As predicted here, yesterday's first semi-final went to a deciding frame, and while the betting for today's match is much more one-sided, there is every chance of a repeat. Punters have been steaming into Mark Selby ever since his remarkable comeback from 4-0 down to eliminate the previous tournament favourite Neil Robertson, but on the basis of his form throughout the week, the 'Jester from Leicester' is way under-priced at [1.38].
Indeed, Selby has played wholly to type, struggling for long spells, letting opponents build big leads before coming into his own during the final session. Ryan Day was 3-0 up and trading below [1.3] before disintegrating under pressure, while Robertson hit even shorter odds in-running. Clearly the man never knows when he's beat, but his style is absolutely perfect for laying pre-match at odds-on, with a view towards backing at higher odds in-running.
That strategy worked with Day, even though the Welshman ultimately flopped, and simply must be repeated with a better, more reliable candidate. Arguably the most improved player on the circuit, Mark Davis remains to some extent 'under the radar'. Until two years ago, he had the identikit journeyman profile, almost guaranteed to fail in front of the TV cameras, let alone reach the latter stages. Perhaps due to the much busier schedule, however, Davis has come on leaps and bounds, winning the Six Reds World Championship twice and twice reaching ranking event semi finals this season.
This is easily the biggest match of Davis' career but his form has been as good as anyone at York, playing very well in all three victories against Cao Yupeng, John Higgins and Matthew Stevens. While one would have to fancy Selby's peerless nerve to hold sway over an opponent lacking experience of high-pressure occasions if it gets close, I strongly fancy Davis to at least achieve that much. [1.94] about Davis receiving 2.5 frames on the handicap rates solid value, and I also recommend another back to lay. By backing Davis at [3.55], then placing a lay order for twice the stake at [1.75], we're effectively having an even money bet.