Confident Trump to Make Final
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2pt double Stuart Bingham to beat John Higgins and Judd Trump to beat Neil Robertson at 3.24/1 (Ladbrokes).
0.5pt Stuart Bingham to beat John Higgins 5-0 at 40/1 (Sky Bet, Ladbrokes).
Premier League Snooker concludes this weekend in Grimsby and the best of nine semi-finals see Stuart Bingham take on John Higgins and Judd Trump up against Neil Robertson.
Higgins has found a purple patch recently helped by his new cue although his record in this event has been relatively poor. He did make the final in 2007 but the format has never really suited him.
The Wizard of Wishaw needs slightly more time on his address to be ready to strike the white and this affects his rhythm around the table.
In ranking events though Higgins is back to his best having won PTC 4 in Gloucester two weeks ago and lost to Trump in the final of the Bulgarian Open last weekend.
To reach consecutive finals in very competitive big fields and in the current playing environment where the standard has never been higher illustrates how consistent Higgins is.
Bingham on the other hand has settled well into the league on debut this year and his naturally brisk pace has helped him not to dwell on mistakes and to look forward to his next shot.
He obviously likes the format and is still on a high in the event too - in his final group matches last month he whitewashed both Mark Selby and Neil Robertson on the same night and I reckon he is worth a punt here.
In a ranking event and on current form I'd go for Higgins all day long, but here the Scot has never remotely looked capable of producing his best under time pressure.
He has blown very hot and cold in the event this year and was especially fortunate to beat Mark Allen in his group match after a poor display in which Allen missed numerous chances to put Higgins away.
So we'll go with Bingham and have a small punt on him to complete another whitewash at 40/1 with Sky Bet and Ladbrokes.
When Bingham does get into his stride he can be difficult to stop - especially in an environment where an opponent can't really slow the pace of the match because of the 25 second shot-clock.
The semi-finals are best of nine so a player only has to win the first five frames for the whitewash rather than all six in the group matches, and at the price a small play looks worthwhile.
In the second match of the night it simply looks a question of how easily Trump will win.
His new world number one status and current form - including winning in style last weekend - seem to have given him a further boost and further encouragement to take pots on with his natural abandon.
This makes him very dangerous and his opponent Robertson has been steady in his group matches here without looking like a potential winner of the title.
The pockets on these one night tables do play big and we see pots hit at pace continually bounce in off one jaw because of the slide and this helps Trump because he takes on more shots.
As such, we'll double him up with Bingham which pays just over the 3/1 mark.