At this early, last-64 stage of the tournament, the betting for most matches is one-sided. Five leading contenders – defined as trading below 25.024/1 for the title – are in action, at odds ranging from 1.11/10 to 1.171/6.
For the record, a Sportsbook acca on Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen, Ding Junhui and John Higgins pays 1.758/11. All are expected to progress but such bets make no appeal. Usually, we see at least one big upset on this day.
Dale can give Trump a decent test
Instead, side markets are the best way forward. First, I think Dominic Dale can avoid humiliation against Trump. Despite a predictable 8-1 head-to-head, only one of their matches was one-sided. At this exact stage two years ago, they went to a decider.
Trump’s best performances have tended to come in the latter stages of events recently while the Welshman has started the season respectably. Let’s try a correct-score combo on 6-3 and 6-4.
Try this favourites treble
I’m also having a crack at the following treble of favourites. First at 4/6, Luca Brecel has generally been playing much better than Xiao Guodong.
Stephen Maguire has a 3-0 head-to-head record over Stuart Carrington and found a rich vein of scoring in the first round, as he so often does in the majors.
No fairytale for Jimmy
Finally, I simply cannot see Jimmy White beating Zhou Yuelong. Yes it is great to see him still competing at 58 but forget the fairytale. He lost 4-0 to the same opponent last week.
Indeed the 22 year-old is in cracking form. Five matches over the past fortnight yielded four wins and a 24-4 frame margin. Previously he’d lost to Selby in the English Open quarter-finals and reached final days at the Championship League, showing excellent form. Trust him to restrict Jimmy to two frames or less, via the 3.5 Frame Handicap.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty