Championship League Snooker 2024 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

Just over two months after Kyren Wilson lifted the world title, the new snooker season begins on Monday when the Championship League opens up another campaign which promises some incredible action over the next 11 months or so.

Shaun Murphy started his season in the best possible way last year when he won this title and he has entered the tournament again in a bid to keep hold of the crown. 127 other players will be looking to stop that from happening.

Recent Winners

2023 – Shaun Murphy

2022 – Luca Brecel

2021 – Dave Gilbert

2020 – Kyren Wilson

2020 – Luca Brecel

The Format

The whole tour are invited into the tournament with it now having ranking event status. The 128 player field have been split into 32 groups of four in the first round. Each group is a round robin with everyone playing everyone else over the best of four frames with two points for a win and one for a draw. The player who tops the group goes through to the second stage where the 32 remaining players are split into eight more groups of four over the same format. Those eight winners then go into two more groups where the winner of each will battle it out in a best of five frame final for the title. Two groups will be played on each day until the final day when the Championship groups and final are played. The tournament is being shown on Matchroom.live.

The Favourites

At the time of writing Ronnie O’Sullivan is entered into the tournament and he is the 6/1 favourite to win it but very rarely does he turn up in it or go right the way through to the end so anyone backing him at that price would be trusting with luck that he fancies the job. If he does then he has a group where he should cruise through but I’m not trusting him to stay motivated for a month so I will happily pass him over.

Neil Robertson isn’t always one to enter this tournament but because it carries ranking points and he has dropped out of the top 16 he was almost committed by default to enter this event. He is the 10/1 second favourite to land the title and you wouldn’t rule him out but even allowing for the ranking implications he has never really been one to practice through the summer and we often see him having to build into a season. He starts down in group 21 where Jamie Clarke is a threat and could run into Ali Carter and Jack Lisowski in the second group. He isn’t for me.

The world champion Kyren Wilson is next in the betting at 11/1. He has won this tournament in the past and is someone who rarely shirks the practice and is one of the leading players in the game as he showed in Sheffield last month. You would imagine the last month or so has been a bit of a whirlwind for him though so how much he will be able to put in ahead of this tournament remains to be seen. You would imagine this will be competitive practice for him.

Mark Williams, John Higgins and the defending champion Shaun Murphy are all 13/1 to win the tournament this week. I write Williams off straight away because he makes no secret of the fact that snooker isn’t on his radar in the summer months, although he has enough natural talent to be competitive despite that. I never think Higgins starts seasons that well and best of four matches aren’t really his strength. Murphy is the defending champion and this probably isn’t a bad event to try to defend but he’s too all or nothing for me these days.


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Profile

This is the fifth time this tournament has been run in this format so we have a little bit of a guide to go by and the four players who made the final group in the first event were: Luca Brecel, Ben Woollaston, Stuart Bingham and Ryan Day – four pretty attacking players who are decent under pressure, score heavily and get in from distance. The second year had the likes of Judd Trump, Zhou Yuelong, Kyren Wilson and Zhao Xintong making the final groups while Brecel, Xintong and Bingham were in the final groups in 2022 while Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams, Robert Milkins and Sam Craigie made it last year so that trend continued. They are all prepared to take risks as well and that is the sort of player I’m looking for in this.

I definitely think this is an event for the scorers rather than the safety playing plodders and of course in the previous events we saw a few groups decided by the highest break so I certainly wouldn’t want to be on someone who can’t score that well. In an ideal world we would have someone with a good long game and a bit of a snooker brain but we’re not going to get everything I guess. Definitely the scorers for me.

Betting

I’ll go with a main outright and a couple of outsiders in the tournament this year with my main outright being Stuart Bingham, a player who enters everything so we know that he’ll be up for this and having made it to the World Championship semi-final where he probably didn’t give his best, he isn’t going to lack for motivation. Bingham made the final group of this tournament a couple of years ago so we know that the format suits him and as a heavy scorer he certainly ticks that box. Motivation is plenty at this stage of the season and Bingham will be looking to start the campaign well to get back into the top 16 for the UK Championship and The Masters so at 20/1 there is more than enough reason to back him.

Pang Junxu is another who has made it to the final day of this tournament in the past and he has also made the final of the WST Classic when it was run so he likes these behind closed doors events and as a seed in his first round group where there isn’t a lot of immense opposition there is every chance to think that the Chinese player can have another good run here. The one thing we know about the Chinese players is that they are relentless practisers so he’ll be reason for this event when his time comes around and at 50/1 he feels a bit of value.

At an incredible price I’ll also take a chance on Michael White delivering the goods. He needs a good start to the season to avoid having the pressure piled onto him later in the campaign when it comes to keeping his tour card. White has made it to the second group stage in this tournament in the last two seasons so we know that he is up for it when it comes along and although he’s in a group with Stephen Maguire I’m far from convinced the Scot will have done much in the way of preparation for this so I can see White progressing again and from there anything can happen.

Tips

Back S.Bingham to win Championship League Snooker (e/w) for a 1.5/10 stake at 21.00 with William Hill (1/2 1-2)

Back P.Junxu to win Championship League Snooker (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 51.00 with William Hill (1/2 1-2)

Back them here:

Back M.White to win Championship League Snooker (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 176.00 with Betfair (1/2 1-2)

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