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Rested Rocket should slay Selby in World Snooker final

Defending World Snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has five global crowns to his name, while his opponent in this year’s final Mark Selby is missing the richest prize in the sport from his CV.

‘The Jester from Leicester’ is the world number three, but that ranking will likely prove false here. Selby, who was a beaten finalist at the Crucible in 2007, is the 5/2 outsider to end his Sheffield hoodoo by taking the title.

Punters will hardly be surprised to learn that the Rocket is a heavy odds-on favourite for a third straight and sixth overall World crown at 1/3. He simply destroyed semi-final opponent Barry Hawkins, triumphing 17-7 and with a session to spare.

It is this extra rest which justifies the status O’Sullivan enjoys as favourite. While he spent Saturday relaxing, Selby played out a 12-hour marathon with world number one Neil Robertson, eventually defeating ‘the Thunder from Down Under’ 17-15.

That second semi was cautious and cagey at times, though did not lack for quality from both players, in stark contrast to the Rocket’s rampant one-sided displays. Not even a hundred competitive century breaks in a season could take Robertson through to tackle him, in what many were billing as a potential dream final.

Instead, punters have an all-England clash to look forward to as Leicester’s Selby faces Leighton Buzzard native O’Sullivan. Coral have opened a number of special markets for the showpiece of the 17-day Sheffield event too.

Odds of 10/1 say there will be a maximum 147 break made during the final. Punters simply have to consider this, because the Rocket made one in the winning frame of his Welsh Open victory over Ding Junhui just a few months ago.

It’s even-money that we will see over 5.5 century breaks made during the World final, with Selby a 5/4 shot to make more than 2.5 knocks of 100 and more on his own.

O’Sullivan, meanwhile, is odds-on in the race to four, eight, 12 and 16 frames markets. Given how gritty his opponent was against a strong potter like Robertson, however, the 8/1 price on the Crucible climax going to a decider is certainly tempting.