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9th January 2012, 1:45am

Championship League Snooker Group 1 Betting: Defending champion Matthew Stevens can win opening group

Championship League Snooker Group 1 Betting: Defending champion Matthew Stevens can win opening group


The 2012 Championship League Snooker begins on Monday with the usual venue of Crondon Park golf club in Essex being the centre of attention once again. The format of the tournament is one which is similar to that of the darts equivalent. Seven players start out in the opening group on Monday with all 7 playing each other once over the best of five frames. The tournament is streamed live on bookmaker websites such as Bet365.

The top four at the end of the league stage go into semi finals and finals with the winner of the final progressing to the winners group. The losing finalist joins the losing semi finalists and the 5th placed player in the next group where three new players enter. The bottom two of the league stage are eliminated from the competition. Players earn money determined by how many frames they win over the course of the group stage so it can be lucrative as well and even more so as there is a Premier League spot for the overall winner.

The first group features a host of top names as Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy and Mark Selby all enter the tournament in this group. Another entering at this stage is the defending champion Matthew Stevens. Those four are joined by Andrew Higginson, Mark Davis and Ali Carter. Judd Trump comes into the group as the joint favourite to progress along with Mark Selby but the best of five frame matches makes logic not necessarily likely to prevail.

Judd Trump will be hard to beat in this tournament if he plays well, of that there’s no doubt but with winning form behind him in this tournament and the need for a bit of match practice before the Masters next week I don’t see why Matthew Stevens is over twice the price that Trump is. On his day Stevens can beat anybody and with the pressure of this event not the same as major ranking tournaments he can score well and trouble them all. I can’t see him not making the top 4 and from there it’s anyone’s so I’ll take the defending champ here.

Back M.Stevens to win Group 1 for a 2/10 stake at 7.50 with Ladbrokes

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