The Mosconi Cup, an event comparable to the Ryder Cup in golf and the Weber Cup in bowling, returns this Christmas for its 30th edition and the annual nine-ball pool tournament between Europe and the United States will be heading to Alexandra Palace.
The Mosconi Cup has been keeping crowds entertained on either side of the Atlantic since 1994 with the best nine-ball players from Team Europe and Team USA competing in a four-day long battle for victory.
Each team has five playing members and Europe are the defending champions after their 11–7 victory in Las Vegas last year, which means they have taken an overall series lead of 15–13, with the 2006 renewal in Rotterdam ending in a tie.
The Europeans will be hoping to defend their crown at Ally Pally, where they triumphed 11–6 two years ago.
The action gets underway on Wednesday 6th December and goes right through until Saturday 9th December, with the format featuring one team match, several doubles matches and singles matches. The first team to win 11 matches will reign supreme.
The Americans dominated the Mosconi Cup in the early years, prevailing in 10 of the first 13 editions, but those days are a distant memory.
In recent times it has been all about Team Europe, who have won the Mosconi Cup in 11 of the last 13 years, and they are 3/10 to maintain their superiority at Alexandra Palace this time around.
The Europeans have won the last three editions, with them winning by at least four points on each occasion - and they even eased to a 11-3 success at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry in 2020.
Being spurred on by the home crowd can be a huge aid to your chances and the hosts should be difficult to beat given the talent they have on show.
Team USA claimed their last Mosconi Cup victory in Las Vegas in 2019, with Skyler Woodward extremely influential in a 11-9 success.
Joshua Filler was the Most Valuable Player in Europe’s 11-7 success last year with the German-born star collecting four points for his team.
Team Europe are unchanged from the side that were crowned champions last year with Francisco Sanchez Ruiz, Albin Ouschan, Jayson Shaw and David Alcaide also in attendance.
Having twice been named Mosconi Cup’s Most Valuable Player, world number five Shaw, who is also playing vice-captain, is sure to make his presence felt.
While Europe remain unchanged from last year, Team USA have made a couple of tactical tweaks with Fedor Gorst and Shane Wolford replacing Oscar Dominguez and Earl Strickland.
Shane Van Boening, Skyler Woodward and Tyler Styer are the three that have retained their place in the team.
Gorst, a Russia-born 23-year-old who has only recently been granted permanent residency in America, won the 2019 World Nine-ball Championship and may have been in the European team had he not switched allegiances.
He is 9/4 to have a debut to remember by leading the scoring for America with playing vice-captain Woodward, who was MVP in 2018 and 2019, a chance.
With Europe expected to prevail, it should come as no surprise that three of the first four in the overall top points scorer hail from the team of the defending champions.
Filler is 9/2 favourite to top the overall scoring, with Spanish teammate Ruiz next in the betting at .
Ouschan and Gorst are both 13/2 with Alcaide and seasoned Scot Shaw available at .