Paul Krishnamurty previews the matches in groups 5 and 14, for which Mark Selby and Gary Wilson start odds-on favourites...
"I'm not quite sure why Mitchell Mann is a bigger price than Gerard Greene or John Astley as he isn't notably inferior. I'll take 10/3 and 23/10 about him in both those respective matches."
Pre-tournament, Mark Selby said he expected top players such as himself would enjoy an advantage at this Championship League - due to having their own table at home. A tip if ever there was one. If you go along with the theory - the former three-time world champion is available to back at [1.62] to win Group 5 today.
Backing odds-on favourites looks too risky
The logic is fine but following it would also have meant backing Kyren Wilson yesterday at the same odds. That didn't work out. To somebody who has only very rarely ever backed Selby in a tournament where matches were shorter than best-of-11, odds-on makes no appeal whatsoever.
After three days, it isn't easy identifying a common theme - apart from the predictable one that very rusty players produce scrappy matches. Although some favourites have won, I haven't regretted swerving them in general and don't intend to switch now.
Experienced Walker no forlorn hope
For me, the value in Group 5 is the outsider of four, Lee Walker. An ultra-experienced player who has been on the circuit for the best part of three decades. He's even beaten Selby twice out of three meetings.
Liang Wenbo is also highly capable of causing Selby problems in this group. Less so, I suspect, Joe O'Connor. There is enough uncertainty to hope the group will stay alive going into the final set of matches, so I'll try a back to lay on Walker to win the group - setting an order to cashout at [2.0].
Wilson stronger after Stevens withdrawal
The favourite in Group 14 is one of my outright selections - Gary Wilson. He's even stronger now since Matthew Stevens withdrew. It isn't easy to make a case for any of the alternatives but the same rule applies - betting at odds-on makes no appeal, whether in group or match betting.
I'm not quite sure why Mitchell Mann is a bigger price than Gerard Greene or John Astley as he isn't notably inferior. I'll take 10/3 and 23/10 about him in both those respective matches.
One word of note is that these match odds are prone to significant change throughout the course of the day. For example yesterday's winning bet on Alfie Burden was advised at even money, yet went off in excess of [3.0] after he performed badly in the first two matches and opponent Chen Feilong played better than expected.
It might make sense to back all the selections that drift in this way. The matches are too short and the conditions so strange given the lack of practice to read too much into 'form'. They are all making mistakes and equally capable of turning it around in the next match.
Back Lee Walker to win Group 5 1.5u @ [12.0]
Place order to lay Walker 6u @ [2.0]
Back Mitchell Mann to beat Gerard Greene 1u @ 10/3
Back Mitchell Mann to beat John Astley 1u @ 23/10