World Snooker Semi-Final Tips: Wilson to march on towards his Crucible destiny

Former world champion Stuart Bingham
Bingham's break-building prowess looks under-estimated in the betting

Ahead of two intriguing semi-finals in this wide-open World Championship, Paul Krishnamurty is standing firm behind his long and short-term pick...

"Stuart may also be under-rated at 7/5 to make the Highest Break. He's hit 16 tons in five matches so far, compared to six in three for Selby."

Back Stuart Bingham to make the Highest Break 2u @ 2.47/5

For the first World Championship since 2015, we have an all-English semi-final line-up and could yet see a repeat of that year's final. Few named Stuart Bingham and Shaun Murphy as likely winners a fortnight ago but they certainly are now, for what has felt like a particularly open renewal throughout.

Selby poised to resume Crucible dominance?

That 2015 final was the only blip in a four year spell of dominance by Mark Selby - the best Crucible performer of his generation. Now his three superiors in the early betting are out, the Jester from Leicester is odds-on to win his fourth world title.

On what we know and what we've seen, it is hard to argue with that assessment. For me, he's played better than ever in this championship. Totally dominant and, for once, he hasn't wasted loads of energy making hard work of early rounds.

Will Bingham be jaded?

It often proves the case that one opponent starts the first semi-final jaded, and at a disadvantage. Stuart Bingham played two qualifying rounds and needed a deciding frame in the first round and against Anthony McGill yesterday. Selby hasn't broken sweat and won his quarter-final with a session to spare.

All this is factored into prohibitive odds, though. Head-to-head, there is nothing between them. 11-11, with Bingham winning three of the last four, doesn't encourage a bet at just 1.330/100 on Selby.

Bingham still fair value in side markets

Nor does the latter's longstanding tendency to start matches slowly, even if that hasn't been the case in this tournament yet. I do think Selby will win but, given how well he's playing, Bingham is preferred via the +4.5 Frame Handicap. There isn't much in their history to suggest a one-sided encounter.

Stuart may also be under-rated at 7/5 to make the Highest Break. He's hit 16 tons in five matches so far, compared to six in three for Selby.

As for the second semi, Murphy leads Kyren Wilson 4-3 head-to-head, including a 9-1 humiliation in last year's Welsh Open final. Nevertheless I am not abandoning my last remaining outright pick.

Wilson is made for this format

I've tipped Kyren to win this title, on this unique stage, in what feels like his ideal conditions, ever since he first appeared at the Crucible. Nothing that has happened in the last six strong campaigns, or the last fortnight, to change that.

Wilson showed in all three rounds just how well suited he is to marathon matches under extreme pressure. He's struggled badly for spells, yet keeps marching forward and stays focused. The victory over Robertson, wearing him down and then peaking when it matters, was a masterclass.

Shaun has been superb this week and it wouldn't surprise me if he regained the title. However I think Wilson will prove a tougher nut to crack than Judd Trump was last night. Murphy did well to close it out but he missed a lot of balls during that final session and benefited from Trump's mistakes.

No specials here. 4/5 about Wilson is a confident selection. Selby is in intimidating form but I believe this is the younger man's year.


Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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