Ronnie looking for the half-dozen
Frank Monkhouse | 18 April 2017
World Championship snooker preview
The Snooker World Championship gets underway this weekend as two weeks of action decide this year’s winner at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Coral offer a range of markets on each and every match throughout the competition, and you can also predict your outright winner with us. Get in early to secure the best price.
Mark Selby arrives as defending champion, having beaten Ding Junhui in the final 12-months ago, thanks to a thrilling 18-14 final-score. The Jester from Leicester goes joint-second favourite in the betting to retain his crown, and Coral’s sports traders are giving followers of the 33-year-old a cool 4/1.
Selby a winner in two of the last three years
This will be Selby’s 13th appearance at this competition and he’s sure to attract plenty of attention in the betting ring as a two-time winner and one-time runner-up. He gets his title drive up and running with a tie against Fergal O’Brien, who is somewhat of a world-record breaker, although not for the best of reasons. O’Brien was involved in the longest frame ever recorded in the game – two hours, three minutes and 41 seconds – to get the better of David Gilbert, with the winner taken apart by the press post-match, the 45-year-old from Dublin accused of playing anti-snooker.
That adds extra spice to this match, but Selby isn’t expected to fall foul of those tactics, and we have him chalked up on the board as a 1/14 nailed-on favourite to get through with minimal fuss. A winner of the World Championship in two of the last three years, Mark Selby’s odds of 4/1 will prove popular.
Will Judd Trump the pack?
More likely to be the ace in Sheffield is Judd Trump, who starts as market leader with Coral, going as 3/1 favourite to bank the winner’s cheque. A player who has never won this title, his best effort being a runner-up finish from seven previous starts, he may not strike punters as the best man for the job.
Beaten by John Higgins in the final, courtesy of a 18-15 score, that near miss came way back in 2011, showing that the 27-year-old from Bristol has plenty of improving left in him if he is to finally get his hands on the gong. He let punters down in the recent China Open, scoring a 147 before going on to lose to little-known Iranian Hossein Vafaei, number 76 in the world at the time. There are too many questions marks hanging over The Juddernaught, and having tipped him in China, we’re happy to oppose him here. There are better 3/1 shots going around at the minute.
Ronnie looks good for six
Robot man Ronnie O’Sullivan is never far from the top of the market, and Rocket goes into this year’s renewal as a 4/1 second-favourite. He has been pretty poor since winning the Masters, and won few fans when bowing out of the China Open early, sinking in the second-round to Mark Joyce, world number 51, in a shocker.
O’Sullivan has spoken in the past of his dislike for playing in that part of the world and although he did put in a decent enough effort, all things considered, producing two century breaks during the match, he was never really in it, and never led the contest at any point, before going down 5-4. Back on home soil we are predicting much better from the bad boy of snooker.
Let’s not be too hasty in forgetting that O’Sullivan is a five-time winner of the world title, and a sixth would move him level with Steve Davis and Ray Reardon in the top performers chart, behind Stephen Hendry on seven. The fan’s favourite did the business in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013 and should get no trouble from debutant Gary Wilson in his first match this year. After settling in to the tournament, he will have every chance of going and winning it, at a decent price.