The Betway UK Championship is one of the most prestigious tournaments in snooker. It is a ranking tournament that comes right after the World Championship in terms of popularity and is also one of the Triple Crown events that also include the Masters. The tournament has a great history behind it and has been held since 1977 at various locations in the UK.
With a prize fund of £850,000, the UK Championship sits right behind the World Championship. In the beginning, it was a non-ranking tournament (1977-1983), then continued as a ranking tournament from season 1984-85. It has seen quite a few sponsorship changes during the years, with sports betting giant Betway currently sponsoring the tournament. It is one of the BBC-televised tournaments and is held annually toward the end of the year.
Snooker legends Ronnie O’Sullivan and Steven Davis hold the record for most titles at the UK Championship with 6 each. Two of Davis’ titles, however, came before the UK Championship was upgraded to a ranking tournament. O’Sullivan is the current champion after defeating Shaun Murphy in the 2017 final.
The upcoming UK Championship will be held from 27 November to 9 December at the Barbican Center in York, just like the past 7 years. Throughout the years, snooker fans have been treated to many exciting matches which have come down right to the line. We have no doubt that this year’s tournament will be more exciting than ever, especially due to the fact that O’Sullivan can win his record 7th title and forever cement his name among snooker legends. Bookies believe that the Englishman is a major favourite for the UK Championship, giving him pretty great chances of lifting the trophy at the Barbican Center.
Will Ronnie O’Sullivan Make History Once Again?
What can we say about Ronnie O’Sullivan that hasn’t been already said? The Rocket is a definition of a sports legend. His 33 titles only trail Stephen Hendry’s 36, and we have no doubt that O’Sullivan can surpass that record. He’s on top of the list of snooker all-time prize-money winners with nearly £10 million in earnings. He holds the record for most century breaks as well, with 948 behind his name and several other records in the sport as well.
This year, O’Sullivan will have a unique opportunity to win a record 7th title at the UK Championship and surpass Hendry’s 18 titles in Triple Crown events. If he wins the tournament, he’ll be holding the record for most titles at the Masters and UK Championship, trailing only 2 titles behind Hendry in the World Championship, which certainly isn’t out of reach for the snooker genius.
This year, bookies clearly believe O’Sullivan is the major favourite for the UK Championship. Major bookmakers such as SportNation, SportPesa, Fun88, RedZoneSports, and MansionBet are giving The Rocket odds of 33/10, leaving him all alone at the top. These odds mean that you’ll get 33 quid for every 10 you punt, which is a quite a great return if you ask us. If you agree with the bookies that Ronnie O’Sullivan will win the tournament, place a bet on him and you’ll triple your investment if he lifts the trophy.
Mark Selby – O’Sullivan’s Biggest Threat
There’s no denying the fact that Selby will go down in history as one of the best players snooker has ever seen. His incredible ability to ‘guide’ the ball in tight angles and escape tough situations has earned him the nickname ‘Sat Nav Selby’ and his record speaks volumes about his snooker knowledge. Selby is one of only 6 players to win Triple Crown events at least twice and is a prolific break-builder as well, with 500 century breaks already in his career.
When it comes to snooker in general and the UK Championship more specifically, Selby is the biggest threat to O’Sullivan’s throne. They’ve played many matches against each other and their rivalry is the most exciting in the sport. There’s no reason to believe that we’re not headed to another Selby vs. O’Sullivan final, and bookies believe in it as well, placing Selby as the second favourite for the UK Championship.
Selby is being given odds of 11/2 at RedZoneSports, SportNation, Mansion Bet, Fun88, and SportPesa. These odds not that close to Sullivan, but still second to none. Betting on Selby is still a good choice if you think that the pressure of a 7th UK Championship title may be too much for O’Sullivan to handle. If Selby goes on to win the tournament, you’ll be looking at quite the return.
Can A Darkhorse Triumph?
Judd Trump and John Higgins can be considered two darkhorses for this year’s edition of the UK Championship. Trump is a former world number one who has more than 500 century breaks in his career and is always a threat no matter who he plays against. This year, bookies have placed Trump on the third place of UK Championship favourites, giving him odds of 8/1 with MansionBet and others (SportPesa, Fun88, SportNation, Red Zone Sports).
Trump certainly has what it takes to win the tournament, although he might need a bit of luck as well. Should he end up winning it and you’ve wagered on him, you’ll get plenty in return. Judd Trump is a darkhorse who can cause an upset and win it all, so you might as well at least consider placing a small bet on him.
John Higgins is right behind Trump, completing the quartet of favourites for the 2018 Betway UK Championship. Higgins is one of the older players in the tournament and one of the most decorated as well. He’s one of the most successful players in the history of snooker, with 3 UK Championships and 5 World Championships behind his name. He clearly has the mettle to go all the way to the end, although bookies see him as a darkhorse.
Still, with odds of 9/1 at SportPesa, MansionBet, Fun88, SportNation, and RedZoneSports, he could become a punter’s favourite. Who knows, maybe this will be a year when the former champ denies O’Sullivan his record title, which will surely make punters who’ve bet on Higgins more than happy.
Outside of this quartet, there aren’t many players who are given major chances of winning the UK Championship. The most successful Asian snooker player Ding Junhui comes after Higgins on the list with odds of 12/1, with Mark Williams and Neil Robertson following him with 14/1 and 16/1 respectively (SportPesa, Fun88, RedZoneSports, SportNation, MansionBet).
Kyren Wilson, Shaun Murphy, and Barry Hawkins share odds of 22/1, while Mark Allen concludes the list of slight favourites for the title before giving way to Stuart Bingham with 40/1. All of this means that O’Sullivan and Selby are the biggest favourites for the title, and considering their current place in the world of snooker, we must agree. The good news for punters is that both players are given quite enticing odds, so if you’re planning on wagering on the outright winner of the UK Championship, our money would be on one of them.