Masters Snooker: Rocket to reign once again at Ally Pally

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Ronnie O’Sullivan has claimed a record seven Masters titles and looks a worthy 5/2 favourite to add to that tally at Alexandra Palace this month.

It is hard to believe that the Rocket first lifted this trophy way back in 1995, but he seems stronger than ever as he prepares to chase a hat-trick of victories.

The 42-year-old secured a sixth UK Championship crown last month and the form he showed in York makes him hard to leave out of our Masters snooker betting tips.

With the English Open and Shanghai Masters trophies also added to O’Sullivan’s cabinet this season, he will now be fired up to prevail in what is regarded as a ‘home’ tournament.

O’Sullivan has since been whitewashed by John Higgins at the Scottish Open, but BBC pundit Steve Davis has backed him to show his true worth again here.

Davis told the World Snooker website: “Ronnie is effectively becoming the ultimate player and he doesn’t appear to suffer from pressure or tension in his game.

“He’s an even more complete, mature player than he has been in the past. It’s astonishing to think that even into his 40s, he’s still the most feared player. He’s got a B game which can win events.”

Magician may be value alternative

For those eyeing a bit more value, Shaun Murphy is a tempting alternative at 14/1 after reaching four ranking finals this season.

The Magician lost out 10-5 to O’Sullivan in the UK Championship decider, but had beaten the Rocket 10-8 to claim the Champion of Champions non-ranking event in Coventry in November.

“There’s no doubt it has been the best first half to a season I have ever had in my life,” said the 35-year-old. “I am loving it and enjoying my snooker.

“The Masters is one of the three marquee events for our sport. I’ve prepared well over Christmas and am going to give it my all.”

Murphy lifted this trophy back in 2015, romping to a 10-2 triumph over Neil Robertson in the final.

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Tony has been a journalist for more than 25 years, with past positions including Press Association betting editor, Teletext Sport betting editor and Sport Newspapers deputy racing editor. A Manchester United and Salford Red Devils supporter, he spends much of his spare time walking his two pet greyhounds.

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