Snooker World Championship Preview : The champ looks great value
Event Venue: The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, Starts 21 April. Live on BBC.See Stats
Snooker fans everywhere will be focussed on Sheffield, England this month when the World Championship begins at the world famous Crucible Theatre.
You know full well that there will be one men they are looking forward to seeing more than anyone and that is the Rocket, Ronnie O’Sullivan.
The five-time world champion first won at the Crucible way back in 2001 and last lifted the trophy in 2013. However, that second statement is the key one going into this tournament. The Rocket has gone four years of competition in South Yorkshire without claiming victory. He has not managed to reach the final in any of the last three editions.
With this in mind it is a little surprising that O’Sullivan is not only the favourite for the event, but the clear favourite. The Essex superstar is a best price of just 23/10 with Bet Stars, with his nearest rival dragging behind at 4/1 with a number of other bookmakers.
It is that that second favourite that we should be looking at when we are taking our money out of our pockets. That is because that man is the reigning champion, in fact, he has won the last two editions of the World Championship and three of the last four. Four years ago was this man’s first world title, when he beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final.
That man is Mark Selby and he should be backed to win the World Championship for a fourth time this season.
The Jester from Leicester has turned the Crucible into his home in the last few years and looks completely comfortable on the biggest stage in the sport, when he hadn’t quite done before. He first reached the final back in 2007 but it took him seven years to get his hands on the trophy, experience he is now putting to good use.
Selby has actually had a slightly odd season, winning three events, two of which came back-to-back in October, and then he had a dry spell. However, this has come to an end at an ideal time as the man referred to as The Torturer claimed the China Open at the start of April.
The world champ beat the likes of Mark Williams and Kyren Wilson en route to hammering Barry Hawkins in the final and he will be full of confidence heading to Sheffield.
The Jester and the Rocket are on separate halves of the draw and fans everywhere will be hoping for that dream final once again, but we have seen it before and we saw what happened. Selby has the edge over O’Sullivan at the Crucible these days and should really be considered the favourite.
It was Selby who triumphed last time they met, which was in the final of the UK Championship in 2016. No one quite has O'Sullivan's number, but Selby has a very good idea of it.
First Round Draw
Mark Selby v Joe Perry
Mark Allen v Liam Highfield
Kyren Wilson v Matthew Stevens
Shaun Murphy v Jamie Jones
John Higgins v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Stuart Bingham v Jack Lisowski
Luca Brecel v Ricky Walden
Judd Trump v Chris Wakelin
Ding Junhui v Xiao Guodong
Anthony McGill v Ryan Day
Marco Fu v Lyu Haotian
Barry Hawkins v Stuart Carrington
Mark Williams v Jimmy Robertson
Neil Robertson v Robert Milkins
Ali Carter v Graeme Dott
Ronnie O'Sullivan v Stephen Maguire
The reigning champion who has three wins from the last four is far too good to turn down as second favourite.
There are seven former world champions in the 16 seeds for the World Championship – O’Sullivan, Selby, Williams, Robertson, Bingham, Higgins and Murphy.
O’Sullivan has won 5 rankings tournaments this season – 3 more than anyone else
Shaun Murphy has reached 4 ranking finals this season and won none
11 men have won a ranking event this season
Mark Selby is the first seed, going into the tournament with over 700,000 ranking points more than O’Sullivan in second
Today's Main Tip
Liverpool and Roma to draw in the Champions League at 13/4 with Ladbrokes.
Betfair have enhanced for the Champions League match between Liverpool and Roma.
William Hill have enhanced odds for the Champions League match between Liverpool and Roma.
888Sport have an offer related to the Champions League match between Liverpool and Roma.
Betfair have enhanced odds for the Champions League match between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
888Sport are offering a free bet related to Premier League matches.
888Sport have an offer related to the Europa League match between Arsenal and Atletico Madrid.
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