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Nic Ladds 11th Dec 2008 - 13:26

Judd can play his Trump card in the UK Championship

Ronnie O'Sullivan is a warm 9/4 favourite in the betting to follow his stunning display from last year and capture another UK Championship title.

The Rocket hit a maximum 147 break in the final frame decider in the semi-final against Mark Selby (who is 5/1 this year) before destroying Stephen Maguire in the final who is 8/1 to go one better this year.

After O'Sullivan took the Premier League title last week he will be in good heart and having got his turbulent personal life under control it is going to take a seriously impressive performance from one of his rivals to stop the Rocket retaining his title.

Selby is in cracking form and will have his backers at 5/1 but it is worth noting Selby will face O'Sullivan in the semi-final should they both get that far.

The UK Championship matches are mostly played as best of 17 frames and due to this format there are not as many upsets as in the lesser framed tournaments. The only long shot winner since the tournament became a ranking event was Doug Mountjoy back in 1988.

Due to the trends over the years it is generally best to look near the head of the market for the likely winner with not necessarily the highest ranked players but the ones currently in form usually performing excellently in the tournament.

For this reason one man that looks worth opposing is world number three Shaun Murphy who is horrendously out of form having lost to big outsiders in his last two tournaments and looks opposable at 20/1.

Judd Trump at 25/1 could be the one to cause an upset if there is to be one. The 19-year-old has bags of potential, has qualified for all five of this season's ranking events and even beat O'Sullivan on his way to the Grand Prix semi-finals.

Trump starts his tournament against 80/1 poke Mark King and Trump is a solid 4/9 favourite to see him off with King at 13/8.

Some scintillating clashes have already been lined up in the first round including world number four Mark Selby who is 2/5 to beat two time UK Champion Mark Williams, a 7/4 shot to send Selby home early. Williams is 40/1 to add a third UK Championship to his CV.

In an all Welsh affair Ryan Day (16/1 for the tournament) is the 4/7 favourite as he takes on 2003 UK Champion Matthew Stevens (40/1 on the outrights) who finds himself as 5/4 underdog for the match.

Despite being the outsider Stevens will be quietly confident of putting together a good run as he comes off the back of a being a close runner-up to Neil Robertson in the Bahrain Championship. Robertson himself can be backed at 16/1 to lift the trophy.

Recommendation:
Outright - Judd Trump 25/1
Match betting - Martin Gould to beat Shaun Murphy - 9/4

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