Free tips Snooker: German Masters
Top is Best but Mark Allen can Rule the Bottom
The German Masters, an all-important World Ranking event, is staged in the 2,500 seater Tempodrom in the centre of Berlin. This has been its permanent home since 2011 when it became a ranking event. The recent winners are Ali Carter, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Ding Junhui, Mark Williams and, in 2015, Mark Selby.
With Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson and John Higgins failing to qualify for the competition – all beaten by vastly inferior rivals in late December qualifiers – it is Mark Selby, the defending champion, who heads the betting at 9/2 (Totesport).
Also successful in last season’s China Open, Selby has held his form well and was a semi-finalist in the last two ranking tournaments, the UK Championship and International Championship. His conquerors there were John Higgins and Neil Robertson who both went on to win the respective competitions.
In this best of nine-frame format Selby looks a formality to progress to the quarter final – beating Steven Hallworth and then either Stephen Maguire or Ken Doherty in the second round – where he will most probably face Barry Hawkins.
If the form-book stands up, Selby should account for Hawkins there before an appointment with Judd Trump, who is 5/1 (Sportingbet) in the outright betting, in the semi-finals.
That’s a big ‘IF’ as Trump will probably have to account for Shaun Murphy in the quarter finals beforehand. Murphy is the third favourite (17/2 best at Bet365) to win the competition which shows the strength and depth of quality players in the top-half of the draw.
Therein Mark Allen has to be considered massively over-priced 4/1 with Sportingbet to make the final from the bottom-half of the draw. The 29-year-old Northern Irish player has hit a rich vein of form and is one of very few pros to have qualified and played all four ranking events of the current season.
Eliminated in the opening round of the Australian Open he was a semi-finalist in the Shanghai Masters, quarter-finalist in the International Championship and a third-round casualty in the UK Championship. In addition to that he was a finalist in the Champion of Champions and reached the quarter-finals of the elite Masters.
That consistency can be rewarded this week courtesy of a straightforward draw which will, worst case scenario, see him meet Marco Fu in the quarter finals and Stuart Bingham in the semis.
Bingham may be the current World Champion but on recent form, if he were to meet Mark Allen tomorrow in a best of 11-frame game (which the semis of the German Masters are), he would surely go off the 7/4 underdog.
In short, while the winner ultimately coming from the top-half of the draw is rated a 4/9 shot with Paddy Power, a rag-tag collection of ageing and out-of-form players in the bottom half can and should be vanquished by Mark Allen.