We’re down to the last-eight at the Crucible and it truly is a stellar line-up. That reinforces my view that this is the strongest World Championship ever, although we haven’t had as many thrilling finishes at usual. Yet.
All four quarter-finals have the potential to go deep into the final session. The market is right to favour Judd Trump – the best in the world – and Mark Selby – the best player in the other half of the draw, producing the best overall standard so far. Neither, however, remotely constitutes a certainty to progress.
Wilson’s odds insult his record
Neil Robertson versus Kyren Wilson has the hallmarks of an absolute classic. Two elite title contenders, in fine form during the first week. For me, the betting is way too one-sided with Wilson available to back at 3.185/40.
Some might quibble with my description of Wilson as an elite player, when his record is one of relentless consistency but falling just short. That is harsh. It takes many years to reach the very top in snooker and he continues to progress in all departments.
Kyren far superior at the Crucible
Kyren has a far better Crucible record. He’s reached the last six quarter-finals, a semi and a final, whilst still on the up.
Whereas in ten appearances since winning the title in 2010, Robertson has only made one semi. Perhaps due to burnout, which won’t apply this time.
Nevertheless both the venue and head-to-head say back the outsider. This pair stand at 2-2, with Wilson leading 20-14 in frames and winning the last two.
Bingham and McGill perfectly matched
Stuart Bingham and Anthony McGill are also tied 2-2, with the latter leading 13-11 in frames. I’m on McGill each-way for the title and still buzzing from him beating O’Sullivan but, in truth, I cannot separate these two.
Here, I’m opting for Over 22.5 Frames at 11/10 as part of a treble along with the same bet at 5/4 in Selby v Williams.
Williams usually tests Selby
Matches between these two are invariably close. Selby leads their head-to-head 13-11 and by just 121 frames to 114. There’s no reason to think this will be any different, given their superb form.
I put Williams up at 25.024/1 earlier for the title so have no need for a single on the game but, if you’re not on already, 15.014/1 still represents fair value about a live contender, who would be favourite in the semi if upsetting the odds against Selby.
Resurgent Murphy a threat to Trump
For the final leg, try Shaun Murphy to win ten frames via the +3.5 Frame Handicap. I haven’t cooled on Judd Trump’s title chances but am not taking anything for granted against an opponent who has troubled him more than most, and is playing well again.
Trump’s head-to-head lead is only 10-8 and ‘The Magician’ upset the odds against him twice last year, at the Masters and Welsh Open. The world number one hasn’t peaked yet by any means but that is often a good signal in this marathon event. I’m expecting a very high standard in this match.
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