December 10, 2010

UK Championships Semi-Final Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:09 am

Smurf is the odd one out and a bit of a worry.

OK, there is no Ronnie, no Robbo, no Selby but what we have left in Telford is a highly competitive final four in the shape of John Higgins, Mark Allen, Mark Williams and Shaun Murphy.

Any one of the four of them could be lifting the trophy come Sunday evening so that makes for a dramatic final weekend, which starts today (Friday is as good as the weekend) with Higgins taking on Allen.

OK, first thing’s first, the outright preview. The three players recommended in the outrights are still in the championship, Williams (12/1 and 11/1), Higgins (10/1) and Allen (33/1). Anyone that followed the staking plan and has left it at that is in pretty good shape and should consider laying a bit off on the Smurf.

Williams would be the best result with a total profit of 40.5 points on that bet at the stake advised should he win it, should Allen triumph you would be looking at a profit of 23.75 points and if Higgins wins it you would be looking at a profit of 15 points. Obviously you will need to factor in losing stakes for each outcome. You have the back up of having backed all of them each way so the sensible thing to do, in my view is to have a bet on Murphy to win it to cover all bases. But I’ll leave that up to you.

Recommended Bet: 2.5 points win Shaun Murphy to win UK Championship @9/4 Boylesports (click here to open an account and treble your first £20 stake)

Right, that’s that out of the way, it’s the way I bet, it might not be the way you would advise or do things yourself but each to their own I say.

We also had another good day yesterday with the two bets recommended both delivering and Skybet again coming second in a two horse race to the blog by enhancing the odds on the double, will they ever learn? I hope not.

To the preview:

John Higgins v Mark Allen (H2H 4-2)

To me, Higgins has been playing marginally the best snooker of the week ahead of the Smurf and despite a few wobbles, when he has been challenged and looked like he might lose he has found something every time and kicked on. Allen has been making his way through the tournament a little under the radar. He has also wobbled, nearly throwing away a big lead against Ding and falling over the line against Bingham, but again he proved that he has a winners mentality and surely it is only a matter of time before young ketchuphead wins a ranking event. I said in the preview for the last round that the way John is playing and the focus he seems to have reminds me of when he won his last World title, when spookily enough he accounted for Allen in the semi-finals before beating Murphy in the final. Can history repeat itself? Mark got the better of an off-form Higgins in the Masters back in January when Johnny Boy looked like he’d overdone the celebrations over Christmas, their only meeting since then being just a couple of weeks ago when John beat Mark 4-1 in the EPTC on his comeback. I don’t need to have a bet on the outcome of this match but will give an opinion, I think Higgins will win. But there is a price here which I think is a little too good to pass up so I will recommend a bet.

Recommended Bet: 2 points win over 14.5 frames at 4/5 with Corals

Mark's not be quite right this week

Mark Williams v Shaun Murphy (H2H 2-4)

I’ll admit that I am not as confident as I thought I would be at this stage in Mark. He is playing the weakest of the four left in it and one hopes that this is merely a decoy to throw us off the scent and he will come out tomorrow like the MJW we all know and love. Again, winning mentalities are on show here, both these two, when tested this week have produced the goods but on form going into this you would have to say that Murphy looks a shoo-in. But is it that simple? They have never met over the longer distance but neither have a problem with the format or with stamina. Mark’s long potting has not been great so far this week and Murphy’s has been mustard. Mark has played weaker opponents and struggled, Murphy has beaten the seemingly untouchable Robertson and a resurgent Ryan Day in close finishes. I still think Murphy sometimes, for whatever reason loses concentration and misses balls you would never expect, but this week Mark just isn’t at the races. It pains me to say it and I really hope I am wrong for my wallet’s sake but Murphy has to be backed here for anyone that doesn’t have an interest in the tournament remaining.

Recommended Bet: 2 points win Shaun Murphy (minus 1.5 frames) at 4/5 with Boylesports

The double on the two recommended bets pays just under 9/4 at Boylesports, but I wonder if Skybet might come back with a better price for a Snookerbacker Semi Final Special?

We’ll wait and see but will I recommend a 1 point double on the two at Boylesports and a further point if Skybet bite the bait.

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