All green on the baize

After following the jumps season intensely for several months and then the spectacle of Cheltenham, I've been needing a change of pace and scenery.  So I've given the racing a break and have been following the snooker at the China Open, showing on Eurosport, as a nice build-up to the World Championship in a few weeks.

As I became a fan of snooker many years ago, even before betting on the horses, I still really enjoy it now and having the opportunity to trade the volatile markets is great.

I've read some blogs pointing out the 1.01ish laying opportunites in tennis, but snooker can present some good opportunities too - and they don't have to involve finding a 1.01 drifter.  I don't trade tennis as I don't follow it closely enough and, unlike racing, there are no jockeys aboard to give you a clue about how the participants are feeling!

Also, it strikes me that the serve in tennis is so significant to winning a set that when trading you can quite quickly get caught with your pants down, so to speak, when a break happens.  I'm sure there are many who view this as the whole point but I think to succeed you need to be a very sharp customer with a good ability to hold your nerve to profit in the long run.

Conversely, with snooker, one bad miss is not so likely to be curtains for your match odds trade.  Losing the frame doesn't statistically affect the player's ability to win the next, as they're not 'facing the serve' next time, so to speak.  In fact, one player making a stupid miss can sometimes encourage the opponent to get sloppy too.  Snooker is so psychological that being a couple of frames down to the outsider can be quickly rectified by the top players.......

However, this doesn't mean that the odds are slow to move.  I'm often surprised at how far the match odds shift early in a match.  Take a look at this from the Shaun Murphy v Joe Perry game earlier today (match odds on lower left):

The above screen-shot was taken with Perry at the table 2-1 up.  Murphy's odds have already gone from 1.5 to 2.5 and back again before returning to evens, but Perry still needs 3 frames to win the match!  The impression I have of Murphy is that he often has a slow start but even when his back is against the wall he never gives up and frequently works some magic.

Against an opponent that he was originally 1.5 to beat, I'd be happy to take a punt at 2.25 / 2.5 so early in the match.  Either small stakes looking to lay off if/when the match is levelled, or to larger stakes taking profits gradually or laying off some if Perry had got in first, carefully observing the potential opportunity first (i.e. how many reds he needs to seal the frame and how many are already safe against the cushion etc).  Even just running out of position can cause a panic in the odds for the entire match.

The above screenshot shows what happened when the match went 1-3 to Perry and then levelled again at 3-3 (Murphy is so good at coming back!).  Murphy is 1.69/1.71 to back/lay at the start of the frame, but only one shot later was 1.6 as the momentum was then firmly with him - a trading opportunity in itself as even if he'd missed the pot he was still favourite for the match.

As the match is broadcast on Eurosport and being played on the other side of the world, the picture delay is obviously going to be significant, so personally I wouldn't be trying to do really short-term trades, just sticking to finding these points that I consider value and with plenty of time to get out.  But it'll be a different picture for the forthcoming World Championship matches that are on BBC (terrestrial for those of us lucky enough to still have fast pictures!).  Frame betting then also comes into the, er, 'frame'......

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