Multi-session matches at the Crucible always produce a number of memorable late-night encounters and Paul Krishnamurty says today's match between John Higgins and Mark Allen is a prime candidate...
"Over the longer-term, there are some clear signals and they certainly do not justify taking short-odds about Higgins. Despite nearly always being lower-ranked, Allen leads their head-to-head 8-6, winning six of their last eight encounters."
In any snooker event, but particularly one which lasts for 17 days, punters face a dilemma over how much worth to place on the previous day or round's form. At this level, they can all beat each other from one day to the next and it arguably makes better sense to focus on their head-to-head record over a longer period of time.
The John Higgins v Mark Allen clash presents precisely such a dilemma. Higgins was excellent in the first round, notching no fewer than ten breaks of fifty or more to dispatch a dangerous qualifier in Martin Gould. In stark contrast, Allen was rubbish against Jimmy Robertson, squeaking through 10-8 despite having multiple chances in almost every frame.
That very recent form explains why Higgins starts strong favourite around [1.53] but can we trust it? It is three days since they played and we can only guess whether they're still cueing the same in practice. It doesn't help that neither is very consistent nowadays.
Over the longer-term, there are some clear signals and they certainly do not justify taking short-odds about Higgins. Despite nearly always being lower-ranked, Allen leads their head-to-head 8-6, winning six of their last eight encounters.
While that implies [2.9] about Allen is big value, I can't bring myself to recommend somebody who played so badly last time. The Pistol has become an extremely infuriating, inconsistent character whose head goes down too easily. Nevertheless he remains capable of a big run in the tournament and I'll be surprised if he gets hammered. Higgins isn't all that consistent nowadays and seems bound to throw in at least one ordinary session out of three.
When they met at the Masters in January, Allen won 6-5 and I reckon we're due for another long-drawn out affair. The recommended bet on Total Frames requires a score of at least 13-9 either way. That doesn't seem too much to ask.
Stakes: 49 units
Returns: 58.4 units