Having been shifted to the end of July and into August, the World Snooker Championship is still a good while away for the world’s top players, but having been out of action for a few months, many of the top ten will return to the baize with the start of this weeks revamped Championship League Snooker tournament in Milton Keynes.

64 of the world’s top players will be competing in this newly revamped tournament, which will also be shown live on terrestrial television. Current World Champion Judd Trump along with Neil Robertson, Mark Allen, Kyren Wilson, Stuart Bingham, Luca Brecel, Mark Selby, Ali Carter and crowd-favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan will be competing.

With sporting events starting to populate the calendar again, you can be sure that punters will be interested in the action in Milton Keynes this week, especially with the World Championships scheduled to start in 60 days time. If you fancy a bet on the games in the Championship League, or even a ante-post World Championship winner bet, then why not sign up with the latest bet365 New Player Bonus for a great value deal.

As a customer, you can enjoy a wealth of snooker betting on the tournament that starts today (1st June) including In Play betting on the games, as well as being able to tune in to the action live via its Live Streaming service (provided you have made a bet in the preceding 24-hours, or have a credit balance in your account).

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Let’s now take a look at how the Championship League has been revamped for 2020.

Championship League 2020

This year’s Championship League has been expanded to 64 players who will play in 16 groups of Snooker betting UK bet 365four competing against each other. Players will play each of the other players in their group once in a best of four-frames showdown. Points are awarded in the format of 3 for a win and 1 for a draw.

Each day will see play on two tables with two of the 16 groups played to a completion across the first eight days of the tournament. After this, the 16 players that win their opening group will move into the second phase of the tournament.

In the second phase, the 16 players are drawn randomly into four further groups of four. The tournament continues with two groups being played to completion over two tables over the 9th and 10th June, again each game will be contested over four legs.

After this has been completed, the four winners of each group qualify for the Tournament Finals which start on June 11th and which is one final group comprising of the four winners from the second phase. They will play each other once to decide who is the Championship League winner.

The winner will pocket at least £30,000 in prize money from the event, with over £200,000 up for grabs across the tournament as a whole. The winner will also receive a guaranteed place in November’s Champion of Champions tournament.

Scott Donaldson is the current holder of the title, having beaten Graeme Dott 3-0 in the final and Judd Trump 3-1 in the semifinal to earn his first victory as a professional back in 2019.

In addition to being streamed live on bet365, the tournament is also being shown live on ITV4 in the UK.

What are the key groups?

The opening phase of the tournament sees the 64 players draw into 16 groups of four. The most intriguing groups are outlined below featuring some of the game’s top stars.

  • Group B – Judd Trump, Elliot Slessor, Daniel Wells and David Grace

Anything can happen in these short format games, but over three matches, you would expect to see Judd Trump qualify from this relatively straightforward group. Trump is 2/9 to win the group and move into the second phase and that is about right for a player that had won six ranking events earlier on in the season. Slessor is 8/1, with Wells a 9/1 shot and Grace the 11/1 outside bet.

  • Group C – Michael Holt, Mark Davis, Mark Joyce, Louis Heathcote

Although not perhaps the group with the biggest names, this is arguably the most evenly contested group in the first round of the tournament and iit promises to be one that will appeal to punyers given how well-matched the players are. Holt is the 7/4 favourite to win the group just ahead of David at 2/1, Joyce at 13/5 and Louis Heathcote is the outside bet at 7/1.

  • Group I – Jack Lisowski, Luca Brecel, Robbie Williams, Oliver Lines

In terms of sheer quality, Group I may be the group of the first round. Oliver Lines is the 10/1 outsider here but the other three players are much more evenly matched with Lisowski the 5/4 favourite ahead of the exciting and big scoring Luca Brecel at 13/8. However, you can’t rule out the improving Robbie Williams at 9/2 either. It would not surprise me if this group is decided on legs won as it is so close.

  • Group F – Ali Carter, Matt Selt, Sam Craigie, Dominic Dale

This is another very open group and arguably vies with Group I for being the toughest to predict. Even the outside bet here, veteran Dominic Dale is a 4/1 shot with Sam Craigie 7/2, Matt Selt 3/1 and the favourite Ali Carter a 13/10 chance. Carter is the pick in this group in terms of quality but he is not the best in these shorter events which could give one of the others in the group a chance to shine.

Who Wins the Tournament Outright?

Unsurprisingly, given the form he was in before the season was interrupted Judd Trump is the clear favourite to win the event ahead of both Neil Robertson and Ronnie O’Sullivan at 4/1. Ex World Champion and World Number 1 Mark Selby is 8/1 with Kyren Wilson and Mark Allen 16/1 shots. Outside of this, the odds drift quickly.

These shorter style tournaments with fewer frames in matches do tend to favour explosive players who can score quickly and get in their stride in matches fast and that does suit players like Trump and O’Sullivan. Of the two, while you can never write off O’Sullivan, I think Trump would be the one I’d be backing here at 5/2.

The first session begins this afternoon, so tune in at bet365 Sport for all the live action via its live streaming service.

*All odds shown are correct with bet365 Sport as of 11.25am on Monday 1st June 2020.