This week we turn our attention to snooker and to the forthcoming World Grand Prix event in Cheltenham. The top 32 players of the season will compete in the event, which boasts a £100,000 cheque for the winner, plus the chance to win the next World Ranking event of the season.

Let’s now take a look at how the 2018/19 season has panned out so far.

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The 2018-2019 Season So Far

The first World Ranking event of the 2018/19 season took place in July with Neil Robertson winning the Riga Masters. It set the tone for what has been a very open season in the World Ranking events, with just one player, Mark Allen (the International Championship and Scottish Open) winning two of those events so far this season

Judd Trump, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Kyren Wilson, Stuart Bingham, Mark Selby, current World Champion Mark Williams and Jimmy Robertson are the others that have landing World Ranking events wins this season alongside Allen and Neil Robertson.

In Non-Ranking events, Ronnie O’Sullivan has racked up wins in the Champion of Champions and the Shanghai Masters, while Mark Selby won the Haining Open and Judd Trump was victories in The Masters in January, defeating Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final.

  • In Form Players – Mark Allen, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson
  • Out of Form Players – Ding Junhui, Shaun Murphy, John Higgins

As such, it has been another hugely open and competitive season so far, which sets us up nicely for the World Grand Prix event at the new venue of Cheltenham Racecourse this week, where the players will be competing for a prize pool of £375,000, with £100,000 of that going to the winner.

Current World Snooker Rankings

The top 16 of the World Snooker Rankings at present are as follows:

  1. Mark Selby (Eng)
  2. Mark Williams (Wal)
  3. Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng)
  4. John Higgins (Sco)
  5. Judd Trump (Eng)
  6. Mark Allen (N.Ire)
  7. Barry Hawkins (Eng)
  8. Ding Junhui (Chn)
  9. Neil Robertson (Aus)
  10. Kyren Wilson (Eng)
  11. Shaun Murphy (Eng)
  12. Stuart Bingham (Eng)
  13. Ryan Day (Wal)
  14. Stephen Maguire (Sco)
  15. Luca Brecel (Bel)
  16. Jack Lisowski (Eng)

World Grand Prix

The seedings for the World Grand Prix are different to the World Rankings and are based on the one-year ranking list, as opposed to two years of performances for the rankings. Therefore, the top 16 seeds in this tournament are as follows:

  1. Mark Allen (N.Ire)
  2. Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng)
  3. Mark Selby (Eng)
  4. Mark Williams (Wal)
  5. Neil Robertson (Aus)
  6. Judd Trump (Eng)
  7. Kyren Wilson (Eng)
  8. David Gilbert (Eng)
  9. Jack Lisowski (Eng)
  10. Stuart Bingham (Eng)
  11. Joe Perry (Eng)
  12. Jimmy Robertson (Eng)
  13. Stephen Maguire (Sco)
  14. John Higgins (Sco)
  15. Barry Hawkins (Eng)
  16. Martin O’Donnell (Eng)

The tournament draw pits the first seed against the 32nd seed, 2nd seed against the 31st seed and so on. The opening two rounds of the tournament are played over a best of seven format, with the quarterfinals the best of nine, the semi’s best of 11 and the final is a best of 19 contest.

This shorter format does lend itself to a few shock results occurring the tournaments.

World Grand Prix 2019 First Round Draw

Outlined below are the current odds for the World Grand Prix first round of games.

*All odds shown are correct as of 10.30am on Monday 4th February 2019

First Round Highlights

There are a number of intriguing matches in the first round with the first being favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan’s clash with Marco Fu on Monday evening. Tuesday is also a big day for top games with youngster Jack Lisowski taking on Chinese ace Ding Junhui and the evening clash between Stephen Maguire and Mark King should also be a cracker.

However, the tie of the first round comes on Wednesday afternoon when two former World Champions clash as Mark Selby, the current number 1 player in the world takes on Shaun Murphy in what could well be a first round classic. Another intriguing clash that day will get underway a little later with the improving Kyren Wilson facing the veteran Welsh star Matthew Stevens.

World Grand Prix First Round Accumulator

If you fancy a flutter on the First Round of the World Grand Prix, then we would recommend the following bet:

  • Mark Allen to beat Gary Wilson
  • Ali Carter to beat Martin O’Donnell
  • Ding Junhui to beat Jack Lisowski
  • Mark Selby to beat Shaun Murphy
  • Kyren Wilson to beat Matthew Stevens

Back this fivefold with bet365 and you would get, at the current odds shown above, odds of 5.64/1, which means a £10 bet would return £56.40 in winnings, plus your stake money back.

World Grand Prix – Outright Selections

Outlined below are the current odds with bet365 Sport on who will win the World Grand Prix 2019 outright.

World Grand Prix Odds with bet365

*All odds shown were correct as of 11am on Monday 4th February 2019.

Our Picks

To Win – Mark Selby (17/2)

There is a reason why Mark Selby is the number one ranked player in the world at the moment and it is his consistency in the big tournaments. The Leicester-born ace has had a lean time of late, yet to claim a victory in 2019 and his last win of any kind came back in the China Championship back at the start of the season in September.

Selby is far too good a player to let his slump in form continue. He hasn’t reached a final in any event since that win in China but the rumours are that his game looks in good shape heading into Cheltenham and if he can get off to a solid start in the first round, where he faces a tricky game against Shaun Murphy, then he could well go a long way and at 17/2, he is a good value bet.

Each Way – Kyren Wilson (16/1)

Winning two events back to back is incredibly tough in World Snooker these days, but Kyren Wilson is one of the few players to have notched up two wins in all tournaments this season and he is the man in form heading into the World Grand Prix after victory in the German Masters this past weekend. He faces a tough first round game against Matthew Stevens, but if he can come through that then he should be in solid shape for the rest of the tournament.

At 16/1, he is well worth an each way punt to reach the final.

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