years.
The defending champion is Scott Donaldson while the list of previous champions also includes Martin Gould who has won the trophy on two previous occasions. This is worth bearing in mind when analysing the betting markets although we have seen the top players rise to the top in the past. Current World Champion Judd Trump is a three-time winner of the tournament and the left hander will head the outright market in 2020.
As for this year’s format, it will take place on a round robin basis with 16 groups containing four players in each section. At the end of that process, the 16 winners in each of those sections will proceed into four groups of four and the round robin starts up once again.
Finally, there is one more set of round robin games when the top four in each of those second phase sections progresses to the Tournament Finals. At the end of that process, the player topping the table is crowned the winner.
To balance that rather lengthy and convoluted format the matches are very short – played over three frames. It’s not a best of three however as players win money for each frame won so we will see some 3-0 scorelines.
That’s the format explained so who’s in line to lift the trophy in 2020?
Out in Front
Judd Trump is the most successful player in Championship League Snooker history and he’s also the world number one. Given those two factors, it’s no surprise that the Ace in the Pack leads the outright betting at best industry odds of 11/4 with Unibet and 888Sport.
Close behind is Neil Robertson who is available at a top price of 9/2 with Betway and Ladbrokes while Ronnie O’Sullivan is marginally further back at a best of 5/1 with BetFred. As we can see, it’s going to be a strong field for this year’s renewal and the betting is tight at the top before we start to move out.
Mark Selby was the runner up in the first two editions of Championship League Snooker but the Jester from Leicester has yet to make it back into the top two. Selby’s form has been dipping of late and he will go into 2020’s renewals as third favourite at best odds of 8/1 with 10Bet and SportNation.
The market starts to move out even further at this point with both Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson quoted at a top price of 16/1 with Coral and VBet. Stuart Bingham and David Gilbert are next at a best of 25/1 with BetFred and of those names in the chasing pack, only Bingham is a previous winner of this event. ‘Ball Run’ lifted the trophy in 2015 and he has the form to attract a number of backers at that price.
We’re starting to get into the realms of the outsiders now but there are other cuemen in with the chasers. Barry Hawkins is quoted at best odds of 40/1 with Ladbrokes while Jack Lisowski is also at 40/1 – this time with 10Bet.
It’s been a year when Ali Carter has shown some of his best snooker. Carter got to the final of the Dafabet Masters earlier this year and there could be some interest at best odds of 66/1 with Unibet and BetFred. Elsewhere, Joe Perry was the first winner of this event back in 2008 and he is also listed at 66/1 with 888Sport and Betway.
As Scott Donaldson showed in 2019, there may well be some outside value in this event but where could it come from? One price that is quite outstanding is the best of 200/1 from BetFred next to the name of Matthew Stevens. Clearly that’s a real longshot but Stevens is another man who has just started to hint at his best form and he has as good a chance as any to burst through from the outside bunch.
With just under a week to go until the first break is made, the bookmakers have the overall tournament winner betting plus they have published markets for each individual group. There may be other side bets to come and, of course, there will be match betting for every single game in the Championship League.
To start with, we’ll just focus on the winner and that list of previous champions suggests this could be a tough call. The big field and short format can also have an impact and there is also the issue that players have not played competitively for over two months.
As sport makes a slow return, that lack of competitive action is going to have a bearing in a number of events but for now, we have to consider recent form. Judd Trump has enjoyed another stunning season but one man who has shown solid consistency this year is Neil Robertson. The Australian has won the World Grand Prix and the European Masters in 2020 while he was a runner up to Trump in the German Masters.
Robertson will surely win more tournaments this year and that 9/2 win price offers reasonable value. Elsewhere, while it may be too much to expect Matthew Stevens to convert at that 200/1 figure, he can be backed to win Group N at a top price of 15/8 with Unibet. With Gary Wilson, John Astley and Mitchell Mann in that same section, Stevens should top the group if he can overcome Wilson over three frames.
There will be more options to come but the following two tips will hopefully lead to a nice profit when snooker arrives at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes on June 1st.
- Neil Robertson to win (outright) at 9/2 with Ladbrokes
- Matthew Stevens to win Group N at 15/8 with Unibet