Williams vying for favouritism after Lisowski whitewash
Trump's battling qualities on display all week
Don't expect high ton count
The betting for today's best-of-19 final is virtually tied, with Judd Trump rated slightly ahead on the exchange at odds of 1.9310/11, compared to 2.0621/20 for Mark Williams. That the numbers are so close is testimony to how they have played en route to this final. When play started a week ago, Trump was roughly a quarter of Williams' odds.
Head-to-head points firmly to Trump
They also contradict a clear head-to-head advantage. Trump leads Williams 11-6, although the 72-64 frame score is relatively close. This will be Mark's first appearance in a Masters final in 20 years, and fourth overall. For Trump, this is a second appearance having won here at Alexandra Palace in 2019.
So, is Trump being under-rated? He deserves the utmost credit for battling through this week, despite generally being way below his best. There have been glimmers of a return to his peak, particularly in the finish against Barry Hawkins. The great players find it on the biggest stages, when most needed.
Trump's run is somewhat reminiscent of the last World Championship, when he edged out Williams 17-16 in the semi-final. Again, Trump was not at his best in that event and if memory serves, the Welshman was generally more impressive prior to their match-up.
Williams has been player of the week
I already tipped Williams yesterday at 3.613/5 and am not planning on cashing out. Since what felt like a highly unlikely comeback to beat career nemesis Ronnie O'Sullivan, I've felt this would be Mark's week. He was simply clinical in whitewashing another frontline title contender yesterday in Jack Lisowski.
Unless Trump plays a lot better than in any round so far, or pretty much any match this season, he will offer Williams plenty of chances. There will be many tight, nerve-wracking frames and I'm confident a close finish tonight. Last year's match at the Crucible produced eight centuries but their matches aren't usually full of high breaks - the previous 12 matches produced just nine.
Williams preferred under most intense pressure
I don't believe there is a better player alive in that situation than Williams. He thrives on pressure. Out of 11 finals in majors, he won seven and lost two more in deciding frames.
However if I were coming to this without a bet, even money wouldn't massively appeal in a match that feels sure to go down to the wire. Better value may lie in a couple of correct-scores. Try 10-9 and 10-8 to Williams, which pays around 7/2 combined. Come the evening session, I reckon that will be a nice value position.
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