Can Stuart Bing home the title?
Once again William Hill are the proud sponsors of the UK Snooker Championships. Played at the Barbican Centre in York from 1st to the 9th of December, the UK is the second most valuable ranking event on the Snooker calendar, and we will of course be offering a wide range of markets to keep the excitement going right through to the final frame.
Last year's winner and new world number 1 Judd Trump (7/2), will again be eyeing the title and has a relatively easy draw against Mark Joyce (150/1). Joyce is a 9/2 shot to beat his Bristol opponent, who looked out of sorts in the recent Premier League Final and could be there to be shot at. Going down to an in form Stuart Bingham was no embarrassment considering Bingham's results getting to the final but losing with the deficit that he did would possibly suggest good value on his Trumps first round opponent.
Runner up last year was the increasingly outspoken Mark Allen (12/1) . The Northern Irishman, already serving a suspended ban for comments made at the 2012 World Championship, recently claimed that the measures brought with regards to players behaviour is "bordering on a dictatorship". His Ban will only come into effect if a further breach of rules occurs within 6 months; with this ending in December, Allen has said that he "will have a few more things to say"! "There are definitely things I want to say but I need to get them out in the right way. I am itching to say these things."
Well whatever it is that he wants to say, we say that he is 2/5 to beat former finalist Marc Fu (66/1). The man from Hong Kong made the final in 2008, losing in a final frame shootout to Shaun Murphy (14/1), and is a player most would want to avoid in the first round.
There's nothing to choose between John Higgins and Niel Robertson both at 7/1 for the tournament. Not bad value, especially on Higgins, world number 3, considering his 3 previous victories in this tournament.
Ding Junhui is next in the betting at 10/1, with the man from China also no stranger to victory in the UK with 2 wins, the first coming in 2005 when he beat Steve Davis in the veterans last televised final on the main tour. Ding is up against Ryan Day (66/1) and will fancy his chances against the man from the valleys. That said Day has been hitting a bit of form as late and the price would be slashed should he get past Ding.
Mark Selby (11/1) seems to have put his bad back behind him which plagued him towards the start of the season and looks to be getting back to the sort of form that got him to world number 1 at the end of last. Currently standing at world number 2 the "Jester from Leicester" faces relatively unknown 21 year old Michael White. White has been steadily working his up the rankings since turning professional prior to the 2007/8 season and was the youngest player ever to make a century break; he got a 105 at nine years old. The feat earned him an invite to the Crucible where John Parrot commented "I hope I've retired before I have to play him"!
Other players to keep an eye on could be Stuart Bingham (22/1), cracking value if he can continue his Premier League form, Liang Wenbo(66/1), another Chineese snooker star, Mathew Stevens (33/1) who is long overdue a tournament victory and the Belgian wizzkid Luca Brecel (66/1).
All the first round matches are played over 13 frames with Sundays final over 19. If you fancy a player to manage a maximum break during the tournament we have a bet to excite you. We are offering odds on Individual players to record a 147 starting at 20/1 for the tournament favourite to 150/1 for the less fancied.
Another bet to keep you interested is our "Name the Finalists" bet. Here you predict the winners of each side of the draw, so if everything goes to plan and the tournament favourites get all the way to the final we will pay you 8/1.
We have winning nationality if you prefer to back a group of players. Predict which country, from the four home nations, Ireland or rest of the world, that the winner will come from and if your selected country has 2 players in the final, you can't lose!
As usual William Hill will have an extensive range of betting opportunities available throughout the tournament including Correct Score, Highest Break, Quarter Winner and Winning Quarter. We will also be offering handicap and alternative handicap markets on all the matches as well as our usual array of In-Play match and outright betting.
So let's get the boys on the baize for another thrilling week of Williamhill.com UK Championship Snooker action.
Outspoken snooker player Mark Allen rocked the boat slightly at last year's williamhill.com UK Championship with some of his comments on Twitter but he is looking to create waves of a different kind this time around.
"I feel like I'm in great form and I don't see any reason why not," said last year's runner-up Allen when asked if he could go one better this year.
Sponsoring the tournament for the second year in a row, williamhill.com managed to coax Allen into hitting the flooded streets of York in a dinghy in order to deliver the UK Championships trophy to the Barbican, where this year's tournament is being held.
"This year's tournament will be absolutely fantastic and looks like it is wide open with most, if not all of the competitors in with a shout of winning," said William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.
"Having qualified for the tournament as well Steve Davis will be desperate to scoop UK Championship number seven."
UK Championship winner: 7/2 Judd Trump; 7/1 John Higgins; 7/1 Neil Robertson; 10/1 Ding Junhui; 11/1 Mark Selby; 12/1 Mark Allen; 14/1 Shaun Murphy; 16/1 Mark Williams; 18/1 Stephen Maguire; 22/1 BAR