Snooker betting: Judd can Trump the Ladbrokes Players Championship Field

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There are just two more ranking tournaments to be played out before the Snooker World Championship gets underway on 16th April, this week’s Ladbrokes Players Championship and the China Open at the end of the month.

The Ladbrokes Players Championship may not be the highest profile event the game has to offer – it’s probably the ‘lowest-key’ ranking event of them all – but the field have jumped through countless hoops to make it to this 24-player event.

It is the culmination of the Asian Tour and the Kreativ Dental European Tour series, which run throughout the season. The top players from both tour’s Order of Merits come together to compete for the title.

The tournament was first staged in 2011 in Dublin and was won by Shaun Murphy.  In 2014 the tournament was moved from Ireland to Preston when Barry Hawkins prevailed.  In 2015 the tournament was then staged in Thailand and the title went to Joe Perry, who beat Mark Williams 4-3.  It has now moved home again and will be staged at Event City in Manchester between Tuesday, March 22nd and Sunday 27th.

Mark Selby has withdrawn from the tournament leaving Judd Trump to head the betting at a top-price 4/1 with Skybet.  Shaun Murphy can be backed at 5/1 with William Hill, while Mark Allen (10/1 Stan James), Ding Junhui (11/1 Betfred) and Barry Hawkins (18/1 Betfred) complete the top five in the betting.

With the likes of Neil Robertson, Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins also missing from the field some would imagine the main protagonists would be priced-up shorter.  But this competition is a ‘crap-shooty’ best-of-seven-frame format until the semi-finals and, as recent results have shown us, there is very little between the world’s best right now.

An in-form Martin Gould would make some real appeal (at 25/1) had he not drawn Judd Trump in the opening round.  But another up-and-comer, Kyren Wilson, has an easier task in his opening match.  He squares up against 35-year-old Ryan Day.

Wilson has recently broken into the World’s top-16 and is showing some wily determination, enough to think he could make a good fist of winning this event.

Two emerging talents clash in an enthralling opening round match.  Bookmakers can barely separate Michael White and Luca Brecel.  Whichever wins will progress to meet, to probably meet (as he plays Dave Gilbert in the opening round), Ding Junhui.  This is particularly tough section of the draw.

When that draw is inspected closely you have to concede Judd Trump is more than worthy of his favouritism.  Should he overcome Gould he then has an apparent walk in the park against Ali Carter of Graeme Dott.  For certain the 4/1 about him winning the tournament will then be long gone.

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