O'Sullivan well ahead
McGill's Crucible experience to count
Hard to split Selby and Higgins
In stark contrast to the second round, which produced only one close finish, the quarter-finals are perfectly poised. Only Ronnie O'Sullivan is ahead, by 10-6 against Luca Brecel. Mark Allen and Jak Jones are tied at 8-8, while both Mark Selby v John Higgins and Anthony McGill v Si Jiahui are 4-4.
There's no need to add anything to that O'Sullivan match as yesterday's recommended bets on 13-7 and 13-8 are very much in-play. Either score would also leave the daily double in a very strong position. To land the other half, we need anything but a 5-0 whitewash in the final session of Allen v Jones.
McGill to end Jiahui's superb run
Despite failing to build a lead, McGill has shortened slightly to 8/13. That is presumably based on Si conceding a 4-1 lead in what was his first bad session of the tournament. Harsh on that alone, but I preferred the Scot at the start and still do.
Simply, McGill's pedigree in this tournament warrants the utmost respect. If it happens, he will be a tough opponent for O'Sullivan in the semi. He must be clear favourite against a 20 year-old novice under these high-pressure Crucible conditions. Use that 8/13 for the first leg of the daily treble, and try a correct score on 13-10.
Daily treble (pays £14.09 to a £3.00 stake)
Anthony McGill to win @ 8/13
Over 23.5 Frames in Allen/Jones @ 4/5
Over 22.5 Frames in Selby/Higgins @ 8/13
Jones can take Allen all the way
Regarding the second leg, Jones is more than holding his own and is not to be written off in the final session. Allen was poor today, but that of course could just be the bad session or two that everyone endures over 17 days. Nevertheless, there is no sign as yet of him dominating and Jones has plenty of bottle. Everything points to a very close finish.
The best snooker of a somewhat mixed day came in the Selby/Higgins match. If we'd priced this up at the start of the tournament, Selby would have been a heavy favourite. Considerably shorter than today's 1.82 on the exchange. Despite the Jester being one of my outright picks, I can't disagree.
Higgins' sudden resurgence has spooked me, having written him off for this weeks or months ago. This isn't the first time he's suddenly turned it around and his record here speaks for itself. 8.2 for the title is tempting, especially given that Allen and O'Sullivan's form was patchy today. In the form shown so far, I'd back him against either.
Selby will have been mighty relieved to get out of the first session at 4-4. In the previous round he also could have fallen further behind against Gary Wilson, but dug in as he does and ended up winning easily. This will be much tougher though and a very obvious candidate to go to a deciding frame. Back 13-12 both ways and put Over 22.5 Frames in the Daily Treble.
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