Neil Robertson had too many guns for Barry Hawkins at Alexandra Palace
Neil Robertson heads the staking plan for Scotland

Snooker betting tips: Scottish Open best bets and outright preview

Fresh from tipping UK Championship winner Mark Allen at 16/1, Richard Mann is back with his outright preview for the Scottish Open which starts on Monday.

Snooker betting tips: Scottish Open

2pts Neil Robertson to win the Scottish Open at 7/1 (BetVictor)

1pt Yan Bingtao to win the Scottish Open at 33/1 (Sky Bet)

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One of the most important aspects of betting on sport is being able see things coming a fair way out. Find an angle before anyone else and make it pay while the bookmakers are still reading yesterday’s newspapers.

Those who saw Judd Trump’s golden run coming in late 2018 prior to the first of three victories at the Northern Ireland Open, just as the list of doubters were growing, would have been well rewarded, similarly NEIL ROBERTSON supporters prior to his two title wins and another final appearance in the space of three weeks in early 2020.

Sometimes it’s safer to stick with the obvious – and man of the moment Mark Allen rewarded followers of these pages with a 16/1 payout at last week’s UK Championship – but I think the aforementioned Robertson is close to hitting the bullseye again and he gets my vote in Scotland at odds of 7/1.

To my mind, Robertson, who won this event in 2017, has always been the type of player to go on his own golden runs and I think the recent signs are encouraging for those hoping for another one sooner rather than later.

Can Robertson peak for Scottish Open bid?

Having played his part in winning the Mixed Doubles alongside Mink Nutcharut, Robertson followed a deciding-frame loss in a high-quality match against Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Hong Kong Masters with a run to the semi-finals of the Northern Ireland Open.

Allen, just as he has for most of the campaign, was too strong on that occasion, but Robertson played well in Belfast. Since then, he has lost out by the odd frame to Fan Zhenghi at the Champion of Champions, and then to Joe Perry in the UK Championship when clearly unwell in York.

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Mark Allen savours the moment in York

These things can happen, but he will have been pleased to have knocked in a host of big breaks when beating Alexander Ursenbacher 5-2 just a few days ago to secure his place in the latter stages of the German Masters.

Seemingly back to full fitness, Robertson must be a contender in Scotland this year having opted to skip the last two renewals of this tournament. The difference this time around is that Robertson is currently down at number 43 on the one-year ranking list – no good with so many prestigious and valuable tournaments to quality for after Christmas.

Robertson has won the last two editions of the Tour Championship and made the final of last season’s World Grand Prix, but he really needs a deep run here or at the English Open, which comes up after this event, in order to make the cut for either event.

With motivation certainly no concern then, nor the overall body of his recent form which has seen him go toe-to-toe with O’Sullivan this season and then show up well in Belfast, I strongly suspect Robertson is primed for a return to the winners’ enclosure very soon.

Making assumptions about the draw in these Home Nations events can be tricky, given the nature of the best-of-seven frames format and the depth of talent on the tour nowadays, but the Australian ought to prove too strong for veteran Mark Davis in their held over match, before a potential rematch with Perry a little further down the line and one in which he will be eyeing revenge.

He'll of course need to play better than he did in York to do that, but I think there are very good reasons to think he will, and we know how strong Robertson is once working his way into the latter stages of tournaments.

The other potential angle is freshness. Robertson hasn’t endured a heavy workload of late and should be nice and fresh to produce his best form now, whereas you’d have to be concerned about the likes of Allen, who looked worn out when beaten 5-0 in qualifying for the German Masters on Wednesday, and, O’Sullivan, who has won two major titles already this term but ran out of steam in York.

Mark Allen and Ding Junhui
Mark Allen (left) has been busy of late

Tread carefully with big guns

I’ll be avoiding that pair, similarly Trump who made the final of the Champion of Champions only a matter of weeks ago, but once again struggled for his best in York. Consistency is my main worry with him, and I couldn’t back him at a shorter price than Robertson.

It will be interesting to see how the likes of Ding Junhui, Jack Lisowski and Shaun Murphy back up after draining weeks in York but I am wary, and find myself more drawn to the likes of John Higgins and two-time Scottish Open hero Mark Selby.

Of the two, Higgins was closest to making the staking plan. I thought he played well in Hong Kong and the UK Championship hasn’t been a happy hunting ground of his for a while now. But for a tough draw in the early stages, I might have sided with the veteran and big home hope.

As it is, my second selection is YAN BINGTAO, who might have an even tougher draw than Higgins, but who is double the price and has played much better snooker than his results would suggest of late.

He was involved in a fabulous match against Zhou Yeulong at York, losing in a deciding frame, while it was a similar story at the Northern Open and British Open before that. In all those matches, Yan scored heavily, and I really do think a bold showing from him is just around the corner.

Two smooth wins in the last few days booked his ticket for the German Masters and I reckon he is another who is close to hitting top gear. A former Masters winner, it’s hard to believe that Yan is still only 22 years of age, so strong is his safety game and so well is his break-building developing.

His best days are surely still to come and quotes of 33/1 about a Triple Crown winner with encouraging recent form claims are hard to ignore.

He is at least worth a few quid in Scotland, though it is Robertson who heads the staking plan ahead of a crucial few weeks for one snooker’s modern-day greats.

Posted at 1625 GMT on 24/11/22

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