The 2013-14 Snooker season swings into action with the Wuxi Classic in China which started today. There is a change to the format of the various events this year, with the top sixteen and thirty-two players in the World Rankings no longer seeded through to the later stages. All seeded/ranked players enter at the round with 128 players left in the competition after the early Qualifying rounds.

Recommendations

Ali Carter to win the Wuxi Classic 18/1 Each Way (1/2 odds 1,2) @ BetVictor

Mark Allen to win the Wuxi Classic 17/2 Win @ PaddyPower

The format change has a few important consequences

- a) Especially in the early rounds but for most events these games are short format, best of seven frames usually, which is randomising in terms of results. Most top 128 pros can beat any other in the draw on any given day.

- b) Where “Round of 128″ draws are unseeded, draws can be lopsided and this can lead to value betting opportunities

-c) These can be identified early because the path to the final, much like say a Tennis Grand Slam event, is laid out and public as the event begins.

Looking at the Wuxi classic we have one such lopsided draw. The fourth quarter of the draw reads as follows

  29 Mark Allen v Peter Lines
30 Steve Davis v Andrew Higginson
31 Liang Wenbo v Jamie Jones
32 Lu Ning v Matthew Stevens
33 Allister Carter v Alfie Burden
34 Lyu Haotian 4 v 3 Craig Steadman
35 David Morris v Gary Wilson
36 Gerard Greene v Michael Wasley

As we move through the competition the winner of Match 29 plays 30 then the winner of 31 v 32 etc

What is noticeable about this final quarter of the draw is how weak  it is. Matches 33-36 include one top 32 player, Ali Carter. Matches 29-32 one top sixteen player, and three top 32 players.

This gives the opportunity for the seeded players, who nonetheless will be vulnerable on format considerations, to have a relatively straightforward path to the latter stages. We can back them to overcome the early round risk knowing that as the tournament develops, experience comes more into play and once we reach the latter stagesm as a bettor, strategies exist to guarantee returns via hedging etc

Carter is a teak tough tournament player, who gave Ronnie O’Sullivan trouble at the World Championships at Sheffield in May. A less onerous schedule than some other players in this era where snooker globetrots in search of new markets and new players accounts for a World Ranking of 15. On his day that belies his ability.

Also in the same quarter is top 8 player Mark Allen, a tournament winner last year and with the format and nature of this draw a good saver in the same quarter to Carter

If one of Allen or Carter progresses through the early rounds, the odds below will be generous. Compared to every other section of the draw, they have been given a fine chance to do so

Both begin play on Tuesday 18th June with their initial matches.

Recommendations

Ali Carter to win the Wuxi Classic 18/1 Each Way (1/2 odds 1,2) @ BetVictor

Mark Allen to win the Wuxi Classic 17/2 Win  @ PaddyPower