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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Allen looks primed to strike in European Masters

Little value in Trump or Selby bets in Belgium

Mark Allen enjoyed a tidy run to the World Open semi-finals
1 of 1

Eurosport 1, midday & 6pm Monday

The success of talented youngster Luca Brecel has seen snooker scale new heights in Belgium and the country hosts a ranking event for the first time in 23 years when the European Masters visits the city of Lommel.

The European Masters was a huge success in its debut season in Bucharest last term with Judd Trump defeating Ronnie O’Sullivan in a thrilling final and punters should expect familiar faces to rise to the top again.

Eight of the top 16 are contesting the sixth ranking event of the season and the £75,000 up for grabs should motivate the elite performers.

Bullish Brecel has started the campaign forcefully. The home hope won his first ranking title at the China Championship last month but pressure could prove his toughest obstacle.

Defending champion Trump is sure to have his supporters but he was an early casualty in the China Championship and is opposable at the prices. Favourite Mark Selby can often prove vulnerable early on in the season and may have his sights on loftier targets.

Mark Allen produced some stunning snooker when reaching the last four of the World Open in Yushan last week and may be the one to focus on.

The Pistol is difficult to beat and wins over Neil Robertson and an in-form David Gilbert prior to a deciding-frame defeat to Kyren Wilson suggest he could be about to strike.

Allen struggled on the baize last term - he reached the last four just twice - but he is one of the best players on tour and should be winning more frequently than he does.

An opening meeting with Hossein Ayouri should settle the nerves and a potential rematch with Wilson in the last 16 may be just the incentive he needs to rediscover the winning touch.

M Allen
1pt each-way 18-1 general

The lowdown

Venue De Soeverein Arena, Lommel, Belgium
Prize money £366,500 (£75,000 to winner)
Format World-ranking tournament
When to bet Starts midday Monday UK and Ireland time
Where to watch Daily coverage on Eurosport
Last year’s final J Trump (8-1) bt R Sullivan (7-2) 9-8
Time difference Lommel is one hour ahead of the UK and Ireland

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The Pistol is a difficult opponent to beat and wins over Neil Robertson and an in-form David Gilbert suggests he could be about to strike
E.W. Terms
Sky bet