Situation suits whitewash win
Jeff Anderson has some big-priced picks for this week's action in Premier League Snooker.
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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, 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 and have a small punt on a 6-0 whitewash for Higgins.
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.