Situation Suits Whitewash Win

  • By: Jeff Anderson
  • Last Updated: November 14 2012, 11:10 GMT

Higgins: Should be in relaxed mood to face Ebdon

1pt double Neil Robertson to beat Ding Junhui and John Higgins to beat Peter Ebdon at 3.55/1 (Betfred).

0.5pt John Higgins to beat Peter Ebdon 6-0 at 16/1 (William Hill).

0.25pt John Higgins to make a maximum against Peter Ebdon at 100/1 (Paddy Power).

0.25pt Peter Ebdon to make a maximum against John Higgins at 125/1 (Paddy Power).

Premier League Snooker visits Spennymoor in County Durham on Thursday where the final group matches see Neil Robertson take on Ding Junhui and John Higgins up against Peter Ebdon.

The opening game is crucial for both players as they are joint second on points in Group One and there is only one place in the last four still up for grabs. In the event of a draw, Ding will progress because he has won more frames in the league section so Robertson needs to win.

The Aussie has impressed recently. Although whitewashed by Stuart Bingham last time out in the league, in his previous two matches he had decent wins against Shaun Murphy who impressed and Mark Selby - although the Leicester player has been extremely disappointing in the event this year.

Ding has blown hot and cold throughout Premier League Snooker. He did make the final in 2011 but finished bottom of the group in 2010.

It's hard to call and likely to be a tense affair with a lot of safety and a few misses but we'll side with the Aussie at 13/8 (Betfred, totesport), simply because when it comes to the crunch he seems more hungry than his Chinese opponent.

At first glance the second match of the night does look a bit tricky too because Higgins has already qualified for the semi-finals and Ebdon cannot make the last four.

On debut here this year Ebdon started off well against Stephen Lee although all results involving Lee have been cancelled because of his suspension. Ebdon played well in patches when losing 4-2 to both Mark Allen and Judd Trump. In fact he should have gone 2-0 up at the start of his match against Trump but for missing an absolute sitter.

Currently on nil points at the bottom of the league and without the intensity of anything at stake then it's difficult to see him producing his best here. Still it's a £1,000 per frame and for each century break so let's hope he can make it a spectacle.

Higgins usually needs to apply maximum effort to perform at his best but because he is able to relax here against an opponent with not much to play for he could win heavily.

We'll double Higgins up with Robertson which pays just over 7/2 and have a small punt on a 6-0 whitewash for Higgins at 16/1.

Also there is a £25,000 prize on offer should a player make a maximum break and this is the ideal opportunity.

It is true that there hasn't been one made under shot-clock rules but on these one-night tables with pockets that sometimes really slide then it makes the tables play easier and both players will have one eye on a 147.

We can expect to see some attacking safety play and both players sometimes opting for a more intricate positional shot to stay on the black.

Shaun Murphy was in a similar position last week where he couldn't qualify and he had two opportunities for a maximum. Higgins definitely has pedigree in this area having made six in ranking tournaments, the most recent of which was in the final of the Shanghai Masters in September when he defeated Judd Trump.

Paddy Power go 40/1 for a 147 in the match. But they have priced the players seperately too with Higgins at 100/1 and Ebdon at 125/1 which is better value because if you back both players to half the stake it pays a shade over 56/1 so a small punt on each for a maximum is recommended.

  • The action is being televised live in the UK on Sky Sports.

  • Preview posted at 1105 GMT on 14/11/2012.