Winners on Cue: Snooker Betting Strategy

snooker table

Enjoying its heyday during the 1980’s, with millions turning in to the World Championship Final, Snooker is undergoing something of a renaissance at present, with a huge surge in popularity in China helping to bring new players – and more money – into the game. All of which is very good news for snooker fans, and those who like to bet on it.

But how best to go about making a profit on the green baize? Here we take a look at the most popular betting markets and pick out a couple of potentially rewarding strategies.

Popular Betting Markets

Snooker bets fall into two main types: tournament bets, and those on the individual matches.

Tournament Bets

  • Tournament Winner - Simply a bet on a player to win the whole tournament. Available in advance and throughout the event.
  • To Reach the Final - Another self-explanatory bet – a bet on a named player to reach the final.
  • To Win Their Quarter - The draw for each snooker tournament is divided into four quarters. This bet is a wager on a player to win their quarter and make the semi-finals.
  • Highest Break - A bet on a player to register the highest break of the tournament.

Individual Matches

  • To Win Match - One of the most popular betting options is backing a player to win a single match. Can be placed as a single bet, or by combining multiple matches in an accumulator.
  • Handicap Betting - E.g. Player A: -2.5 frames, Player B: +2.5 frames. In order for a bet on Player A: -2.5 to win, that player must win the match by at least three clear frames. A bet on Player B: +2.5 will be a winner should that player win the match by any score or lose by two frames or less.
  • Over/Under Frame Betting - For example in a best of 19 Frame match, odds may be offered on whether the total number of frames played will be over or under 15.5, with both options generally each priced at 10/11 (1.91)

Snooker Betting: 5 Top Tips

1. Prioritise Recent Form

In a game where mere millimetres can be the difference between a perfect shot and one which lands a player in trouble, it doesn’t take much to tilt players off their game. Perhaps a player is mentally distracted or is suffering from a small physical ailment. Regardless of how well a player has been performing earlier in the season, when assessing the latest tournament, the event which preceded it is often the best form guide.

2. Do Your Homework

As with betting on most sports, putting in the research can reap its rewards. Assess player records in relation to the event on which you are considering a bet. Some players thrive in best of 5, 7 or 9 frame matches, but are unable to sustain that form over a best of 19 match or longer. And in contrast the more consistent and patient approach of others is only seen to best effect under a longer format. Websites such as Cuetracker, and that of the World Snooker Tour are excellent sources of results and head-to-head records.

3. Motivation Factors

There is a saying in sport that motivation x ability = performance, and that is an excellent adage to consider when assessing an upcoming snooker tournament. Which players really want/need to play well?

Clearly all players ought to enter any tournament with the ultimate goal of winning. However, the level of that desire can vary from player to player and event to event. Rest assured that all players will be fully tuned up and motivated for the Triple Crown events of the World Championship, UK Championship, and the Masters - which is no doubt one reason why the top seeds tend to do so well. At smaller events on the tour however, the lower levels of prize money and prestige may see the higher ranked players take their eye off the ball, handing an opportunity to hungrier players desperately hoping to climb the rankings.

Quality Bets from the Qualifiers

One notable feature of a snooker tournament is that, if there is to be a shock, it is most likely to come in the opening round of the event. The top players will always be at their most vulnerable here due to the shorter format of the matches. And amongst the players most likely to cause such an upset are those arriving through qualifying.

Heading straight into the tournament proper on the back of a sequence of games can give the qualifiers a slight edge due to being “in the zone”, whereas their first-round opponents may be comparatively cold. Pay particular attention to the manner in which players have qualified; those arriving following a run of impressive wins with a number of high breaks can be well worth considering for a bet.

5. Don’t Forget the Young Guns

With many snooker players having careers that run into the decades, the abilities, strengths, and weaknesses of the more established performers is well known both to snooker fans, and the odds compilers. As such it can be a little more difficult to find a big value price about the more well-known stars.

A good strategy when looking for bigger priced players who may be up to making their presence felt is to assess the younger competitors taking part in a tournament. The likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry and Judd Trump were all up and comers themselves at one stage, and such is the popularity of the game that a new stream of talented youngsters are cueing up for their shot at the big time all the time.

A fine recent example of this being Yan Bingtao who landed odds of 33/1 when winning the Riga Masters as a teenager in 2019, before defying an even bigger price to claim the 2021 Masters crown. Latching on to young talent early can be a lucrative weapon in your punting armoury.

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