2021 Masters snooker betting tips and predictions: Ronnie 4/1 to rule again
The top 16 snooker players in the world descend upon Milton Keynes for the prestigious 2021 Masters to fight it out for the £250,000 top prize.
The event has been moved from Alexandra Palace this year; all eight tournaments so far this season have taken place at the Marshall Arena and this one follows suit.
Since the season recommenced in September, the standard of play has been brilliant, the cream has risen to the top and the sport’s elite have dominated.
2021 Masters snooker betting tips and predictions
Odds are correct at the time of publication and are subject to change.
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O’Sullivan can master rivals again
Seven-times Masters winner and reigning world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has yet to register a tournament win this season.
The 45-year-old has, by his own admission, spent less time on the practice table since winning his sixth world title in August, but has still shown enough to compete at the highest level.
“The Rocket” has reached two ranking event finals, only to come up short against Judd Trump in the Northern Ireland Open and Mark Selby in the Scottish Open.
But this is a tournament that plays to his strengths, with the first three rounds over the best of 11 frames and played in one session.
O’Sullivan chose not to take part last year, but was a finalist in 2019 and has reached the final in four of the last six editions.
The draw has been kind – he has a tremendous record against Ding Junhui, who he faces in the first round, and either Mark Allen and John Higgins await in the quarter final, both of whom have struggled for form recently.
There are no easy draws at the Masters, but O’Sullivan is strongly fancied for a spot in the final four at the very least and should be backed for outright honours.
Selby laughing all the way to final
Another player well suited to this format and expected to go well is three-time Masters champion and world No 2 Mark Selby. “The Jester from Leicester” spent seven years as world No 1 between 2012 and 2019, before a loss of confidence and dip in form saw him struggle.
However, last year Selby teamed up with coach Chris Henry and has burst back into life. He reached the semi-final of the World Championship and narrowly lost out to eventual winner O’Sullivan 17-16.
He has won twice already this season, landing the European Masters and successfully defending his Scottish Open title, and now looks back to somewhere near his very best.
Selby will always be a tough opponent with his tremendous bottle and immense determination, but he is now scoring more heavily when among the balls and playing more fluent and attacking snooker.
His temperament is what has made him a fierce competitor at the Masters, where he has been to the final five times and is fancied for another appearance this year.
He has dodged both world No 1 Judd Trump and O’Sullivan in his half of the draw, presenting him with a great opportunity to at least reach the final.