Ding and Vafaei to serve up a classic
Williams to progress with ease
Jones looking strong against Carter
We have five matches to consider on Sunday - two play their first session, the other three to a finish. Let's start with the 10am clash between Ding Junhui and Hossein Vafaei.
This is another strong contender for best match-up of the first round. A Crucible stalwart against one of the best up-and-comers. On a week to week basis, there is virtually nothing between them but Ding is entitled to start favourite on the basis of his Crucible pedigree.
Expect a long match with heavy scoring
Rather than trying to pick the winner in a match I could well see going to the wire, take the 5/6 about 3 or More Match Centuries. This seems generous given the quality of players and likelihood that we'll get a long game. Ding averages 2.1 tons in the first round here, and hits one in less than every ten frames. Vafaei's season average is around 13.5. Solid numbers.
In addition to the single, make this the first leg of the daily treble. Saturday's effort is in a promising position, with success possibly hanging on Wu Yize winning three more frames against Neil Robertson. No further interest is needed there.
Daily treble (pays £12.43 to a £2 stake)
3+ Match Centuries in Junhui v Vafaei
Ricky Walden to win the +3.5 Frame Handicap
Jak Jones to win the +1.5 Frame Handicap
Leg two is backing Ricky Walden to make a comeback against Luca Brecel from 6-3 down. Winning four more frames is well within his compass and I toyed with laying Brecel at 1.251/4.
Thirdly take 8/13 about Jak Jones winning nine frames. Again I toyed with backing him to win the match at 6/5, but this is preferred because the match screams deciding frame. I don't expect Jones to fold under pressure so Carter has a tough task from 5-4 down.
Williams too strong for Robertson
The afternoon match involves Mark Williams and Jimmy Robertson, with the Welshman trying to win his tenth straight match between the pair. The frame score is a very one-sided 46-13.
Williams is one of my outright picks and obviously, I'm confident here. Robertson is a likeable type, who has improved considerably over the past two years, but that head-to-head speaks volumes. There are numerous players around that level who always struggle against Williams' tablecraft.
The score was 10-5 when they met in this round five years ago. I think he can do at least as well, without winning. Try a correct score combo on 10-5, 10-6 and 10-7, which pays around 2.77/4.
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