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Snooker: Trump the one to beat on Selby's patch

Groups three to five of the Championship League snooker start on Monday, with some massive names entering the fray.

Mark Selby headlines Group Three, with Mark Williams and Stuart Bingham also in the section and all the action is available on the Sports Live Streaming section.

Judd Trump will be looking to boss Group Four, up against the likes of Kyren Wilson and Barry Hawkins, while Group Five is a wide-open affair including David Gilbert, Martin Gould and Ali Carter.

Big guns head to Leicester

The tournament started on 20th December at the Morningside Arena, Leicester, and 10 players have already seen action. The big guns arrive on the scene this week, though, and they dominate the betting. Trump is 7/2 in the outright betting, with Selby at 5/1.

The tournament carries a prize fund of £205,000, with players earning £100 per frame won and bonuses depending on group position.

A place in the 2022 Champion of Champions is also up for grabs. Each group contains seven players, with round-robin matches played over two days in each.

All matches are best-of-five frames and the top four in each group contest the playoffs (two semi-finals and a final), with the eventual winner qualifying for the Winners' Group, where most of the prize money can be won.

The three playoff players who fail to win in each group progress to the next group, with the bottom two players in each group eliminated from the competition.

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Trump always one to watch

Trump seems worth considering given his natural ability and the way he can seemingly flick a switch and produce the goods from the off.

The short-haul matches are less appealing for Selby, who prefers the long grind of tournaments like the World Championship.

Kyren Wilson at 10/1 is another name which leaps from the page, given he won both the January-April edition of this event in 2020, as well as the September-October version.

Wilson beat Williams 3-2 in the first of those finals, then Trump 3-1 in the second. David Gilbert won the last of the Championship League events, beating Mark Allen 3-1 in the final in August. Gilbert is 20/1 for a repeat this time.

Zhao looks the value

The action starts at 11am on Monday, with Selby taking on Zhao Xintong. The Jester from Leicester is 4/7 to triumph in his home city, with his 24-year-old opponent available at 11/8.

Bingham is also on the green baize at 11am, facing Xiao Guodong. There are 12 matches on the Monday card, so punters have plenty of options.

Opposing Selby, who is due to play four times on Monday and is odds-on for every match, could be the way to go.

Zhao Xintong could be a particularly strong bet. The Chinese player won the UK Championship in fine style a month ago and has got snooker fans purring about his raw talent. The Cyclone, as he is known, has been talked up by Ronnie O'Sullivan as a future superstar.

O'Sullivan, ironically, said that if Zhao had a safety game like Selby, then the tour newcomer would be unstoppable.

The potting power of the overseas raider could take him to the top of this sport.

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