Can Robertson maintain first round form?
Jones to stay competitive
O'Sullivan and Vafaei to serve up a classic
Neil Robertson and Ronnie O'Sullivan kick off their last-16 matches at the Crucible today, while the Williams/Brecel and Allen/Bingham matches continue.
Don't dismiss Jak Jones
Robertson takes on Jak Jones in a fascinating match about which I'm loathe to make a prediction. Jones is an extremely likeable, improving type. Always big odds and invariably offering a good run for your money. There's definitely a case for a back-to-lay trade on the Welshman, and I may well pursue this strategy in-running.
However on the other side, the Aussie was probably the best performer in the first round and will take plenty of stopping. I'm very fearful that, after so many years of backing Robertson at the Crucible to no avail, this is the year he comes good, when expectations are lowest.
Here, I'm just going to put Jones to win the +5.5 Frame Handicap as the first leg of the daily double.
Daily double (pays £11.00 to a £3.00 stake)
Jak Jones to win the 5.5 Frame Handicap @ 5/6
Hossein Vafaei to win the +3.5 Frame Handicap @ Evs
Ronnie's match has the hallmarks of a classic and even more so after Vafaei's comments gave the media the 'grudge match' they were looking for.
Vafaei seems to relish big matches
We should not take an O'Sullivan victory for granted. Vafaei is an outstanding talent who has beaten all the top players, including on the biggest stages. Mark Selby in three consecutive majors encounters, for example.
He also whitewashed O'Sullivan in the German Masters last year, in a match which seems to lie at the heart of his new contempt for the Rocket. It is true that Ronnie showed no respect for his opponent in that match, smashing the reds up off the break.
Feud may help motivate Vafaei
I suspect Hossein is using this so-called feud to motivate himself, and that may be a good thing. I don't think he will be overawed by the occasion and venue any more than he was in the first round, when comfortably beating Ding Junhui. He belongs at this level, and is well up to winning the 10 frames required for the handicap.
That is especially the case considering that Ronnie hasn't consistently produced his best snooker for a while now. This could be a match, and even an upset, for the ages. Back the handicap ahead of this first session and perhaps we'll add some more bets tomorrow.
*Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty