It’s been barely a week since Stephen Maguire edged out John Higgins in the last 16 of the Champion of Champions – his fourth straight win over his fellow countryman – yet the former is priced as the outsider in the pick of the third round ties.
While Higgins v Maguire is hardly the Nadal v Djokovic of snooker, the compatriots have clashed 10 times in big tournaments and this represents their fourth meeting at the UK Championships alone.
Although Higgins holds three UK titles to Maguire’s one, their head-to-head at the UK’s favours Maguire and the Livewire has defeated the Wizard of Wishaw the last four times consecutively.
Therefore punters may well wish to take up Ladbrokes on their generous-looking offering of 11/10 that Maguire advances at the expense of 4/6-shot Higgins once again.
In fact, the last time they met at these championships was in 2011 in the last 16, when Maguire triumphed 6-4, to send the then defending champion crashing out.
That match also represented the first of Maguire’s four-match winning streak over the four-time world champion, which was extended firstly at the 2012 German Masters, then the Rotterdam Open in July this year and crucially, continued at the Champion of Champions just a week ago.
Whereas the current world number eight won easily in the previous two (5-0, 4-1), the 4-3 at the Ricoh Arena just over a week previous, suggested Higgins has made ground on his rival since the summer.
This suggests punters can probably expect a close affair once more at the Barbican Centre in York, where 1/1 on over nine frames being contested looks another bet worthy of potting.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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