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Stephen Maguire v Shaun Murphy: Prediction, Tips, Odds and Start Time

Shaun Murphy, crowned world champion as a qualifier in 2005 and a subsequent three-time runner-up, would love a return to the big time in Sheffield, and the draw has started to open up for him ahead of his clash with Stephen Maguire.

The Magician looked in excellent touch as he brushed aside Lyu Haotian 10-5 in the opening round and his reward for that victory is a last-16 duel with Maguire.

Maguire had Murphy’s measure at the Crucible two years ago, edging past him 10-8 in the first round, and the Scotsman has now triumphed in four of their last five head-to-head meetings.

The Glaswegian appeared to be at the peak of his powers in round one, as he reeled off breaks of 134 and 114 in a convincing 10-7 victory over ninth seed Ali Carter.

However, more may be required to overcome Murphy, who comes to life at the Crucible and will believe that he can go all the way.

Stephen Maguire v Shaun Murphy

Stephen Maguire v Shaun Murphy betting tips and predictions

Shaun Murphy - 2.5 frames on the handicap - 10/11

The signs coming into the World Championship were that Murphy was peaking towards a tilt at the title, and the early exits of reigning champion Luca Brecel and Mark Selby should have only enhanced his motivation levels.

Victory over Maguire would see him face David Gilbert or Robert Milkins in the quarter-final, while the elimination of Selby means fourth seed Mark Allen is the only man left in the top half of the draw who is higher-ranked than he is.

That should ensure Murphy is fully focused on the challenge ahead, and while his recent encounters with Maguire haven’t gone to plan, he is fancied to come through this best-of-25 meeting a shade comfortably.

Despite losing to Ding Junhui in the last 16 of the World Open, his final appearance before the Crucible, Murphy looked razor sharp in a high-quality contest.

The Magician suffered a 5-3 defeat despite registering breaks of 121, 101 and 86, and prior to that, he had toppled Xu Si and Joe Perry, whom he recorded three more centuries against.

That was a month ago, too, and on the evidence of his opening-round scalp of Lyu he has been putting in all the hard graft.

Murphy eased to a 10-5 success, posting eight breaks of 50-plus, and he should get plenty of scoring opportunities against a player with Maguire’s style.

Like Murphy, the Scotsman wants to be involved in an attacking game that is littered with big breaks, but that may only play to his opponent’s strengths.

This season for the Magician has been underwhelming, but it feels pretty consistent with the 2021 campaign, when he finished runner-up to Selby, losing 18-15 despite barely going deep in any other tournament that campaign.

So it could be worth siding with Murphy to win by at least three frames, given the way in which he has scored in his recent matches.

Over 3.5 centuries - 4/5 

Given this is a best-of-25 encounter and should comfortably feature the minimum of 20 frames, odds of 4/5 about there being four or more centuries make great appeal.

Maguire had two centuries in his first-round 10-7 win over Carter, while his qualifying victories over Ashley Hugill and Yuan Sijun featured another five tons combined.

That shows him to be scoring exceptionally well when given the chance, while the same can be said for Murphy following his breaks of 111, 90, 81 and 71 against Lyu.

Both players excel at break-building - Murphy had eight breaks over 50 against Lyu while Maguire had seven against Carter - so there should be a hatful of centuries chances in a contest unlikely to feature too many safety battles.

The deeper the contest goes, the more likely it becomes, and while the longest contests these two have competed over have been best-of-19 affairs, both of those featured at least 18 frames, showing this should be topsy-turvy.

Read more snooker betting tips and predictions on site

Stephen Maguire v Shaun Murphy odds

Stephen Maguire - 13/8
Shaun Murphy - 1/2

View the full market and more odds for Stephen Maguire v Shaun Murphy on site

Stephen Maguire v Shaun Murphy start time

This last-16 encounter will be played over three sessions and the first session will get underway at 14:30 on Friday 26th April.

The contest will resume with the second session at 10:00 on Saturday 27th April and will conclude with the final session at 10:00 on Sunday 28th April.

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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