It’s a case of S&M and more S&M at the Alexandra Palace on Friday when Shaun Murphy hopes to give Stephen Maguire a whipping.
This is a second round match of the Dafabet Masters Snooker tournament and it’s in the favoured bottom half of the draw meaning a potential clash with ante-post favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan cannot happen until the final.
Both men claimed some fair scalps in winning their opening round match. Murphy accounted for current World Champion Mark Selby in a final frame shootout while Maguire saw off Judd Trump by six frames to four.
On paper there is little between this pair. 32-year-old Murphy is currently world ranked No. 11, Maguire is ranked No. 12. In the last major competition (the UK Championship) Murphy made it to the fourth round, where he succumbed to Marco Fu, but Maguire proceeded to the semis beating Marco Fu in the Quarters. It’s one line of form which means Murphy is the bet, if you had to have one, in the win market.
In head to heads the scales are almost evenly balanced. In 21 confrontations Murphy just has the edge with 11 wins. In that time they have played 161 frames of which Murphy has won 83 and Maguire 78.
It smacks of a very, very tight match which will, like four of the five matches played in the competition so far, conclude with a 6-5 or 6-4 score-line. That’s the play. It will involve placing four bets but it is not really a messy exercise as SportingBet are going best price about all of those outcomes.
Combined the four correct results can be backed at even-money (roughly a tenner on each outcome returns £80 if one is successful) and that looks like one of the best bets seen in the competition so far.
Shaun Murphy to win 6 Frames to 5 7/1 & 6 Frames to 4 13/2
Stephen Maguire to win 6 Frames to 5 15/2 & 6 Frames to 4 7/1 (available with Sportingbet)