Dafabet Masters 2019 Betting and Odds Preview
One of snooker’s Triple Crown events kicks off an exciting year on the green baize and the nature of this invitational tournament always ensures a strong field. The Masters may be a non-ranking event but it’s one of the most eagerly anticipated competitions on the calendar and we have another ‘all star cast’ descending on Alexandra Palace in North London.
Mark Allen is our reigning champion while the great Ronnie O’Sullivan starts as favourite so let’s look at the format of this tournament and see if we can pick 2019’s winner.
History and Format
The Masters is one of the longest-standing events in snooker and 2019 will be the 45th edition of this competition. It was first held back in 1975 when just ten players were invited and the inaugural tournament was won by John Spencer. Gradually the field increased up to 16 and the event became firmly established on the circuit.
The big names held a strong record here and for many years, Stephen Hendry was the most successful player with six Masters titles. Eventually, the Scot was caught and then overtaken by Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan who claimed his seventh victory in 2017.
For 2019, sixteen players will take to the baize and, in keeping with previous years, invitation is to the top 16 in the world rankings. It’s a straight knockout format and in the first round, the winner is the first to six frames. The same ruling applies to the quarters and semi finals while in the final, it’s the best of 19.
Another world class field is waiting to cue off on Sunday January 13 with the final taking place a week later so let’s get straight on and see what the bookies make of it all.
Man to Beat
As with most years, Ronnie O’Sullivan has been selective about the tournaments in which he takes part but when the Rocket does take to the baize, he’s arguably been more dominant than ever. O’Sullivan has started the new season in top form and is an obvious favourite to win the 2019 Masters at best odds of 9/4 with SportNation and BetFred.
Ronnie has the tougher half of the draw with a tricky opening match against Stuart Bingham and he’s seeded to face Mark Allen in the semi final but his recent record and history in this event confirms him as the man to beat.
Our second favourite is former world champion Mark Selby who is as short as 5/1 in places but elsewhere, the Jester from Leicester is on offer at a top price of 8/1 with Coral and Black Type. Selby has struggled at the start of the new season so anyone backing him will be working on the ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’ theory.
The talented but inconsistent Judd Trump follows at a best of 9/1 with BetFred and then we come to two men at the same top price of 12/1. Current World Champion Mark Williams is available at that figure with BetBright and SportingBet and then we come to the 2018 Masters Winner Mark Allen at 12/1 with Unibet and 888Sport.
Williams produced some of his best snooker through the 2017/18 but hasn’t quite been able to replicate it in the new campaign. Allen, meanwhile, is in the form of his life and closed out the year by winning the Scottish Open title. Either man could be a big threat in the 2019 Masters renewal.
The Top 16 are here over the next eight days so no-one could really be considered as a ‘rank outsider’. The longest numbers are held by Luca Brecel who is at best odds of 100/1 with 888Sport and Black Type but if he were to overcome Mark Allen in the first round then the Belgian might have a chance.
Moving to the front of the outside pack, John Higgins is available at a top price of 14/1 with Black Type while Neil Robertson follows at a best of 16/1 with Betway and BetBright. Kyren Wilson is also available at a top price of 16/1, this time with BetFred and from there, the market starts to move out a little.
Ding Junhui is on offer at best odds of 18/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral, followed by Barry Hawkins at 20/1 with 188Bet. Shaun Murphy is next at a top price of 25/1 with Black Type, followed by Jack Lisowski and Stuart Bingham who can both be picked up at the same top price of 35/1 with 188Bet.
Completing our sixteen for Alexandra Palace are Ryan Day at best odds of 40/1 with SportingBet and BetBright while the same two bookmakers have the best numbers for Stephen Maguire at 66/1. In a short tournament such as this we can’t rule anyone out but who is in the frame for a 2019 Masters win?
The concern for other players is that Ronnie O’Sullivan seems focussed and in the right frame of mind to play his best snooker. There is the distracting talk concerning a breakaway tour but he is able to pick and choose his events and whenever he does perform, he’s a consistent winner of big tournaments.
Since the start of 2018, he’s won a seventh UK Championship while adding victories in the World Grand Prix and the Players Championship. He raises his game for the big events and that’s the standout trend in terms of picking a winner.
We mentioned that Ronnie has the tougher half of the draw and it includes a tricky opening clash with Stuart Bingham with the likelihood of facing John Higgins and Mark Allen in the quarter final and semi final respectively. However, he’s in the type of form that will brush aside any opponent as Mark Allen discovered when he succumbed 10-6 to the Rocket in the final of the UK Championship.
The draw is also important in regards to picking some each way value and we feel that the man to watch here is Kyren Wilson. He will have to get past Judd Trump in the first round but from there he has a relatively simple passage to the final.
O’Sullivan to win isn’t the most original tip we’ve made but we just can’t see past him right now so hopefully the addition of Wilson as an E/W punt will boost a modest profit at the end of this tournament.
Best Bets for 2019 Masters:
- Ronnie O’Sullivan to win at 9/4 with BetFred
- Kyren Wilson Each Way at 16/1 with BetFred