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2016 World Snooker Championship day three: Higgins and Selby can Milk a Crucible field Day

Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | April 17, 2016

2016 World Snooker Championship

  • World Snooker Championship last 32
  • Monday, April 18th
  • First break-off: 10:00 BST
  • Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
  • Live on BBC Two

Former champs bid to regain Crucible crown

Snooker - 2014 Dafabet Masters - Day Five - Alexandra Palace

While the 2016 World Snooker Championship has already seen Stuart Bingham, reigning king of the Crucible, dethroned and third seed Shaun Murphy follow suit, there are other ex-winners of the green baize’s biggest prize still to take centre stage in Sheffield.

On Monday, the Wizard of Wishaw and four-time world champ John Higgins, a 16/1 shot with Coral to climb this mountain again, and 2014 victor Mark Selby, still rated best player on the planet but a 10/1 chance to repeat lifting the trophy here, are in action.

Scottish potter Higgins is paired with Welsh counterpart Ryan Day, while the Jester from Leicester starts his Crucible campaign off against Robert Milkins. Other last 32 matches, including outright favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan’s opener and two fellow former champions Graeme Dott and Mark Williams facing off, will also be played to a finish.

Wizard can overcome poor recent record with longer Day

Betway UK Snooker Championship - Day Ten - York Barbican

Although he’s an odds-on 2/5 match favourite to defeat Day, Higgins has lost all of the last four meetings. That would appear to make Welsh cueman Day a tasty 2/1 price to stop the Wizard’s magic in the Steel City, but all those recent victories have been in short frame formats.

Higgins has won in all but one of the encounters where it’s best of 11 or more, including a Crucible victory at this stage in 2004. That went to a decider, though, and seasoned pro Day is not an opponent the Scot should take lightly.

Awesome odds of 11/2 say this will go the distance and into a deciding frame again, while a repeat 10-9 scoreline in Higgins’ favour rewards punters with a terrific 10/1. The Wizard should use his cue to cut an easy path to at least quarter-finals or beyond.

Milkman may be made a joke of by Jester

Dafabet Masters 2016 - Day Five - Alexandra Palace

Selby and Milkins have also met at the World Snooker Championship before in 2006, and the number one potter on the globe got a comfortable 10-4 victory a decade ago. The Jester has won all but two of his nine career battles with the Milkman, and those losses came at minor ranking events.

Nothing has changed in the fortunes of either player since to suggest a different outcome. Selby, who you can expect to see make similarly plain sailing of Higgins by reaching the business end of this tournament, starts as a strong odds-on 1/6 match favourite.

Milkins, meanwhile, is a massive outsider at 4/1. This looks like being one of those occasions where the handicap market provides punters with a more worthy investment. Set at 4.5 frames, Selby needs to win 10-5 or even more convincingly in order for us to pay out on the 10/11 price.

Related

You’ll find day by day coverage of the 2016 World Snooker Championship over on our dedicated page.

Coral’s top tip: Top snooker star Selby is a superb shout at 10/11 to cover the handicap by beating Milkins with 4.5 frames to spare.

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