Paul Krishnamurty previews today's quartet of last-16 matches at the Barbican Theatre, recommending a variety of outright and side bets in three of them...
"On the basis of his stellar performance to eliminate Judd Trump, Graeme Dott is good value against the perennially unreliable Stephen Maguire. He leads their career head-to-head 4-3."
We've reached the last-16 stage in York and, after a spate of upsets in earlier rounds, the UK Championship is increasingly shorn of well-fancied, frontline candidates. Ronnie O'Sullivan remains in a bracket of his own as even money favourite, while John Higgins and Shaun Murphy are still in contention. However only four players started the week outside the top-16 and at odds of [100.0] plus.
The worst affected quarter is the one previously dominated by Mark Selby. Ryan Day, a [150.0] chance pre-tournament not known for reliability, is hot favourite to beat Li Hang today and would be even shorter in the quarters. Day beat this Chinese opponent 4-2 last week but doesn't appeal at around [1.6], considering Hang is one of this season's surprise packages. This strikes me as a game to swerve.
This afternoon's main match looks much more predictable. John Higgins has won 19 of 24 previous matches with Mark King and, if producing anything like yesterday's form shown against Yan Bingtao, will surely deliver again at around [1.27]. King did enjoy an excellent win of his own against Luca Brecel but it seemed from the scoring like the Belgian was below form, persistently breaking down.
Higgins' is certainly acca material and, for a less risky bet, well worth a correct score combo. Let's try 6-2 and 6-3 as King will characteristically battle on, but I doubt he'll provide too much resistance.
Both the other two matches look extremely tight and set to go all the way. On the basis of his stellar performance to eliminate Judd Trump, Graeme Dott is a good value outsider against the perennially unreliable Stephen Maguire. He leads their career head-to-head 4-3 and Monday's great form didn't come out of nowhere. Earlier in the tournament, Dott said he'd played his best in years. He's always been a streaky type so I'm sticking with him whilst that streak is hot.
If forced to pick an outright bet in the Mark Allen versus Joe Perry match, I'd have to go for the outsider as it looks too close to call. Preference, however, is for a bet on Over 9.5 Frames. Allen leads their head-to-head by 4-3, although that changes to 6-6 if Championship League matches are included. Most were close and, now Perry has found some form, is unlikely to be rolled over quickly by the favourite.
Back Graeme Dott to beat Stephen Maguire 3u @ [2.3]
Back John Higgins to beat Mark King 6-2 1u @ [5.2]
Back John Higgins to beat Mark King 6-3 1u @ [5.2]
Back Over 9.5 Frames in the Allen v Perry match 4u @ [2.1]
2017 UK Snooker P/L:
Stakes: 26.5 units
Returns: 24.5 units
P/L: -2 units