The eyes of the snooker world turn to York next week as the UK Championship comes to town. The first of the events in the calendar to make up the prestigious ‘Triple Crown’, the UK Championship is set to be another hotly contested event, with no shortage of world-class names competing.
As if to underline the uncertainty surrounding the winner, there’s no clear market leader with Marathonbet. Both Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump have been priced up at 3/1, and Australian Neil Robertson is worth consideration at odds of 5/1.
Trump arguably has the edge over O’Sullivan in recent form, beating his fellow Englishman 9-7 in the Northern Ireland Open Final recently, and he’ll be looking to record his second UK Championship title in York. He also has the opportunity to join an elite club of just 11 players who have won all Triple Crown events.
He’ll find O’Sullivan to be no pushover, however. The seven-time winner of the competition is arguably the greatest snooker player of all time and has the natural talent that could see him breeze through the competition with minimal fuss. In a competition with so many rounds, that path of least resistance could well be a huge benefit as to who’s fresher by the time the later rounds kick in.
Whilst the majority are expecting another Trump-O’Sullivan showdown in the final, there are plenty of contenders waiting in the wings to spoil the prospective party.
One such player will be the aforementioned Robertson, who is one of just two non-UK past winners of the tournament. The Aussie does have impressive recent form over Trump too, beating him 10-9 in the Champion of Champions tournament in one of the all-time great finals.
Another of the tournament’s previous winners will also fancy his chances to upset the odds in York. Shaun Murphy, priced at 12/1 with Marathonbet, is an outside shot for glory next week. The Englishman has won the tournament once before, as well as being a mainstay in the top 16 in the world since 2006.
At longer prices, Barry Hawkins and Stuart Bingham could both provide some value. Hawkins, priced at 22/1 and Bingham, a 28/1 chance, are both reliable performers on the biggest stage and very rarely fail to deliver on expectations.
Odds correct at time of writing.