How to Bet on Snooker
Snooker betting is widely available across virtually all of the major bookmakers and this looks only set to increase with the number of high-profile tournaments increasing each year. With a number of events taking across all year round, a vast array of available markets and in-play possibilities, it's no surprise to see such a growth in popularity in those wanting to bet on snooker.
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Snooker is regulated by the World Professional Snooker and Billiards Association. World Snooker is a commercial body responsible for the commercial side of the game. This organisation is responsible for running and administering the professional circuit.
The most significant snooker tournaments are the ranking events of which there are an increasing number taking place. Players earn ranking points in these events determined by how much they win. Each player’s position in the standings determines if they receive automatic entry to ranking tournaments or need to go through qualifying.
The climax of the ranking events season is the World Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Shefield in which the top 16 players in the rankings qualify by right and a lengthy qualifying process determines which players are given the other 16 places in the draw.
There are several invitational events and these tournaments do not carry ranking points. The most prestigious and lucrative is the Masters which is generally played at a venue in London early in the year.
Most Popular Markets
The most popular snooker market involves betting on which player will win a match. This is a two-way market as generally there is a loser and winner. The exception is Premier League matches in which the tie is an option.
Ante post tournament betting also generates decent turnover. For example it is possible to bet on the World Championship virtually as soon as the current one has been completed.
It is possible to bet on the correct score in terms of frames in a snooker match. When there is a clear favourite and underdog handicaps are applied to even out the match and attract two way business.
Best Snooker Betting Markets
The form in ranking snooker tournaments can be quite consistent which means the better players generally win the ranking events. Long priced winners are rare and most events are won by the first four players in the betting.
Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry both won the World Championship on numerous occasions when favourite. Ronnie ‘O’Sullivan has won five world titles and he was the shortest priced in the betting on each occasion. John Higgins has also won the event three times and on each occasion his ante post price was in single figures. Generally it is wise to follow the shortest priced players in trying to identify potential winners of the World Championship.
The match winner market involves betting on which player will win the match and qualify for the next round. This is a two-way market as a winner is always declared. There are rules with regards retirements before a match is completed with the player who progresses to the next round declared the winner.
Bookmakers are wary of match winner markets in several sports in which one player is eliminated and another progresses. Snooker is similar to the likes of darts, tennis and bowls in which a pre-set draw determines each player’s opponents throughout the competition.
Match winner markets are very competitive as every bookmaker betting on the sport will include this option in their portfolio of offers. Competition has a positive affect on margins for the customer and these margins make betting on the match winner the best snooker bet.
Momentum is a key element in any sport and confidence gained from a good run of form helps a player to contunue to play well. All players in any sport will have a dip in form and these shifts in momentum can be helpful in identifying frame winners.
There are many examples of a player establishing a significant lead in snooker match, leaving then needing to win a few frames to win the match. The player facing the deficit may then relax or play more positively. In any case snooker matches have shifts in form and at these points betting on which player wins a frame can become an attractive bet.
Worst Snooker Betting Markets
Race to 30 points
It is possible to bet on the player to reach 30 points first in a frame of snooker. Bookmakers that are betting in running will shorten up a player who is at the table in the race to 30 points. A player is more likely to break down in the early stages of a frame as there are more reds on the table to impede shots.
When a player comes to the table the objective is to score as many points as possible. However, it is possible to lose position early in the frame which suggests backing the player who is sat and watching to reach 30 points first is a potentially profitable strategy.
First Colour Potted
This is another popular market in which betters are looking to predict the colour of the first ball potted following a red. Black and blue are just about joint favourites followed by pink and the three baulk colours are the outsiders.
Bookmakers love this type of bet as it is a bingo or lottery bet. The odds on offer reflect the probabilities and betting turnover is generally split proportionally between the six options. Players are always looking to get on the black but can go out of position and then need to focus on another ball.
This bet is susceptible to streaks and this writer was victim of a rare run of balls when betting in running. A bettor backed yellow in three frames in succession, compounding his stakes at 8/1. He was fortunate that quite remarkably the yellow was potted first in three successive frames, at accumulated odds of 728/1.
The speed of the table can affect the likelihood of each ball being potted. On a fast table it is more difficult to control the cue ball which is more likely to run towards baulk and make yellow, green and brown more likely to be the first colour potted.
Number of Points in a Frame
Generally bookmakers will allow customers to bet on whether the number of points in a frame is greater than or less than and equal to 100. The statistics make the over slight favourites and this is the way most bettors go as they like to bet on something to happen rather than not happen.
Correct score betting is very difficult in most sports and snooker is no exception. The bet involves predicting how many frames each player will win in a match. In a best of 19 frame match there are numerous variable which make it difficult to anticipate the frame score with any confidence.
A player might be leading by several frames and almost secured of victory. Professionals play each frame on its merits, regardless of the match score. However a slight dip in focus can allow the opponent to win one or more frames which can turn a winning bet into a losing one.
Current form is the most significant factor in determining the relative price of two players meeting in a match. Respective world rankings are also used by odds compilers when framing match markets.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that in snooker players don't really play against each other as they compete against the balls on the table. While one player is potting a series of balls, the other can do nothing. This means an up-and-coming player in good form will often beat the more established player.
Most of the time traders have to forget each player’s performance at the same tournament in previous seasons. The most important factor is each man’s confidence and performance level and this can be assessed by studying their most recent results.
In-Play Snooker Betting
Snooker lends itself to in-play betting due to the fluctuations that can take place during a frame. Careful trading allows a bettor to back both players at greater than evens when there is a swing in fortune.
Odds will shorten dramatically when a player comes to the table. As each ball is potted the odds for the player sitting and watching go out but it appears there may be an overreaction.
Very few frames are won in one visit which means each player will miss at least one ball and hand the initiative back to their opponents. Only when a player has accumulated a frame winning total of points will the other player concede defeat.
Turnarounds are great for bookmakers but they also provide decent trading opportunities for the punters. Arbitrate situations can be established but the bettor has to be wary of betting at the wrong stage of a frame.
Tournament statistics can be key to assessing a player’s prospects. However, these records are more useful in a sport like golf in which courses vary and certain players are suited to their different features. A snooker player may feel comfortable playing in certain parts of the country but generally one snooker hall is the same as the next and the basic playing conditions are consistent.
Head-to-head statistics can also help a bettor. One player might have an edge in a match as he has a good past record against his opponent. The value of these figures should not be overstated as current form and momentum are more significant.
History of Snooker Betting
Snooker saw a massive growth in interest during the 1970’s. In many ways the catalyst for this increase in interest was colour television. Snooker is one sport which does not lend itself to coverage in black and white.
Pot Black was a weekly series in which the best players had a match over just one frame which meant the programme fitted neatly into a 30 minute time slot. The event did not carry any ranking points but played a large part in making snooker more popular.
The World Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield remains one of the ‘jewels in the crown’ of televised sport on the BBC. Eurosport show live snooker around Europe and cover all the major events.