The 2017 Dafabet Masters takes place between the 15-22 January, at the Alexandra Palace, London, its home since 2012. Only the World Championships has been running longer than this prestigious 16-man invitational, which started life in 1975 with inaugural winner John Spencer pipping Ray Reardon to the title in a 9-8 thriller.
Ray Reardon did get later his name on the title though, in a role of honour that comprises six-time winners Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan, three-time winners Steve Davis, Mark Selby, Cliff Thorburn, Paul Hunter, John Higgins, and two-time winners Mark Williams and Alex Higgins. Meanwhile, players who claimed just one title include Doug Mountjoy, Perrie Mans, Terry Griffiths, Jimmy White, Dennis Taylor, Alan McManus, Matthew Stevens, Ding Junhui, Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy.
2017 Dafabet UK Masters Betting: Ronnie O’Sullivam 3/1. Mark Selby 4/1, Judd Trump 9/1, John Higgins 10/1, Ding Junhui 12/1, Neil Robertson 12/1, Sean Murphy 20/1, Stuart Bingham 25/1, Marco Fu 33/1, Barry Hawkins 40/1, Mark Allen 40/1, Kyren Wilson 50/1, Mark Williams 55/1, Ali Carter 66/1, Liang Wenbo 80/1, Joe Perry 80/1.
All matches up to and including the semi-finals are played in the best of 11-frames format, with the final being the best of 19-frames.
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Liang Wenbo
Neil Robertson v Ali Carter
Judd Trump v Marco Fu
John Higgins v Mark Allen
Stuart Bingham v Joe Perry
Ding Junhui v Kyren Wilson
Shaun Murphy v Barry Hawkins
Mark Selby v Mark Williams
2017 Dafabet Masters Summary
Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan looks sure to be motivated to win a record-breaking seventh Masters title, and will have plenty of supporters at 3/1 after winning 2 of the last 3 renewals. However, it is world number one Selby who will arrive here full of confidence after defeating O’Sullivan in the final of the UK Championship before Christmas, and he’ll be looking to add a fourth Masters Title to his CV after his previous in 2008, 2010 and 2013. John Higgins was also very much in form before Christmas, though the Scot claimed the last of his two titles back in 2006. Meanwhile, Ding Junhui, Neil Robertson and Sean Murphy have all taken the title in the last 6 years – though having to defeat both an inform O’Sullivan and Selby could be too much to ask of any of them.
2017 Dafabet Masters Tip
If you put a gun to my head, I’d pick Selby. However, with Selby and O’Sullivan having won 7 of the last 10 finals, including 3 of the last 4 – the smart play could be to back them both at the respective 4/1 and 3/1 – or just better than even-money the two.
Back Mark Selby @ 4/1
Back Ronnie O’Sullivan @ 3/1