Following on from a highly profitable set of first round tips, Paul Krishnamurty previews the first two Masters quarter-finals, where he's backing both favourites to progress...
"Williams is showing his best form in years and has been almost reminiscent of his dual world title winning days. Even if not maintaining that level for the whole match, he takes the world of knocking over."
It is highly unlikely we will see a stronger, more competitive quarter-final line-up all season, yet the betting is predictably dominated by one man. Following his 6-0 whitewash of Marco Fu, Ronnie O'Sullivan is rated 43% likely to win an eighth Masters title at odds of [2.3].
Few would argue with those odds and I suspect the other seven players would agree that, if Ronnie maintains that form, he is unbeatable. With Mark Selby out, there is nobody left in whom he hasn't dominated in recent times. Fu hadn't beaten O'Sullivan for nine years and his next opponent hasn't done so for seven. To be fair though, Mark Allen represents a much tougher obstacle.
Whereas Fu has been struggling all year, Allen should start with confidence after an impressive first round performance including two tons. Interestingly he won both previous encounters in majors against Ronnie - 6-4 in the 2011 Masters and 13-11 in the 2009 World Championship. If he gets chances, the Northern Irishman is certainly good enough to keep things close and even pull off an upset.
The question of course is whether those chances materialise. For money, O'Sullivan is a better player now than in 2011. Far more focused, determined and far less likely to underestimate an opponent. I expect him to win a high-quality affair with something to spare and am backing a couple of correct scores - 6-3 and 6-4.
In addition to correct scores in both matches, today's main bet is a favourites' double on O'Sullivan at 1/4 and in the evening match, Mark Williams to beat Kyren Wilson at 8/13. Here, we are taking just above even money about arguably the two most in-form players.
Wilson, advised pre-tournament at 44.0, did us proud against Hawkins and warrants the utmost respect. He's a top prospect with a very likeable temperament. However Williams in current mood will be much tougher. His come-from-behind win over Selby was a match for the ages, and follows on from an outstanding run to win the Northern Ireland Open, producing another brilliant comeback in that final.
Williams is showing his best form in years and has been almost reminiscent of his dual world title winning days. Even if not maintaining that level for the whole match, he takes the world of knocking over. Again I don't think this will be one-sided and recommend a correct score combo on 6-4 and 6-5, paying around 3.5.
Masters 2018 Profit/Loss
Stakes: 34 units
Returns: 59.5 units
P/L: + 25.5 units
Ronnie O'Sullivan to beat Mark Allen @ 1/4
Mark Williams to beat Kyren Wilson @ 8/13 (5 units double)
O'Sullivan to win 6-3 1u @ 9/2
O'Sullivan to win 6-4 1u @ 11/2
Williams to win 6-4 1u @ 6/1
Williams to win 6-5 1u @ 13/2