As the UK Championship gets into full swing with wall-to-wall TV coverage, Paul Krishnamurty will be providing his best bets every day. Read his plan for Saturday here...
"Ding is pretty ruthless against lesser opposition, and opened his title bid with a 6-0 whitewash."
Considering that the betting in early round games involving the top players is bound to be one-sided, it's remarkable how frequently the big snooker events find a crowd-pleasing match-up to open proceedings. In keeping with the rest of his 35-year career, Jimmy White will receive a hero's welcome in York, but that will almost certainly be the highlight of his day.
As odds of 1.11/10 imply, Ding Junhui starts an overwhelming favourite and even the hint of an upset would be dramatic news. The Chinese star is a frontline contender for a third UK crown, whereas Jimmy hasn't competed at this level for at least a decade.
The Whirlwind admirably battles on at the age of 52 and is still pretty effective in the early rounds against lesser players. He's recently reached a couple of last-16s in PTCs, although 4-0 defeats to Shaun Murphy and journeyman Matthew Selt at that stage demonstrate the limited scope of Jimmy's realistic ambitions.
Winning three frames against Ding, and therefore Betfair's 3.5 Frame Handicap, would be an achievement, but even that looks a tall order. Ding is pretty ruthless against lesser opposition, and opened his title bid with a 6-0 whitewash of John Sutton.
Moreover, White is nearly always blown away at this level nowadays. A 6-4 loss to Barry Hawkins in the International Championship was easily his best result against a top-line player in years. In 11 such previous matches over the last three seasons, he lost by 50 frames to 13, mostly to inferior players than Ding. That includes a 6-2 loss to Stuart Bingham at this exact stage last year.
Back Ding Junhui to win the -3.5 frame handicap 6u @ 5/6 (vs White)