Snooker is in its most unpredictable era. Gone are the days when Steve Davis or Stephen Hendry completely dominated the game. Instead, we are now afforded different winners, new faces and upsets on such a regular basis that it’s hard to call them upsets anymore. This is great for the sport and its spectators, and it means that snooker betting can be even more profitable if you know how to go about it.
The most common snooker betting market is, unsurprisingly, the picking of the outright winner of a match or tournament. For individual matches, you will find a variant of this in the form of handicap betting; when a contest is particularly uneven, online bookmakers will figuratively add or subtract frames from a player’s final score. It could be profitable to back the theoretical outcome if you think, for example, that the underdog will lose but only just.
Elsewhere, snooker betting odds are given by most online bookmakers to punters trying to predict the exact outcome of a match in terms of frames. A match normally consists of nine frames, so the winner is obviously required to win at least five of them (it is worth noting that some tournaments, such as the World Championships, have longer formats).
The in-play market is very popular in snooker betting. Most online bookmakers offer the opportunity to bet on the winner of each frame, as well as take advantage of changing odds on the overall winner market. Punters can back one of the players to win the current frame but then to lose the next, or to win three in a row before losing the next three, and so on. Comebacks – even within the same frame – are not uncommon in snooker, which means that a player slow off the block can easily overturn a deficit; these markets, as you can imagine, can be very profitable for punters with good foresight.
Other snooker betting odds offered by the likes of Paddy Power and Bet365 include placing a wager on who will pot the first ball of a particular frame, or how many shots it will take for a frame to be concluded.
The majority of online bookmakers also offer the option of combining a number of different outcomes in the form of an accumulator. If, for example, a punter fancies Mark Selby, John Higgins and Stephen Lee to win their respective games, he can record this on one betting slip and – if the outcome arises – be on the receiving end of a healthy payout. Even by betting on favourites across the board, if an accumulator comes in, the returns are always favourable.
From a tournament perspective, online bookmakers offer markets including which two players will reach the final, who will record the highest break, who will win by the most frames in any given match, and so on. If backing a favourite to win a tournament, it is best to try and place a wager before the contest starts since, as that player progresses and nears the final rounds, their odds will shorten dramatically.
Many casual fans of the sport may simply be familiar with the odd showdown at The Crucible. However, snooker betting is a highly intriguing proposition; a range of outright, match and in-play betting markets mean that it is never, ever boring.
There are now more tournaments than ever, with the World Championship, the UK Championship, the International Championship and the Masters being the biggest events in terms of prize money. However, the 2013/14 season, which starts in June, will see a number of changes to the way tournaments are organised, with the top 16 players in the world stripped of their advantage in the eight big ranking events. They will no longer be given a bye into the last 32, instead competing from the very first round, which will start with 128 players. This means that a raft of unknown players will be playing against the biggest names in snooker, which can be great for both match and tournament betting.
Here, it's key to look out for the new players who perform well under pressure and, critically, on TV and in front of big crowds. For most, it will be a new experience, and players can react very differently. Some find it extremely difficult and simply can’t perform at their best, while others can deal with it and, given that they're relatively unknown, bookmakers will give generous odds on them to beat the top guys. In snooker, this type of upset isn't as unlikely as in, say, tennis where the best rarely come unstuck. Lay betting on an exchange site like Betfair can, therefore, be quite a profitable strategy if you can spot a potential snooker upset.
Away from standard match winner markets, snooker also provides plenty of opportunity for in-play betting, with frame markets being particularly popular. When a player is sat in his seat while his opponent is amongst the balls, they can go out to some very rewarding odds. A 30 or 40 point lead can seem big, but actually that’s the easy part; converting this lead into a frame winning advantage is the hardest task, because, firstly, nerves kick in on the more important frame-winning shots, and secondly, because the hardest balls to pot are left until the end.
Another popular option as far as tournament betting goes is the 'Maximum Break?' market, which concerns whether there'll be a 147 maximum break achieved during a tournament. Bookmakers tend to price this market up quite generously, and so this can be a relatively 'gambler-friendly' option, given that you have all the tournament's players on your side, and that it will keep you interested until the very last frame. And with three maximums made during the 2012 UK Championship (plus qualifying), this market could well be worth a flutter.
For a range of snooker betting markets, both on individual matches and tournaments like the World Snooker Championship, visit Betfair Sports today!