Paul Krishnamurty has been scouring today's last-32 matches in search of value, and concludes that Marco Fu is a cracking bet both to beat tonight's handicap and to win the tournament...
"Fu is probably improving with age. He reached the semi-finals of four ranking events last season and the way his quarter is opening up, could well do so again here."
Besides Shaun Murphy, none of big names have produced anything near their best snooker in the opening two rounds at York, so don't be surprised if one or two less fashionable characters come through from tasty prices to contend for the title. Marco Fu, currently available at odds of 42.041/1 to win the tournament, offers the perfect case in point.
A former runner-up in The Masters and in this event six years ago, Fu is probably improving with age. He reached the semi-finals of four ranking events last season and the way his quarter is opening up, could well do so again here. Only Murphy and Stephen Maguire are rated likelier to emerge from this section, neither of whom are bombproof by any means. Indeed, Fu beat Murphy 4-1 at the recent Champion of Champions.
The Hong Kong man has plenty more recent form in the book. Last week at the Ruhr Open, he produced an outstanding performance to whitewash John Higgins 4-0, before losing in a deciding frame to Judd Trump.
It's hard to make a case for tonight's opponent Dechawat Poomjaeng. Apart from causing a massive upset at The Crucible against Maguire, the Thai player has looked well short of top-class. A pair of recent defeats to Jimmy White do not bode well for a contest with a reliable top-16 player.
Two bets are recommended. First, back Fu to win the tournament at 42.041/1. If he progresses to the latter stages, I'll update the position. Secondly, take 2.1511/10 about Fu beating Betfair Sportsbook's 2.5 frame handicap against Poomjaeng.
Back Marco Fu to win the UK Championship 2u @ 42.041/1
Back Marco Fu -2.5 frames 4u @ 2.15 with Betfair Sportsbook (vs Poomjaeng)
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