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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Stuart Bingham can make the most of favourable draw

Stephen Maguire boasts impressive tournament form

Stuart Bingham is looking to move back up the rankings
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Twelve months ago, Mark Williams arrived in Bangkok for the Six Red World Championship without a win in a professional tournament since 2013.

The Welshman emerged victorious with a stunning 8-2 success in the final over home favourite Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. The win sparked a sensational season culminating in his sensational Crucible success in May and he heads the betting for this year's event along with world number one Mark Selby.

Selby is also a previous winner having landed this tournament in 2010, but neither of the market principals appeal at the prices in a quirky format that has produced some surprising results over the years.

A decent field of 32 becomes 16 after the group stages with the top two from each of the eight groups progressing to the knockout stage.
The draw is a big factor as  group winners are drawn to face a runner-up from the opposite half.

There are some tricky draws for some of the more fancied players, but not for 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham.

The 42-year-old Bingham, in a similar way to Williams a year ago, has noticeably droped down the rankings, but this event could revive his fortunes and he can start well against inferior opposition in Group C.

Likely to be buoyed by coming through two deciders in qualifiers for the European Masters and China Championship last week, Bingham, who is also twice a runner-up in this event, is a value each-way prospect.

2014 winner Stephen Maguire is another player who has shown up well at this tournament and is looking to end a barren run.

That was the last time the 2004 UK Championship winner tasted success, but there have been some encouraging signs this season and he has looked sharp.

He reached the semi-finals of the Riga Masters in July and destroyed Chen Feilong in his qualifier for the China Championship last week, winning 5-1 with breaks of 69, 117, 96 and 114.

He is a man to keep on the right side of this week and looks another worthy of an each-way bet.

S Bingham
1pt each-way 16-1 Sky Bet
S Maguire
1pt each-way 14-1 Coral, Ladbrokes

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Bingham has noticeably slid down the rankings but this event can spark him into life
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Sky bet