World Snooker Championship final: Ball Run Bingham battles Murphy

It took Stuart Bingham until 22:25 BST the night before the World Snooker Championship final takes place to book his spot in this year’s clash for the Crucible crown with 2005 winner Shaun Murphy.

The Essex cueman, nicknamed “Ball Run”, has relished underdog status to reach uncharted territory for the first time in his 20-year career on the baize, and he enjoys similar billing again at 2/1 with Coral to be world champion.

Odds were against Bingham beating Ronnie O’Sullivan, but he did 13-9 in the quarters, and again when tackling Judd Trump in the semis, yet he came through a deciding frame despite a fightback. He’s done remarkably well to even reach the final.

While punters count Ball Run out at their peril, there is no denying an epic 33-frame last four fixture with Trump will have taken its toll, and “the Magician” Murphy certainly reached this stage more easily by battering Barry Hawkins 17-9.

Murphy is odds-on at 2/5 to win the World Snooker Championship for the second time in his career, having done so a decade ago as a qualifier. The Northamptonshire native has enjoyed a magnificent second half of the season, finally ending his wait to complete the career triple crown in snooker when he lifted the Masters back in January.

Snooker - Betfred World Championship - Day Fourteen - Crucible Theatre

The Magician has often turned out before the Crucible crowd in a red and gold waistcoat throughout this year’s tournament (pictured above), and features in a 6/4 special to don this outfit again for the final.

A superior Crucible century breaks tally this term (11-6) and strong head-to-head advantage (10-2) over Bingham means Murphy is a worthy favourite, yet his path to the final saw him avoid facing any previous winner.

Ball Run has had to deal with gritty Glaswegian Graeme Dott (2006 champion) and the green baize geniuses that are five-time Crucible king Ronnie O’Sullivan and his heir apparent Trump, who once again choked in a big match that went the distance.

For this year’s final to go the distance (35 frames over four sessions), there is a 15/2 price, while it’s 25/1 that a maximum 147 break will be made. All of these novelty bets aside, Bingham is facing a real foe here that he has never beaten before in a big match situation, so we suggest you side with the Magician.

Punters who want to pile plenty on Murphy should combine his odds-on status both to lift the trophy and make the highest break into one brilliant bet at 5/4.