Paul Krishnamurty previews today's semi-finals from the Barbican Centre in York, recommending bets in both...
"Ballrun is in his best form since winning the 2015 World Championship...but, equally, Allen looks very strong...A more confident prediction is that this one will take some time sorting out and there's every chance it will require a deciding frame."
Back Over 9.5 Frames @ 11/10
Bidding to defend the title and in doing so, break the all-time record with seven UK Championship victories, all the betting and form indicators point to Ronnie O'Sullivan easing into tomorrow's final. He's available to back at just 1.111/9 for this game and 1.68/13 for the title.
Ronnie set for another short afternoon against Ford
Tomorrow is another story altogether because either potential opponent will be tough but the Rocket will likely make short work of the semi. Tom Ford has had a fantastic week, earning ranking points that could turn out to have a transformative effect on his career if following up in the weeks and months ahead, but the Leicester man is surely out of his depth now.
One guide is scoring. In the last three rounds, Ford made seven fifty plus breaks. Ronnie made 13. In their last two meetings, Ford won just one frame and I doubt he'll do much better than that this afternoon. I'm taking 1.910/11 about O'Sullivan winning the 3.5 Frame Handicap.
Bingham could give Allen his toughest yet
Completely different comments apply about tonight. Mark Allen is carrying my cash in the outright market and is playing well, but 'Pistol' faces an opponent who is absolutely flying. Stuart Bingham's 6-1 win over Kyren Wilson reads exceptionally well given the latter's good recent form and it wasn't his first storming performance of the week by any means - ask David Gilbert.
It feels like, having returned from a very harsh ban, 'Ballrun' is in his best form since winning the 2015 World Championship. He was outstanding when landing an emotional victory at the English Open and seems determined to re-establish himself immediately. This week's efforts ensure that.
If truth to be told, I'm inclined to back him here as the outsider but, equally, Allen looks very strong. Although aided by Maguire's poor showing last night, he could do no more than win. Mark evidently isn't afraid of anyone these days and would be a genuine threat to Ronnie if they meet tomorrow.
A more confident prediction is that this one will take some time sorting out and there's every chance it will require a deciding frame. I'm backing Over 9.5 Frames at 11/10.
UK Championship Stats
Back Ronnie O'Sullivan to win the 3.5 Frame Handicap 4u @ 1.910/11
Back Over 9.5 Frames in Bingham v Allen 4u @ 11/10