For two weeks in the spring, a small theatre in Sheffield becomes the focus of attention for one of the highlights of the UK’s sporting calendar. The World Snooker Championship attracts the world’s best to the Crucible and the 78th World Championship promises to be another brilliant tournament.
Keep reading for our World Championship snooker betting preview
As far as the bookies are concerned this year’s World Championship looks as if it could be a four horse race.
As ever, the favourite is the supremely talented Ronnie O’Sullivan. The five-time world champion has reached the last three Crucible finals and is the current UK champion after a nailbiting win over Judd Trump in the winter.
On his day O’Sullivan can beat anyone in the world and, as the number two seed, he looks to be in the slightly more favourable half of the draw. The Rocket is certainly the man to beat at 9/4.
The man who beat him in last year’s final is the top seed this year and Mark Selby looks terrifically priced at 7/1 to pick up back-to-back titles.
After winning the German Masters in February, Selby was in excellent form at the recent China Open, eventually winning the tournament with a comfortable 10-2 win over Gary Wilson in the final. He’ll be delighted that he is in the opposing side of the draw to Barry Hawkins who beat him in 2012 and 2013 and I think the man from Leicester offers superb value.
Neil Robertson is a former world champion and on his best form can be a challenger. The Australian showed what he was capable of when he thrashed Ali Carter and Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-1 on the way to the Masters final but will need to be more consistent if he is going to win his second world title at 6/1.
Could 2015 be the year that Judd Trump finally breaks through? The 25 year old’s performance in the UK Championship final led Ronnie O’Sullivan to claim that it was the hardest match of his career and Trump has a good record at the Crucible.
He reached the final in 2011, the semi-final in 2013 and the quarter final last year and could certainly reach the latter stages again at 11/2.
Ding Jinhui is due a decent world championship and will tempt many each-way punters at 16/1. However, the number three seed has lost in the opening round while seeded in two of the last three seasons, going down to the unfancied Michael Wasley in 2014 in a deciding frame.
Jinhui did reach the semi-final stage in 2011 although this year he faces world umber 18 Mark Davis in round one before potentially tricky matches against John Higgins and Judd Trump.
Another man who could make a big impact on the tournament at long odds is Barry Hawkins. The number five seed reached the final in 2013 and the semi-final last year and after a poor run he looked back to something approaching his best form on his way to the recent China Open quarter final.
Hawkins is the number five seed which places him in the easier top half of the draw. He will have to play well to reach the final stages but he is a very big price at 40/1.
Ricky Walden has won a ranking tournament this season, reached the semi-finals at the Crucible a couple of years ago and could be one to watch at 66/1, although he faces a tough test in round one against former world champion Graeme Dott. Joe Perry has only got past the second round at the World Championships twice in twelve attempts but won the recent Players’ Championship and could also be a lively outsider at 66/1.
It’s one of the highlights of the spring sporting calendar and the 76th World Snooker Championship once again returns to the Crucible Theatre this year. It is an intriguing field with seven debutants, seven former champions and the return of a man who hasn’t graced the Crucible since 2006.
It’s that time of year again when 32 of the world’s leading snooker players head to Sheffield for the World Snooker Championships. With no one individual dominating the sport it’s as open a field as the Crucible has seen in recent years.
Can the number one seed and reigning champion John Higgins retain his title? Or will a new name be added to the Crucible hall of fame?
With a brand new venue and no Stephen Hendry for the first time in 22 years, this year’s Snooker Masters promises to be an intriguing and open contest.
Even though no ranking points are at stake, the prestige and the prize money on offer – last year’s winner Ding Junhui pocketed £150,000 – will see 16 of the world’s best at Alexandra Palace this January.
There’s been plenty of excitement in the first week of the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible with three of the matches going the full distance and the surprise first round elimination of the reigning champion.
There was always the potential for a giant killing in the opening match with the 2010 champion Neil Robertson facing the in-form Judd Trump. Trump emerged the 10-8 victor and has been cut to 11/1 to win the title; odds which will surely fall again should he beat Marco Fu’s conqueror, Martin Gould in round two.
The fortnight of top quality Crucible snooker action is one of the highlights of the UK’s sporting calendar. And, after Aussie Neil Robertson’s win in 2010, it is now truly a global event.
However, 29 of this year’s 32 Crucible qualifiers are from the UK and it promises to be as intriguing a tournament as we have seen in a long time.
Regards as one of the most prestigious events on the snooker calendar, The Masters gets underway at the Wembley Arena next week with the defending champion Mark Selby (7/1) looking to reach his fourth Masters final in as many years. Another player with a sensational record in The Masters is the worlds greatest ever snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan (7/2). The ‘Rocket’ is a four-time winner of the event and a beaten finalist on five occasions.