The final pair of second round matches kick off on Sunday morning in very much a case of last but by no means least. Tournament favourite Judd Trump takes on David Gilbert while the two remaining qualifiers lock horns for a place in the second round.
Resurgent Jones is a match for Bingham
Let’s start with the latter. Jamie Jones is, for my money, an outstanding value bet or trade at 3.55/2 to beat Stuart Bingham. Arguably, he’s been the better player this season and won nine frames on the spin to thrash an opponent of very similar stature in Stephen Maguire in the previous round.
Lest we forget, Jones has Crucible pedigree, reaching the quarter-finals nine years ago. He’s never been better, or more focused, and has become a fine match-player. Perfect for a three session match here.
That isn’t to detract from Bingham’s achievement to get here having fallen out of the top-16, hitting three tons for the second consecutive match. But ‘Ballrun’ isn’t that reliable against lower-ranked players and has become prone to making sloppy mistakes, or losing the plot mid-game.
My plan is what amounts to an even money trade. Back Jones at 3.55/2 then lay pay at half the odds, for twice the stake.
Trump and Gilbert to rack up the tons
Gilbert impressed in the first round too, albeit against a struggling opponent, indicating once again that he thrives in majors. He hasn’t got a terrible record against Trump either, trailing 4-7.
Nevertheless, an upset is still very hard to envisage. Even if Gilbert had beaten Higgins in the 2019 semi, undoubtably the highlight of his career, he’d still probably have suffered the same fate in the final against Trump.
Two bets appeal. First a correct score combo on Trump to win 13-7 and 13-8. Plus 7/4 about Five or More Centuries looks a cracking price. Trump made five in a mere best-of-11 against Gilbert last time and the outsider could very well contribute.
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