Ronnie O'Sullivan opens his bid for a record eighth Masters title on Tuesday and Paul Krishnamurty is tipping him to make light work of Jack Lisowski...
"Lisowski looks like the ideal opponent for Ronnie O'Sullivan. Quick, attacking, bound to create an open match, vastly inferior in the tactical department."
Combined, Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Selby have 20 major titles - 10 World Championships and 10 Masters. Both kick off their 2022 campaign on Tuesday and both are exactly the same 1/3 odds to win their first matches. However, I think there is a vast difference between the two matches and their chances of progress - as illustrated by the daily double.
Daily Double - Pays £12.00 for £4.00 stake
Ronnie O'Sullivan to beat Jack Lisowski @ 1.331/3
Over 9.5 Frames in Selby/Maguire @ 2.255/4
Rather like boxing, styles of play are critical in snooker. Players are suited by particular types of opponent and much less so others. The best measure of that can be found in long-term head-to-head records. That explains today's bets.
Jack Lisowski looks like the ideal opponent for Ronnie O'Sullivan. Quick, attacking, bound to create an open match, vastly inferior in the tactical department. Unless everything goes perfectly, he's bound to leave the Rocket chance after chance.
Although based on a small sample, their head-to-head points that way. Ronnie leads 3-0, by a 17-4 frame margin. Sure, one could say he was well ahead in the sport before their first two meetings, but not before last year's Players Championship. O'Sullivan struggled last season while Lisowski reached three finals. The result? 6-1.
Masters is Ronnie's best chance of three majors
Ronnie invariably arrives at the Masters super-charged - this has been his best major. I see no reason to think this year will be any different, fresh off winning the World Grand Prix before Christmas. Even money about him beating the 2.5 Frame Handicap may well be the bet of the first round.
Mark Selby and Stephen Maguire's history is very different. Selby leads 9-8 throughout their long careers, by an 81-73 frame margin. In majors, the scores are 3-2 and 28-25.
Maguire can take Selby the distance
In stark contrast to O'Sullivan, the 'Jester from Leicester' rarely blows opponents away. Even his finest hours have invariably involved a few final frame deciders or remarkable comebacks.
Expect this to be close again. Neither has been anywhere near their best this term. My first instinct was to look at Maguire for the handicap, but 4/6 about him winning four frames strikes me as inferior to 5/4 about both winning four, as implied by the Over 9.5 Frames bet.
In addition, back both to win 6-5. Combined, this pays around 7/2.
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