Judd Trump v Dominic Dale
The head-to-head record between these two reads 4-0 to Judd Trump, but that doesn't begin to tell the story. Leaving aside a defeat in China, Dominic 'The Spaceman' Dale could have won three of them and didn't enjoy the best of luck. Most recently, Trump came from the dead to win 4-3 in the Welsh Open, having traded at heavily odds-against in-running.
12 months ago when meeting at this same stage of the World Championship, Dale led for long spells before going down 10-7. A few months earlier at the UK Championship, he unluckily lost 6-4. Moreover, Trump was at the peak of his powers ahead of those two matches and that cannot be said now. He hasn't reached a final since last November, losing in ranking events to qualifiers such as Jack Lisowski, Anthony Hamilton, Mark Joyce and Alfie Burden. Dale is higher ranked than all of that quartet and beat the last-named 10-5 to reach the Crucible.
History and form may still point towards a Trump win, but in terms of trading value, backing Dale is a no-brainer. My plan is to take [6.0] pre-match, then cash out, doubling my money if he shortens to [3.0] at any stage in-running. A bet on Dale covering the six frames required to win the handicap is also strongly advised.
Ding Junhui v Alan McManus
This one-sided match looks ideal for correct score purposes. [1.16] favourite Ding Junhui looks certain to win, while his experienced opponent has enough about him to avoid total humiliation. Alan McManus is a pale shadow of the player that once reached the Crucible semis, yet retains a competitive ranking thanks to a sound tactical game. That might give 'Angles' the edge in any scrappy frames although it's hard to imagine him keeping pace with Ding's scoring. This combination of scores equates to around [2.5] and looks bound to have a live chance towards the end of the match.