Former snooker professional Craig Edwards @EdwardsTips_ takes an early look at the Masters Snooker 2022 for BetWithUs
Alexandra Palace, London
Yan Bingtao v Mark Williams
John Higgins v Zhao Xintong
Neil Robertson v Anthony McGill
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Jack Lisowski
Judd Trump v Mark Allen
Kyren Wilson v Stuart Bingham
Barry Hawkins v Shaun Murphy
Mark Selby v Stephen Maguire
Yan Bingtao brings each-way value on the early look into next year’s Masters Snooker
BetWithUs Snooker Pick
Yan Bingtao each-way @ 18/1 (19.00)
Yan Bingtao is the reigning champion having won the prestigious Masters behind closed doors at Milton Keynes last year for the obvious reasons. This year he will be debuting at the raucous Alexandra Palace so there’s going to be a huge difference in the atmosphere for the young Chinese superstar or maybe not. There’s no way of knowing what restrictions due to Covid the Government will apply after Christmas but it wouldn’t surprise me if the event was behind closed doors. The winner of his encounter in Quarter 1 with Mark Williams will play John Higgins or the new UK Champion, Zhao Xintong which is a difficult matchup for the Scot at a venue he’s known to struggle at.
There can be little doubt that the quarter is in the harder half of the draw given the winner will be pitted against Neil Robertson, Anthony McGill, Ronnie O’Sullivan or Jack Lisowski from Quarter 2. It’s difficult to make arguments for McGill or Lisowski although, both a playing respectably. The Rocket’s Grand Prix win over the Aussie, Neil Robertson was an inspirational one to remind us all that he’s still a factor at the top of the sport, and they look bound for an epic re-match in the quarter-final.
In Quarter 3, 2018 Masters champion, Judd Trump may benefit from the event having no ranking points as I get the impression, subconsciously he’s looking over his shoulder in the world rankings having dominated them in recent years. He plays the Northern Irishman, Mark Allen who seems beset by personal problems currently and is hard to support confidently. The winner of their encounter plays 2019 champion, Stuart Bingham or Kyren Wilson to decide the quarter. Bingham beat Wilson on the way to the title in 2019 and he could be inspired by Alexandra Palace again after his strong showing at the Grand Prix last week.
Quarter 4 undoubtedly is the weakest with Barry Hawkins playing Shaun Murphy. Hawkins has been below his best all season even in reaching the UK Championship semi-final while Murphy had a babyish meltdown at the same event in yet another defeat to a player ranked way below him whether professional or amateur. Mark Selby has looked quite sedate and unmotivated all season and it could be that subconsciously he knows his strength belongs at the World Championship leaving him unmotivated for events that he knows doesn’t suit his strengths. I do expect him to be motivated for the Masters, though, but he will need to be because Stephen Maguire has made a habit of playing well against him over the years.
The conclusion for our early look into the Masters Snooker of 2022 is for Yan Bingtao to defend the crown he won on his debut last year. His opening match versus Mark Williams looks an easier one than many given the Welshman has been laid low with Covid and has a poor record at Alexandra Palace in recent years. John Higgins has a similarly poor record at Alexandra Palace in the last decade and looks vulnerable to Zhao Xintong or himself. It gets harder at the semi-final stage, but Yan Bingtao has already proved he has the tools to beat either Neil Robertson or Ronnie O’Sullivan. There is also the factor of whether or not the event is played behind closed doors, if it is, it’s likely to upset the leading players such as Judd Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan so Bingtao brings no worries if the event is played to an empty arena. Defending champions also have a very respectable record in these elite top 16 events and therefore Yan Bingtao brings each-way value to punters at next year’s Masters Snooker in early January.
Masters Snooker 2022
Yan Bingtao – each-way @ 18/1 (19.00)