The Welsh Open is the final home nations event of the season and by far the one with the most history. It's currently the third longest-running ranking event having been held annually since replacing the Welsh Professional Championship in 1992.
The big news this week is the withdrawal of both Judd Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan who between them have won over half of the events on tour this season. From a tipping point of view, this week definitely opens the door for players who haven’t had much success to turn their season around.
After mostly being won by big names over the years, the last three events have all provided shocks with Jordan Brown, Joe Perry and Robert Milkins, lifting the trophy on the previous three occasions.
Mark Allen @ 11/1
Mark Allen should be favourite for this event in my opinion. He’s the third best player in the world, backed up by the number three spot in the rankings.
He’s the only player aside from Ronnie and Judd to lift multiple trophies this season and his performance in the Champion of Champions showed a level higher than anybody else here this week has been able to replicate this season, as he hammered Judd Trump 10-3 in the final.
John Higgins, Mark Selby and Neil Robertson are all shorter than him in the betting but none of these players have won anything this season. Robertson hasn’t even reached a quarter final since the Shanghai Masters and tournament favourite John Higgins hasn’t won a ranking event in almost three years.
I'm more than happy to back a man I believe should be clear favourite to win this tournament at 11/1.
Luca Brecel @ 20/1
Brecel has been poor this season and doesn’t have any kind of form coming into this event, but that’s usually the case when he does win an event. His form generally comes out of nowhere and when he does find it, he can be unplayable.
With the two biggest names missing this week, I do think 20/1 looks a decent price for the World Champion. Seeded second in this event, he has the favourable draw that comes with that with matches against Jiang Jun, Joe O’Connor and the winner of Graeme Dott and Wu Yize, none of whom have been playing well lately.
Brecel clearly enjoys playing at this event. Two years ago beat Judd Trump here to reach the semi finals of the Tour Championship in the same season that he lifted the Scottish Open trophy at the same venue, with a dominant 9-5 win in the final against John Higgins.
An outside pick for glory.
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