The final two second round matches begin on Sunday, with another two are ongoing are ongoing. The matches between Judd Trump and Anthony McGill, plus Neil Robertson v Jack Lisowski are both tied 4-4. All to play for then and a decent start for the outsiders.
Trump looks vulnerable
Of the two, I much prefer McGill's chance of pulling off an upset. Yesterday I recommended him to win the 4.5 Frame Handicap. Now let's add him to win the match, as the first leg of today's treble and as a single.
Daily Treble (£1 stake returns £9.83)
Anthony McGill to beat Trump @ 3.55/2
Kyren Wilson to beat Bingham @ 1.538/15
Noppon Saengkham to win the 4.5 Frame Handicap @ 1.834/5
In truth, I'm keen on McGill across the range of markets. Trump made a couple of excellent contributions, as one would expect, but his general standard was poor. One could therefore argue that the Scot missed his chance, making plenty of his own errors. That the better player will improve as the match goes on.
I don't believe Trump's problems are so easily fixed. He's never really been like Ronnie O'Sullivan, who frequently goes from terrible to unbeatable within minutes. Judd's B-game is ordinary and he's looked somewhat lost for months now. He's very beatable, whether by McGill or someone else later.
Wilson hard to oppose on recent Crucible form
The draw and betting point to a match-up between Trump and Kyren Wilson, who must negotiate former champion Stuart Bingham first. Here, I think Wilson is the worthy favourite at 8/15.
They've met seven times previously, with Wilson leading 5-2 - one of which came in this round five years ago, 13-10. However Bingham is a multiple major champion, and both of his victories came in majors.
Wilson was nothing short of superb against Ding Junhui in the first round. In fact the only Crucible match in the last three renewals in which he didn't produce a very high standard was the 2020 final, against O'Sullivan. A forgiveable time to freeze. Whoever beats him may well become champion.
Whilst Bingham warrants respect, this is a very hard task. He took Wilson to a decider at the Masters and should have won but, if memory serves, he'd been well behind before a mixture of complacency and bad luck nearly derailed the leader. There's a chance he gets comprehensively outplayed here and that's my bet, at attractive odds. A correct score combo covering four outcomes - 13-5, 13-6, 13-7 and 13-8 - pays just short of 7/2.
Saengkham can continue to match Higgins
Before that, John Higgins and Noppon Saengkham begin an intriguing match. Obviously Higgins starts a big favourite and he did well to come from behind against another Thai, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. However Saengkham is no pushover and their six previous meetings were shared 3-3, 21 frames apiece.
One might say a Crucible encounter is a different affair but Saengkham's record here is excellent. In three matches this year and in 2020, he's eliminated two seeds easily and lost a deciding frame to Mark Selby.
I don't think Saengkham will lie down by any stretch and he could very well pull off an upset. Higgins' standard has been patchy for months. Winning ten frames to beat the +3.5 Frame Handicap is well within his compass.
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