Ronnie O’Sullivan returns to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield on Saturday morning, looking to win his third World Championship title on the trot.
Ronnie O’Sullivan Outright Favourite
‘The Rocket’ ripped the field apart 12 months ago after taking almost a year out of the game, to lift his fourth world crown.
This year he’s played in a few more tournaments and tasted success in both the inaugural Champion of Champions event in November and the prestigious Masters in January, which is why he’s priced as big favourite with the bookie sin the outright odds.
Sportingbet currently offer the best odds on O’Sullivan taking his fifth world title at 7/5 and if he plays anything like he did last year, then I can’t see past him.
World Championship Outrights
With O’Sullivan being such a big favourite, there are some very competitive odds on the remainder of the field.
Ding Junhui has undoubtedly been the player of the season, winning five ranking titles, matching Stephen Hendry’s record which was set in the early 90s.
Most recently scooping the China Open at the start of the month, Ding hasn’t always shown his best at the Crucible, with just one semi-final and one quarter-final appearance to his name, the latter happening last year.
He is in O’Sullivan’s half of the draw, meaning they will meet in the semis if they both get that far. Ladbrokes offer the best price on him becoming the first Chinese world champion at 8/1.
World number one Neil Robertson has had another strong season, with his best performances coming at the Wuxi Classic and UK Championship as he won both.
The Australian crashed out in the first round last year as he was beaten by Robert Milkins but surely he’ll have a stronger run this year. William Hill price him at 10/1 to win the title.
Mark Selby has had a so far fruitless season with runs to the finals of the UK Championship and China Open being his stand-outs in the ranking events. Can he go one further in Sheffield and finally claim his first world title? He’s available at 12/1 with Ladbrokes.
Judd Trump reached the semi-finals of the Worlds last season, bowing out to O’Sullivan but has also had a disappointing season, with a German Masters final appearance his highlight in the ranking events. He’s also available at 12/1 in the outrights with Ladbrokes.
Four time World Champion John Higgins is well priced at 20/1, also with Ladbrokes, whilst 2005 champion Shaun Murphy is available at 22/1 with Bet 365. This is very good value considering the kind of form the Sale-based cueman has been in in the second half of this season.
World Championship Match Odds
O’Sullivan kicks his title defence off against Finnish qualifier Robin Hull on Saturday morning. It’s Hull’s first season back on the tour but has played well, beating 2002 World Champion Peter Ebdon to qualify for the main event.
One potential upset I can see from the first round games is Xiao Guodong v Ali Carter, whose first session starts at 7pm on Saturday evening.
This is Xiao’s Crucible debut but he has proved to be a dangerous player and if he’s able to cope with the surroundings a 6/4 offer from Paddy Power provides good value. Carter is 8/13 favourite with Coral.
Don’t forget, new customers can claim free bets with Ladbrokes if you follow the link from our website.
Live coverage of the World Championships is available on BBC Two/BBC Red Button and British Eurosport 1 and 2.