In a repeat of the 2013 final one of this year’s semis sees Ronnie O’Sullivan take on Barry Hawkins, the man Rocket beat to claim a fifth World Championship crown and has defeated in all five previous meetings.
And given the way that Ronnie set up this last-four clash by annihilating former world champ Shaun Murphy 13-3, it’s no great surprise to see him installed as the heavy 1/8 favourite, leaving Hawkins as the 5/1 outsider.
While we fully expect O’Sullivan to book a date in a third successive Crucible showpiece, for those punters not overly enamoured with these odds, we’ve plucked a few more profitable-looking bets to choose from.
Given the way Ronnie swept aside Murphy by a whopping 10-frame margin, he should be able to win this contest by 17-10 at the least.
It was a six-frame gap which saw O’Sullivan overcome Hawkins in last year’s finale, and in their latest meeting at the Welsh Open in March, the Essex-Exocet ran out a convincing 6-2 winner.
The Hawk has not reached a second consecutive semi-final through fluke, though he had do it the hard way having led 11-5 to trail 12-11, before finally stopping the rot by taking the final two frames to win 13-12 over Dominic Dale.
One consistent feature of his three Crucible matches to reach this point has been a single century break in each.
Although the Rocket took Murphy to the cleaners and dropped him home afterwards, the boosters have taken a while to reach full temperature in the last two matches.
He’s twice been behind after frame one, while the Hawk has taken the initiative in his last two Crucible bouts.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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