As the second round progresses, Paul Krishnamurty is backing Mark Williams to maintain his excellent form and take out one of his oldest rivals...
"Two years at this stage, Wilson prevailed 13-11 in a wonderful match which produced nine century breaks...backing a similar outcome might be the way forward."
There are four second round matches either starting or ongoing on Friday. Ronnie O'Sullivan is tied 4-4 with Anthony McGill while Neil Robertson leads Jack Lisowski 5-3. In both cases, I'm happy to run the bets advised yesterday.
Little to choose between Wilson and Hawkins
Kyren Wilson starts out against Barry Hawkins at 10am, in what looks a fantastic match. Both played really well in the first round and cut similar profiles. Class acts with bags of Crucible pedigree yet, to date, nearly men.
I agree with the market assessment that Wilson starts favourite on the basis that he's slightly ahead overall in the game, but odds of 1.75/7 don't offer any great value.
Back another marathon encounter
Interestingly Hawkins leads their head-to-head 8-6 but Wilson has the recent edge, winning four of the last six including twice in majors. Two years at this stage, he prevailed 13-11 in a wonderful match which produced nine century breaks.
Rather than trying to pick the winner, backing a similar outcome might be the way forward. Over 4.5 Centuries makes some appeal at 11/10 but at the same odds, Over 22.5 Frames is preferred.
Legends lock horns in repeat of 2018 final
Whilst that match has the makings of a Crucible classic, it plays second fiddle to the 40th meeting between John Higgins and Mark Williams - their first since the 2018 final. For the record, Higgins leads 21-18.
The Wizard of Wishaw was one of my pre-tournament picks but, in truth, if I could have my picks again I'd exchange that four unit bet for one on Williams at earlier odds of 75.074/1.
On the basis of his form in the first round, building on marked improvement during the build-up, he's a contender. I'm normally first to dismiss Williams when out of form but at his fluent best, he's still a very good match for anyone bar Trump and career nemesis O'Sullivan.
If both replicate their first round performances, the Welshman will win this in a canter. Whilst that is obviously far from certain, this feels a perfect scenario to back the outsider. Try 11/10 about Williams winning the +1.5 Frame Handicap, thus keeping a 13-12 defeat onside.
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