The Snooker season continues and we are delighted to have ace snooker tipster Dean Strand on board for the rest of the season. You can find Dean's thoughts on Twitter @DSSnookerTips and he will have a weekly tournament preview for us, running right up to the World Championships.
Next up on the calendar is the International Championship, which is held in Tianjin, China and runs from the 5th-12th October. It boasts a £825,000 total purse with £175,000 going to the victor.
The International Championship makes its return to the calendar this week for the first time in 4 years as Judd Trump looks to simultaneously defend his trophy and make it an incredible four ranking events in a row, following on from his recent success in the English Open, Wuhan and Northern Ireland.
This event has always been one of the biggest on tour since it was introduced in 2012, having the third highest prize fund of any ranking event on the calendar, behind the World and UK Championships and as such can have a huge say in the rankings.
With best of 11s till the semi finals, it’s an event more suited to the top players and there’s only been one finalist from outside of the top 16 in the nine previous editions.
Judd Trump understandably heads into this event as 7/2 favourite but his draw looks extremely tough and if he’s going to win he’ll have to do it the hard way. Starting with a tricky match against Michael White first up, before potentially Stephen Maguire and Ryan Day or Hossein Vafaei just to reach the quarter finals, so his odds aren’t too appealing.
With a lot of the form players in the top half of the draw, I'm looking to the bottom half for a bit of each way value.
Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson are the favourites from this half but O’Sullivan has withdrawn from a couple of events through injury this season and was beaten convincingly 5-1 by Lyu Haotian in his last match in Wuhan, so looks a little too unreliable. Meanwhile, Robertson has won just one of his last five matches.
Mark Williams to win Outright - 0.5pts Each Way - 18/1
My first outright pick is a player who has been one of the most consistent players of the season and that is Mark Williams.
The 48-year-old finished runner up in the Championship League, before going on to win the British Open, with wins over Stephen Maguire, Gary Wilson and Ding Junhui to reach the final, where he put in a superb performance to beat Mark Selby 10-7.
He’s lost just four matches this season and they were all narrow defeats. The 'Welsh Potting Machine' has hit 23 centuries for the season, with only Judd Trump making more and he’s won a higher percentage of his frames than anybody else on tour this season.
Ali Carter to win Outright - 0.5pts Each Way - 33/1
Ali Carter is my second pick to win the event outright.
'The Captain' started a little slow to the season, as he has a tendency to do but hit form in Wuhan with a run to the final beating Bingham, Allen and Haotian.
The 44-year-old didn’t enter the Northern Ireland Open last week either, so won’t have spent as much time traveling as some of the others, giving himself more time to prepare for this one.