Stephen Lee has show great character and form to get himself in to the World Championship but, as Paul Krishnamurty explains, he has a terrible record at the Crucible and faces a strong opponent.
Recommended Bet:5u Andrew Higginson @ [1.93] (+3.5 frames)
Stephen Lee's return to the world's top-eight, when most of us expected he'd spend the rest of his career labouring in qualifying rounds, has been the biggest surprise of the season. A superb run of form has led some to even mention Lee as a plausible outsider for the title, but he will need to turn around an awful run at the Crucible, which has seen him lose his last five first round matches here and once again, the task looks anything but straightforward. In fact, of all the first round matches with one-sided betting, this one looks the most plausible upset.
In Andrew Higginson, Lee has drawn an experienced, in-form player capable of very high-class snooker on his day. Most famously he made a 147 en-route to finishing runner-up in the 2007 Welsh Open, where he lost the final in a deciding frame. The 34 year-old from Widnes also won his first professional title this season at the fifth PTC in Sheffield and reached the semis of the PTC Grand Finals. Higginson far from disgraced himself on his sole previous visit to the Crucible, giving Shaun Murphy a scare in 2009 before losing 10-8, and he'unlikely to do so this time either. Winning the seven frames required to land a [2.0] bet on the handicap is certainly well within range.
There's no reason why he shouldn't be aiming a lot higher than that, though, especially after an impressive 10-4 victory against Peter Lines to qualify last weekend. Higginson has won two out of seven previous encounters against Lee and the fact this is their first meeting over two sessions improves his chances. Lee may be famous for his 'Rolls Royce cue action', but not for his fitness and these long matches have never been his forte, as illustrated by that disappointing record in this championship.
Two bets are recommended. First, take the [1.93] about Higginson receiving 3.5 frames on the handicap. Secondly, back the qualifier at [4.4], with a view to banking profit in-running should he shorten to [2.2]. This trade equates to an even money bet.
In-play Trading plan