- Tournament Winner: Ronnie O’Sullivan 4/1, Judd Trump 13/2, Mark Selby 5/1, Ding Junhui 7/1, Neil Robertson 10/1, John Higgins 10/1
- John Higgins goes into the tournament as the man in form, having seen off high-class fields to win both the China Championship and the Champion of Champions event.
- World No.1 Mark Selby has followed up his second World Championship title in May with another impressive season so far, crushing Ding Junhui 10-1 in the recent International Championship final and finishing as runner-up at the Shanghai Masters.
- Ding Junhui won the Shanghai Masters before Selby took his revenge in Daqing, while Judd Trump has also reached two finals this season and Stuart Bingham has consolidated second place in the rankings with a consistent campaign.
The format of the UK Championship, played over more frames than most of the other tournaments, will suit the higher-ranked players as it gives them more time to show their class, although the depth of modern snooker means that surprises are still virtually guaranteed.
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s status as favourite owes more to his reputation and popularity than it does to recent form, as he has not won a title since last season’s Masters and admitted last month that he was ‘not good enough to compete with the best players’. While fans have become used to his self-deprecating remarks and O’Sullivan is rarely happy with his game unless he is firing in left-handed 147s, on this occasion it is probably best to heed his own advice and look elsewhere for better value.
The bottom half of the draw probably appears stronger, with the world’s top-two ranked players, Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham, as well as the in-form John Higgins, former world champion Shaun Murphy and a host of dangerous floaters, including Barry Hawkins, Mark Allen and last year’s runner-up Liang Wenbo.
The top half, by contrast, features out-of-form defending champion Neil Robertson as the No.1 seed, so the best strategy may be to consider who might come through this section. Ding Junhui certainly can’t be counted out, but Judd Trump’s draw perhaps looks the kindest of the lot. He is an extraordinary shot-maker and break-builder and there should be a relatively clear path for him through to the quarter-finals at least. At 8/1 he looks a very appealing punt, particularly with an Each Way offer of 1/4 just for getting to the semi-finals.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Each Way on Judd Trump to win the UK Championship - 8/1 (1/4 on places 1, 2, 3, 4)
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.