Analysing the eight players in action on Tuesday, Paul Krishnamurty says the two big-guns in Group 9 are worth opposing...
"The day one evidence hasn't altered my instinct that tactical nous and experience will be particularly important this week...Neither Lisowski or Brecel have ever convinced me on those fronts"
Ominous start from tournament favourite
Favourite backers couldn't have asked for a better start to the new, revamped Championship League. Judd Trump won all three matches and David Gilbert only dropped one point en route to winning his group.
Perhaps, despite short matches and a complete lack of form or practice indicators, this will be more predictable than many of us assumed. Then again, perhaps Trump is just a class apart and has been able to practice, while Gilbert didn't have much to beat.
Hitman looks well-suited to format
The two groups in action today are less one-sided on paper. Group 3 is very competitive. I've backed the favourite Michael Holt at 150/1 on the outright market but, in truth, I wouldn't rule out any of his opponents from progressing.
Mark Davis and Mark Joyce also have experience in spades, whereas Louis Heathcote is capable enough to produce an upset.
Nevertheless given his pedigree over one frame, preference for short matches and no shortage of natural ability, 'Hitman' definitely looks the one to beat. I'd rather stick to the outright and avoid taking short odds in any of the matches, but around [2.7] for the group is fair.
Will Lisowki's natural talent shine through?
Jack Lisowski starts favourite for Group 9 and may be the type of naturally talented player to thrive without much practice under his belt. This isn't an easy group though and a similar argument could be made for principal rival Luca Brecel.
I'm happy to take both of them on. The day one evidence hasn't altered my instinct that tactical nous and experience will be particularly important this week. Even Trump gave his opponents plenty of chances.
Neither Lisowski or Brecel have ever convinced me on those fronts or demonstrated much of a 'B game'. While limited in talent, Robbie Williams does know how to scrap. As for the outsider of four - Oliver Lines is no mug and has taken plenty of superior scalps.
Backing both Williams and Lines at [5.5] and [11.0] for the group combines to around [3.5].
Back Robbie Williams to win Group 9 2u @ [5.5]
Back Oliver Lines to win Group 9 1u @ [11.0]