Snooker's elite will be back at the baize this week for the William Hill World Snooker German Masters 2016. Running from February 3rd-7th inside Berlin's Tempodrom, the event will be another chance for 32 of the game's best break builders to clinch a major title.
Fresh from their latest exploits at the World Snooker Masters at London's Alexandra Palace, the top-ranked snooker players in the world will now head to Germany for the next ranking event of the season. However, despite his storming performance in London, the man of the moment, Ronnie O'Sullivan, won't be among the betting favourites as the balls begin to fly.
The temperamental maestro might have decimated the field in the Masters, but after falling to Stuart Carrington in the qualifying rounds before Christmas, O'Sullivan won't be among those challenging for the title in Germany.
The fans' potential loss is the rest of the field's gain as the absence of an in-form O'Sullivan will likely do wonders for the other competitors' chances of success. Looking at the latest German Masters betting markets, it's clear that Mark Selby has become the odds-on favourite.
Thanks to another strong season in 2015, as well as a quarterfinal appearance at the Masters, Selby will start the tournament as the favourite for the title with most bookies. Currently tipped at 9/2 with William Hill Sports, the defending champion is comfortably ahead of the prodigal Judd Trump, who currently holds a price of 5/1 with the same bookmaker.
As you'd expect, the list of potential winners features an array of familiar names, including: Mark Allen (8/1), Shaun Murphy (8/1), Stuart Bingham (10/1) and Marco Fu (12/1). However, if there's one value spot on the current list of options it's Barry Hawkins.
A semi-finalist in this event back in 2013, Hawkins is currently ranked eighth in the world and took a break at the start of the current season in an effort to improve his results. That decision appears to have paid off as he recorded a win in the Riga Open (a minor-ranking event) early in 2016, before making it to the final of the Masters in January.
Out-potting the likes of Mark Allen and Judd Trump on his way to the finale, Hawkins was unlucky to run into a red hot Ronnie in the final and lose 10 frames to one. However, that performance aside, his form in the previous rounds showed that he is currently playing some of his best snooker; something which makes him a potential steal at 16/1 with William Hill Sports.
However, for many pundits it's hard to look past Selby. Had it not been for an ominous encounter with O'Sullivan at Alexandra Palace, he may well have made yet another final. That fact, coupled with his impressive run in the 2015 German Masters, is reason enough for many of snooker's top tipsters to shout about his chances.
Of course, for those who want to speculate on something a little more exotic than the outright winner, William Hill Sports is offering a variety of options for the 2016 German Masters. In addition to match betting and a "name the finalists" market, the online betting operator is offering bets on the highest break, final frame deciders and enhanced odds bets on selected matches.
With O'Sullivan out of the running, a speedy 147 might not be on the cards, but with Selby (6/1 for highest break), Trump (13/2 for highest break) and Murphy (15/2 for highest break) all capable of building big breaks, there's certainly a wealth of value to be had at the bookmaker his month.
Regardless of the bets or the breaks, the 2016 German Masters looks set to be another barnstormer even without the magical talents of O'Sullivan. Visit William Hill Sports today to check out the latest 2016 German Masters betting odds.