World Snooker Championship Tips: Bets advised on all four quarter-finals

Snooker player Neil Robertson
Neil Robertson has a clear recent edge over Mark Selby

We're down to eight men standing at the Crucible so here's Paul Krishnamurty's quarter-final preview...

"If the Crucible Curse is to strike, this is the match for my money. A grinder like Wilson in a Crucible marathon is Trump's worst scenario."

Back Kyren Wilson to win the 3.5 Frame Handicap 5u @ 4/5

Neil Robertson v Mark Selby

Whilst Neil Robertson is the last of my initial outright picks left in the tournament, I'm still confident.

He's come through two tricky draws, stepping up in the final sessions without ever really hitting peak form. In contrast, and therefore preferable, to past Crucible failures where he's shone in the first week but failed when it mattered.

Doubts over Selby retaining elite status

That said, this is another tough draw. The man who defied him in a 17-15 epic when the Aussie last reached a Crucible semi in 2014, and a former three-time champion to boot. The question is whether Selby still presents that level of threat. Generally, he hasn't for a couple of years.

To be fair, one could argue that Selby's pedigree suggests he'll peak in the latter stages. I would need better than recent evidence to back him, though, and note that the last time he met a player of comparable status, he lost 9-2 to Mark Allen. Robertson won their last three encounters.

8/13 about the favourite is a decent price for odds-on backers. I'm doubling him up with O'Sullivan later at 2/9, whom I consider a near-certainty. See below.

Judd Trump v Kyren Wilson

For those who followed my advice to back Wilson at 24.023/1 for the title, sit tight even though the odds have fallen to 14.013/1. Win this and he'll be in a fantastic position.

If you're not already on, take 4/5 about him winning ten frames via the 3.5 Frame Handicap. If the Crucible Curse is to strike, this is the match for my money. A grinder like Wilson in a Crucible marathon is Trump's worst scenario.

Trump yet to convince

It may surprise readers to learn that Wilson leads their head-to-head 7-5. That includes a Masters semi and a ranking event final. Trump edged him 4-3 in the Gibraltar final, just before Covid, but has yet to demonstrate anything like the standard he was producing then, or for the previous 18 months.

Again, it may be that Trump is timing his run well. His recent record and performances against elite opposition have been magnificent. Nevertheless, I'm sticking with my long-term argument that Kyren is a future world champion and my short-term view of this particular renewal.

Ronnie O'Sullivan v Mark Williams

Forty-somethings O'Sullivan and Williams square up for what will be their 42nd meeting outside the Championship League, tenth in a major and sixth in this event. Ronnie leads 30-8 overall, 8-1 in majors and 5-0 at the Crucible. He's won 19 of their last 20 meetings, dating back to 2002.

Quite a formbook and I can only see one result here. Ronnie wasn't perfect in beating Ding Junhui but came through easily enough having trailed. Despite proving me wrong by beating a disappointing Stuart Bingham, Williams didn't overly impress. Expect another comfortable victory for the Rocket, beating the 4.5 Frame Handicap.

Kurt Maflin v Anthony McGill

The standard was many leagues below anything else in the second round but the last match to finish produced drama for the ages. Anthony McGill must be the luckiest quarter-finalist in Crucible history. I hope Jamie Clarke achieves something big in his career because otherwise he'll be remembered as the sport's worst-ever bottler.

Unsurprisingly, the market firmly favours Kurt Maflin. Pre-tournament it would have favoured McGill but, no question, the Norwegian has played far superior snooker. He's earned many a new fan with his attacking approach.

My prediction is Maflin but I'm mindful of a general rule. Every day is a new one in snooker. These guys play constantly and can put a bad performance behind them with one good visit to the table. With both chasing a semi-final place and best ever career achievement up for grabs, there will be stacks of pressure.

I will, therefore, leave the match market alone. It could turn into a cracking trading heat like the McGill/Clarke match, with the odds trading back and forth.

One bet I do like, though, is 5/6 about Maflin scoring more centuries. He's made six more this season, at a considerably more frequent rate. He's also hit four in the tournament, whereas McGill is still looking for his first.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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