Favourite backers have suffered a difficult start to the tournament and Paul Krishnamurty reckons there are more upsets to come. Here are his thoughts on three potential champions who begin their campaigns today...
"Last year's runner-up will probably win, but I doubt it will be straightforward. Gilbert is a solid, consistent pro, not dissimilar to the standard for which Hawkins was known until fairly recently."
Upsets have been coming thick and fast at The Crucible and I suspect we'll see at least a couple more seeds bite the dust before the first round is over. None of today's favourites are bombproof by any means against dangerous opponents. Judd Trump, Mark Allen and Barry Hawkins are all trading below 1.331/3 and make very little betting appeal.
Trump will almost certainly beat Tom Ford, who has yet to produce his best on a big stage, but he's simply not a man to rely on at short odds. I suspect he'll look brilliant here and spark a big gamble before falling short in the latter stages. For an interest, lets try a small bet on Trump winning 10-4.
Mark Allen will be extremely vulnerable to Michael Holt unless improving significantly on recent form. Up until about six months ago, he looked a world-beater and if he starts cueing well, Allen is a potential champion. He's gone completely off the boil since though and this streaky player is worth opposing until showing his best again. It took a deciding frame to separate this pair at the UK Championship and I reckon Holt backers will get a similarly exciting run for their money at 4.03/1.
Today's nap is Over 16.5 Total Frames in the David Gilbert v Barry Hawkins match. Last year's runner-up will probably win, but I doubt it will be straightforward. Gilbert is a solid, consistent pro, not dissimilar to the standard for which Hawkins was known until fairly recently. Moreover, Gilbert's excellent Crucible debut in 2012 bodes well. On that occasion, he beat Martin Gould to reach the last-16 before a resilient effort to lose only 13-9 to Neil Robertson at the peak of his powers.
Back Judd Trump to beat Tom Ford 10-4 1u @ 7.413/2
Back Michael Holt to beat Mark Allen 2u @ 4.03/1
Back Over 16.5 frames in the David Gilbert v Barry Hawkins match 5u @ 2.0421/20
Note: As these bets are published early, when liquidity is still weak, prices are a guide based on odds comparison websites.
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