The fact that the Snooker Shootout has been granted status as a ranking tournament is 2017 has caused a few ripples with the better players. However, with Snooker’s governing body trying to drum-up better viewing figures, which should attract more sponsors to the sport – they should be grateful.
If you’ve not seen the Snooker Shootout before, it’s basically a 128-man knockout with each match decided by a single frame which has to be completed in a maximum of 10-minutes. In the first-half of the match, players may take up to 15-seconds per shot, whilst in the second-half they only get 10-seconds. Meanwhile, a set 5-point penalty is awarded to an opponent if the object ball isn’t hit during a shot, and players must either pot a ball or hit a cushion, too. All foul-shots means an opponent is awarded ball-in-hand, whilst ties are decided by a shoot-out on the blue-ball with players allowed to position the cue-ball anywhere in the D.
If you think it sounds gripping, it really is, and you can watch the action on ITV4 from Thursday 23 February to Sunday 26 February.
However, as you can imagine, finding the winner isn’t easy in this one-frame lottery – and it’s no surprise that the bookies are going 25/1 the field, with only 9 of the 128-strong field priced-up at less than 50/1.
2017 Snooker Shootout Betting: Barry Hawkins 25/1, Mark Allen 25/1, Sean Murphy 25/1, Stuart Bingham 25/1, Mark Williams 33/1, Liang Wenbo 35/1, Joe Perry 40/1, Kyren Wilson 40/1, Ricky Walden 40/1
A look at the winners since the tournament was resurrected in 2011, Nigel Bond, Barry Hawkins, Dominic Dale, Martin Gould, Robin Hull and Michael White, doesn’t make it any easier, and only Barry Hawkins is currently in snooker’s top-16.
Hawkins has also been in great form recently, and probably deserves his favourite status, but it’s hard to go into battle with just one player in a format that’s as close to Russian Roulette as you’ll get in professional sport.
Therefore, I’m also siding with another previous winner in Martin Gould as, not only has he proved himself in this fast-paced format, he also seems to find his form at this time of year, and got to the semi-finals of the recent 2017 German Masters when trying to defend that title.
Barry Hawkins 1 Point @ 25/1 (Betfair Sportsbook)
Martin Gould 1 point @ 50/1 (Betfair Sportsbook)