James Cooper's Pocket Science
James Cooper's Pocket Science

Snooker betting tips and analysis: Snooker preview and best bets

James Cooper kicks off his new snooker betting column with a look at the International Championship qualifiers, where Liam Pullen can cover the handicap.

Snooker betting tips: International Championship qualifiers

2pts Liam Pullen to beat Graeme Dott +3.5 frames at evens (Paddy Power, Betfair)

1pt David Grace to beat Jenson Kendrick -4.5 frames at 2/1 (General)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

Pullen ready to do himself justice

Having opened up at 1/7 in a place, Graeme Dott has hardened to a best price of 1/9 to take care of first-season professional LIAM PULLEN on Wednesday and as a result, there’s a good handicap opportunity to be had siding with the underdog.

A cursory glance at the early results of both players would suggest a one-sided affair, Dott qualifying for the British, English and Wuhan Opens respectively while Pullen has just the one win from four outings in regulation events and that was when long odds-on to take care of American Ahmed Aly Elsayed.

On closer inspection though, Pullen was 4-2 up against Oliver Brown before succumbing 5-4 and he was also 4-3 up against Jamie Jones (a similar player to Dott on my figures) before ultimately losing another decider.

Those reversals are part and parcel of life on the tour and while it’s fair to say that Pullen probably isn’t ready to take the scalp of Dott, whose tactical game is a match for almost anyone, the York cueist has enough about him to reach three frames before the Scot gets over the line (a brilliant win over Craig Steadman at Q School showcases the talent of Pullen).

Using my current player ratings as a guide, Dott would be somewhere between 8/15 and 1/2 per frame against Pullen, which gives him around a 45% of covering the -3.5 cap in this best-of-11 contest.

Based on that, the evens available on Pullen keeping the score respectable looks more than fair.

One of, if not the biggest, shock of the season so far was Jenson Kendrick’s 4-1 humbling of Stuart Bingham to qualify the English Open and the early 8/1-plus has been snapped up on another shock against DAVID GRACE.

One swallow, of course, doesn’t make a summer and I’m happy to side with opponent David Grace and while -4.5 frames leaves hardly any room for error in a race to six, the price of 2/1 compensates for that.

There is a very recent head-to-head to consider here too, with Grace a comfortable 4-1 winner qualifying for the British Open and while Kendrick has every right to be buoyed by the huge scalp of Bingham, the balance of his form as a professional doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

At 2/5 to win each frame in a best-of-11, Grace would cover this alternative handicap around 35% of the time, so there’s just enough juice in the 2/1 on offer to add him to the staking plan ahead of their match on Tuesday.

Posted at 1855 BST on 18/09/23

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