Championship League Snooker Daily Tips: Wenbo to march forward

Snooker player Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan has yet to lose a frame

Paul Krishnamurty previews Tuesday's action from Milton Keynes, where Ronnie O'Sullivan is the star attraction among the first two semi-final groups...

"Wenbo in particular stood out and he's tipped to reach the final. This short format may well prove ideal for this talented, yet erratic player."

Back Liang Wenbo to win Group D 2u @ 7/4

They've reached the semi-final stages in Milton Keynes which, in this format, means 16 players split into four groups, with the winners progressing to a final group to be played on Thursday.

Before looking at today's groups, let's update the outright market and live positions. Pre-tournament I put up four selections ranging from 66/1 to 275/1, then added Liang Wenbo at 25/1 after winning his group.

Four of the five are still alive - three of whom are pitched in Group D - Wenbo and 275/1 chances Martin O'Donnell and Ben Woollaston.

There's an obvious temptation to cover on Tom Ford at 25/1 and I wouldn't discourage anyone holding those bets from doing so, in order to guarantee a finalist. However I will take my chances with that trio.

Trump and O'Sullivan dominate market

To really strengthen that position, we could do with one of two remaining big-guns to lose in the semis. Otherwise there's a high chance that Judd Trump or Ronnie O'Sullivan fill the top two spots in the final group, such is their superiority.

There is, however, every chance that one of them falls in this format. Particularly Trump - whose section is by far the hardest, including Barry Hawkins, Ryan Day and David Gilbert.

Ronnie showed imperious form in his group

Ronnie, alternatively, is going to take the world of beating in Group C today. He was absolutely magnificent in the first round, winning all nine frames. This group will probably boil down to how he fares against Stuart Bingham, given the clear gulf between them and the outsiders - Sam Craigie and Harvey Chandler.

That said, 33/1 about Chandler is a stunning price in such a short format where anything can happen. Being the outsider of four didn't deter him from winning the group. Craigie too was really impressive yesterday.

I'm loathe to take on O'Sullivan for any sizeable stake after his first round performance, but he is too short to consider. This format is simply too random - not to mention Ronnie's attitude in such a scenario - to be backing odds-on.

Nevertheless, I do think he'll go through. A key point to consider is how he has dominated Bingham over the course of their long careers - their head-to-head reads 16-3. I'm including evens about O'Sullivan for their match in a treble.

Wenbo looks a strong title contender

Group D is much more competitive. This quartet are all outside the top-16 yet all played very well to advance. Wenbo in particular stood out and he's tipped to reach the final. This short format may well prove ideal for this talented, yet erratic player.

The one I have doubts about in this section is O'Donnell. He played well to qualify yesterday but is at a slight disadvantage, because his match went into the early hours of this morning. Let's add 11/10 about Wenbo beating him for the second leg of that treble.

For the final leg, try Craigie to beat Chandler at Evens. Sam was impressive yesterday and is another with the natural talent to thrive in these particular conditions.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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