Welsh Open Snooker - Spread Betting Preview
Welsh Open 2019 Snooker Preview
Snooker's finest will descend upon the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff to battle it out for glory at the Welsh Open from 11-17 February. The total prize fund stands at a cool £336,000 and the prestige associated with winning this showpiece event is huge, which ensures a strong field of 128 players, featuring all the leading lights and a number of promising players hoping to make a name for themselves. John Higgins is the reigning champion after beating Barry Hawkins in a thrilling final in 2018, but he faces a ferociously difficult challenge as he bids to retain his crown.
Last year a jubilant Higgins declared that it was one of the best finals he had ever played in. The standard was immaculate as both players were in magnificent form, and Higgins just about edged it 9-7. He went into the final full of confidence after sweeping aside Gary Wilson in the semis, but Hawkins raced into a 4-2 lead on the back of a supremely confident showing. Higgins battled back to make it 4-4 and the stage was set for an exhilarating showdown.
Hawkins made it 6-6 at the mid-session interval with a brilliant 138 break - his second of the match - but a run of 66 saw Higgins creep 7-6 ahead. Both players missed with just the pink and black remaining and Higgins went 8-6 up in nail-biting circumstances. Hawkins pulled it back to 8-7, but it was all too little too late, as Higgins seized the deciding frame by displaying extraordinary calmness under severe pressure.
Higgins Seeks to Defend Title, While O'Sullivan Looks to Bounce Back
It represented a fifth Welsh Open triumph for the legendary Higgins, making him the most successful player in the tournament's history. He is among the frontrunners to win it again this year after emerging in 2019 with fresh vigour. He confessed to losing his appetite for the game after consecutive World Championship final defeats, at the hands of Mark Selby in 2017 and Mark Williams in 2018. But the 43-year-old said that the impending retirement of fellow Scot Andy Murray gave him a 'kick up the backside' and convinced him to prolong his snooker career.
Higgins will always be a big draw after enjoying one of the most impressive careers in the history of the sport, but Ronnie O'Sullivan will undoubtedly gain the most attention in the run-up to the Welsh Open. He is a four-time champion of this event and he can move level with Higgins in the all-time stakes if he triumphs this month. O'Sullivan also has the added incentive of becoming the first player to make a milestone 1,000th century break during the tournament, so he will need no further motivation for this one. However, `Rocket Ronnie' had the worst possible preparation by suffering a shock defeat to Marco Fu in the first round of this week's World Grand Prix.
It was about the tamest title defence imaginable from O'Sullivan, who had not previously lost to Fu since the last 16 of the 2009 Welsh Open. He failed to pot a single ball in the final frame and went out with a whimper in one of the biggest surprises of the season. It was a second consecutive defeat for O'Sullivan, who suffered a 10-4 hammering at the hands of 29-year-old Judd Trump in the Masters final at Alexandra Palace. O'Sullivan's talent is beyond reproach, but it remains to be seen whether he can return to his true self for the Welsh Open.
Yet he has still lost just four times this season and it is therefore understandable to see him take centre stage in the Welsh Open snooker markets. It is also worth noting that O'Sullivan was not the only player to suffer a surprise defeat at the World Grand Prix. Reigning world champion Mark Williams also crashed out in the first round against 18-year-old prodigy Yuan Sijun. The youngster compiled 131 in the decider to set up a second round clash with Stephen Maguire, while world number 10 Neil Robertson lost to China's Xiao Guodong in another shock.
Welsh Open 2019 Spread Betting
Snooker feels thrillingly open at the moment, but the big names have dominated the Welsh Open in recent years. Since 2010, only Higgins, O'Sullivan, Maguire, Stuart Bingham and Ding Junhui have triumphed here, and you will find the world's most celebrated players dominating the Outright Index on this tournament. World number one Selby will aim to clinch victory here for the first time since 2008, while Williams, O'Sullivan, Higgins and Trump are the key men to look out for, but there is danger lurking throughout the field of competitors. Hawkins, Mark Allen, Maguire, Bingham, Junhui, Robertson and Kyren Wilson will all fancy their chances of going deep into the tournament, so we should be in for some gripping matches and Sporting Index offers a great range of snooker spread betting markets to take your snooker interest to the next level.
You can simply opt for a spread on which player will win the match, or go for the 100 Index to ramp up the excitement even further. Alternatively you can choose from various handicap markets and correct score markets to potentially earn even more value from your bet. If you are unsure who will win a particular game, you can speculate on Total Match Points, Total Frames, Total Centuries, 50-ups, Ton-ups, the highest match break and many more interesting markets.
Snooker fans are bound to find plenty of attractive betting opportunities at Sporting Index and that should allow you to turn the Welsh Open into a thrilling week of action.
Stay tuned to Sporting Index for all the latest Welsh Open snooker markets throughout the tournament.