UK Championship Snooker Final: Allen good value to deny O'Sullivan's historic title bid

Snooker player Mark Allen
Mark Allen is tipped to win his second major of 2018
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Ronnie O'Sullivan is bidding to make history in today's final at the Barbican Centre but Paul Krishnamurty says his opponent is the better value betting option. Here's his preview...

"The Pistol' has never been afraid of Ronnie, faring better than most against him including a remarkable record on the biggest stages...In the majors, Allen won all three times."

Back Mark Allen @ [3.4]

The debate regarding who is snooker's greatest ever player will never be settled but Ronnie O'Sullivan can add to very strong claims today. Victory over Mark Allen would mean a record seventh UK Championship title, emulating his achievement in another triple-crown event, The Masters.

Allen has a perfect record against O'Sullivan in majors

Don't bank on it though. Odds of [1.38] reflect his supremacy in the game and over the past fortnight but Mark Allen is no pushover by any means. Indeed, 'The Pistol' has never been afraid of Ronnie, faring better than most against him including a remarkable record on the biggest stages.

The pair have met seven times previously, with O'Sullivan ahead by just 4-3. In the majors though, Allen has won all three times - at the 2009 World Championship, 2011 Masters and en route to winning his first major at the latter last January.

On his last appearance in a final, the lucrative International Championship, Allen produced a performance that would probably have beaten anyone, knocking in four centuries. Ronnie hasn't looked bombproof in finals lately. He lost the NI final to Judd Trump and was extremely fortunate against Kyren Wilson in the Champion of Champions.

O'Sullivan had a much easier route to the final

Allen will need to make fewer mistakes than the past two rounds but was still excellent in spells and even more so against Neil Robertson previously. He's never looked more measured and has twice stepped up in the pressure cooker of a deciding frame. Again, evidently, pressure brings out his best.

Obviously, you can't argue with O'Sullivan's form. He's only lost nine frames in six matches here and five of those were to Ken Doherty, playing out of his skin. Sure, the only opponent even approaching Allen's class (or the players he beat in a much more competitive side of the draw) was Jack Lisowski, but all were duly trounced.

As one of my pre-tournament selections, Allen has already secured a profit for that column by reaching the final and followers may be weighing up a saver now. As a rule, I never lay those specific outright bets back because it would confuse the stats but in this case, that reflects my view of the final odds.

At [3.4], Allen is exactly the type on which to try a back-to-lay. Those finals aside, Ronnie has been tested several times by similar or lesser players in big matches this term. I'm confident this will be exciting during the evening session. Back Allen now and seek to partially cashout for profit if his odds hit [1.5] at any stage in-running.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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