This year’s World Snooker Championship at the Crucible is the most wide open in years with five men sharing 6/1 favouritism for glory in Sheffield.
Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Judd Trump, John Higgins and returning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan are all inseparable at the head of the betting.
Following his self-imposed exile from the sport, Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Crucible participation has, naturally, captured most of the pre-tournament headlines.
The Essex Exocet has barely picked up a cue in anger since winning this tournament in 2012 and, although sure to be relaxed with batteries fully charged, the lack of competitive action can hardly be viewed as ideal preparation.
There is no doubting O’Sullivan’s extraordinary talent, he is the greatest player of his generation, but there is no substitute for match practice in any sport and, at this highest level, surely he will be found wanting despite recent tutelage from esteemed mentor Jimmy White.
Three-time Masters hero, Mark Selby has established himself as world number one in The Rocket’s absence and, solid and consistent, could be the man to cash in on the defending champs anticipated rustiness.
Neil Robertson was the man Selby beat in this year’s Masters decider, the Aussie has since reached the valuable PTC final, and made the last four in the German Masters and World Open.
Judd Trump is the rising star of the green baize, the youngster made the Crucible final in 2011 and since the turn of the year has reached the quarter-finals of the Masters and semi-finals of the Welsh Open.
John Higgins knows how to handle the extreme pressure at the Crucible, having won the tournament four times, and a recent semi-final appearance at the World Open revealed the Wizard of Wishaw’s current good touch.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing