WE asked Ed Acteson (@EdActeson) for his best bets from the World Snooker Championship 1st Round. He gave us this.
Marco Fu v Peter Ebdon | Saturday 10:00 | BBC
Oh Peter Ebdon, the hours I have wasted watching you play. From a casual perspective, Ebdon’s brand of slow, cautious snooker is about as entertaining as an evening spent listening to Michael Owen discuss different wallpaper samples. I have no doubt that the manner in which he plays is a deliberate ploy to unsettle quicker opponents and unfortunately it is often effective.
The wily veteran knows every trick in the book to grind out frames, including taking an absurd amount of comfort breaks during matches and if I am going to be forced to endure his tedium, there might as well be a financial incentive.
The pair last met in this tournament in 2006, when Ebdon defeated Fu 17-16 in the semi-final and I envisage a similarly close score this time. Fu is a very talented player but doesn’t possess the ruthless potting ability to punish Ebdon when he does make a mistake. As such I can see them trading frames fairly evenly with the loser getting at least the seven required for this bet to cop.
Mark Allen v Mitchell Mann | Tuesday 13:30 | BBC
24 year old Mitchell Mann makes his Crucible debut and I fear it could be a tough experience for the Englishman, who may have hoped for a kinder first round draw than Mark Allen.
In fairness to Mann, he actually defeated Allen two weeks ago in their only meeting at the China Open. This is a very different stage though, and one which overawes even seasoned players.
Mann has only played 25 matches as a professional and his two major appearances so far don’t make pretty reading, having crashed out of the UK Championship in the first round twice; 6-2 and 6-3 to Ken Doherty and Robbie Williams respectively.
Neither are close to Mark Allen’s level and I fancy him to beat the -5.5 handicap which has been generously priced at 13/8 by William Hill but is as short as Evens elsewhere. In a race to 10, Mann would need to reach five frames for the bet to lose and unless Allen is well off his game, I can’t see it happening.
Martin Gould v Ding Junhui | Wednesday 09:00 | BBC
A price based on reputation rather than common sense. Ding was once regarded as the future of the sport having taken the UK Championship as a 19-year-old and as recently as 2013/14, winning five tournaments in a single season. His decline since those heady days is a mystery and he was forced to qualify for this tournament, having dropped out of the top 16.
Gould on the other hand has enjoyed the season of his life. He won his first ranking title at the German Masters, reached the final of the Australian Open and the quarter-finals of the UK Championship.
Odds of 2/1 imply that Gould has a 33% chance of victory here, yet their head to head is level at three games each. Further to this, on current form Gould is the superior player and I’ll happily back him here.
Marco Fu v Peter Ebdon – Over 16.5 Frames (23/20 Sportingbet)
Mark Allen v Mitchell Mann – Mark Allen -5.5 Frames (13/8 William Hill)
Martin Gould v Ding Junhui – Martin Gould to win (2/1 Boylesports)
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