Like all individual sports, snooker is a game that relies heavily on form and often that means the big names offer low odds. But if you're looking for better value, there are plenty of snooker markets to turn to.
With the snooker world adjusting its world ranking system and its growing popularity starting to produce heavily bet events, all snooker betting enthusiasts should ensure they are approaching each market with an effective strategy.
In snooker betting, distance in World Ranking status equates to big differences in odds. In the 2013 UK Championship, for example, Andrew Higginson (30th) vs. Li Hang (96th) offered match winner odds of 1/2 and 6/4 respectively at Winner.
The price difference is not surprising, but the lack of value in the underdog is. That's because snooker can be tricky to call before a match starts - particularly lower down the rankings - and that's why an effective snooker betting strategy necessitates a look at alternative markets.
Handicap and total frame markets are a good way to get odds around the evens area for quite safe calls. For example, you could have pulled some value from Higginson by betting -1.5 (frames) in the handicap market, which was offered at 4/5 over at Winner. Considering Higginson is an experienced player whose results improved in the build-up to the match, these weren't bad odds.
Total frames, meanwhile, are worthwhile with hot-and-cold players. Higginson's season has been mostly whitewashes and thorough victories, so a bet on Under (+9.5) at 8/11 seemed sensible. Over bets are a good shout on players who take matches to the wire.
For bigger odds (and bigger risk), the same information can be usefully deployed in the frames market. These are especially useful in games where form suggests one player's victory is all-but-assured. Stuart Bingham's matchup with Jimmy White in December is a good example. Bingham looks certain to win, but predicting a whitewash pays 9/1 at Winner, while a 6-1 win is rated at 5/1, and 6-2 at 4/1 at the time of writing.
Another way to gain value is to wait until the start of the match. Catching the moment a match swings in the favour of one side or the other is the essence of in-play betting in any sport. However, tactics and angles are arguably more important than stats in snooker because there are some great markets enabling you to get value from predicting a player's plans (or, indeed, their plants).
Betting on the next colour potted, not so tricky if you're watching the angles, yields odds from around 6/4 to 8/1, while betting on who will pot the first ball or be the first to reach a points target is another way to use your eye for the lie of the table. If a break is getting big, or a player is moving out of sight in a frame, you can also bet on the total points in a frame.
Of course, if stats are your forté, you can bet on players completing century, or even maximum, breaks. This is an interesting market when you're watching top players like Neil Robertson, who scored a century break every 14.5 frames in 2013.
Remember that from the 2014/15 season the current points system that determines World Rankings will be replaced by prize money earnings: which will skew rankings more toward major tournaments. This makes knowing strategy, form and frame scoring more important to a nuanced gambling system than ever before.
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