The Ladbrokes Players Championship is a relatively new edition to the Professional Snooker Calendar, and was first held in 2011 when Sean Murphy beat Martin Gould 4-0 in the final. Since then it has been won by Stephen Lee, Dig Junhui, Barry Hawkins, Joe Perry and Mark Allen.
Up until last year, all matches were decided in a best-of-7-frames format. However, last year the format changed to best-of-9 for the early rounds, best-of-11 for the semi-finals, and best-of-19 for the final, and this year’s tournament will again be decided that way.
It starts on Monday 6 March, with the final taking place on Sunday 12 Mar, and it is being held at the Venue Cymru, Llandudno, Wales.
It is a limited-field event, with only 16 players, but a first-prize of £125,000 has made sure that the top names in the game are here to do battle – and Mark Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan share favouritism at 9/2.
2017 Players Championship Snooker Betting
Mark Selby 9/2, Ronnie O’Sullivan 9/2, Judd Trump 11/2, John Higgins 12/1, Barry Hawkins 12/1, Sean Murphy 16/1, Neil Robertson 14/1, Stuart Bingham 14/1, Marco Fu 18/1, Ding Junhui 18/1, Ali Carter 40/1, Ryan Day 40/1, Anthony McGill 50/1, Liang Wenbo 80/1, Anthony Hamilton 100/1, Mark King 175/1
First Round Matches
Mark Selby (1) v Ryan Day (16)
Marco Fu (8) v Anthony McGill (9)
Ding Junhui (5) v John Higgins (12)
Stuart Bingham (4) v Anthony Hamilton (13)
Barry Hawkins (3) v Neil Robertson (14)
Ali Carter (6) v Shaun Murphy (11)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (7) v Liang Wenbo (10)
Judd Trump (2) v Mark King (15)
Despite the lucrative first prize, it’s hard to get enthused by either Selby or O’Sullivan this week, whilst third-favourite Judd Trump has developed a nasty habit of finding one too good. John Higgins also seems to have gone off the boil.
Neil Robertson also continues to perform below his best, whilst it remains to be seen whether Sean Murphy is motivated by last week’s victory or can’t quite reach the same heights again.
Taking all that into consideration, it could be worth chancing Barry Hawkins and Marco Fu. Hawkins must have every chance in his opening round match against Neil Robertson, and the same apples to Marco Fu who takes on Anthony McGill in the first round. There probably won’t be an easy match for either after that but, at double-figure odds, they may prove a bit of value this week.
2017 Players Championship Snooker Tips
Marco Fun 1 Point Each-Way @ 18/1 (Stan James) 1/2 odds 2 places