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Mark Allen v Zhang Anda: Tips, predictions and odds

Mark Allen will be seeking the 11th ranking title of his career when he takes on this season's most-improved player, Zhang Anda, in the final of the Players Championship on Sunday.

It has been another impressive week for world number three Allen, who overcame Ali Carter 6-3 in the semi-finals and he is 4/7 to get the better of Zhang at the Telford International Centre.

Zhang, an 11/8 shot to win the title, booked his place in the final late on Saturday night, as the clock had almost struck midnight by the time he got past Mark Selby, as he eventually prevailed 6-5 to reach only the third ranking final of his career.

All of this week's matches at the Players Championship have been contested over a best-of-11-frame format, but the final will be best-of-19 and played over two sessions, something that may favour the more experienced Allen.


Mark Allen v Zhang Anda betting tips and predictions

Mark Allen -2.5 handicap - 6/5

After winning three ranking titles last season, things have been a little bit more up and down for Northern Irishman Allen this time around with several early exits, including a first-round defeat when defending the UK Championship at the end of November.

However, Pistol has still lifted a ranking title at the Shoot Out during 2023/24, while he has also won the Champion of Champions for the second time in his career and reached the semi-finals of the Masters at the start of the year.

Another title could now be on the cards for Allen, who turned 38 earlier this week and who has seen off Mark Williams, the in-form Gary Wilson and Carter en route to the final.

All of those victories have been achieved by at least a two-frame margin and over this extended 19-frame format for the final, Allen can claim glory by an even bigger margin.

Allen should certainly be the more refreshed of the two players heading into the final, as he contested his semi-final on Friday evening, while Zhang was pushed all the way by Selby the following night.

It looked like Zhang was easing into the final as he led Selby 4-0, but the Jester from Leicester staged a comeback in Telford before Mighty Mouse eventually got over the line.

Those exertions may well have taken a lot out of Zhang, who is into his third ranking final, all of which have come this season, as he was beaten by Judd Trump in October's English Open showpiece before landing the biggest title of his career at the International Championship the following month.

The 32-year-old had been having something of a nomadic career before this season, but he is now up to a best-ever position of number 13 in the world rankings and has taken some notable scalps, including seeing off Allen in their most recent meeting at last month's World Grand Prix.

However, that victory was achieved over a best-of-seven-frame format and Zhang has far less experience then Allen when it comes to playing longer matches over multiple sessions.

That, coupled with the quick turnaround Zhang faces following his semi-final efforts, would suggest that Allen should have enough in the tank to win this one with something to spare.  The man from Antrim is 6/5 to prevail with a -2.5 handicap.

Over 3.5 match centuries - 1/1

These two players have showcased their break-building ability in Telford this week, with only one player having recorded more centuries than Zhang's total of three at the event and that is Allen with four.

Allen also holds this week's highest break, recording a 146 in his first-round victory over Williams, one of three centuries he recorded in that match alone.

Zhang has produced a century knock in each of his three matches this week against Noppon Saengkham, John Higgins and Selby.

His knock of 129 against Selby was particularly impressive, as was his break of 50 in the final frame of that contest, which although not a century, underlined his ability to break build under pressure.

Given Sunday's final will be contested over an extended format compared to the rest of the week, it would be no surprise to see at least four century knocks shared between these two in-form players.

Read more snooker betting tips and predictions on site.

Mark Allen v Zhang Anda odds

As the more experienced player that has also enjoyed more preparation time for this final, it is no surprise that Allen has been installed as the 4/7 favourite to lift this title, with Zhang considered the outsider at 11/8.

In the Match Handicap market, it is 4/5 for Allen to win with a -1.5 handicap, while Zhang is 10/11 with a +1.5 advantage.

There has been plenty of drama throughout the week in Telford and those fancying this match to go the distance and feature a deciding frame can get odds of 7/2.

However, it is worth noting that since the tournament was rebranded as the Players Championship in 2017, the final has never been decided in such a manner.

View the full market and more odds for Mark Allen v Zhang Anda on site.

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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