Hunting a third-successive Snooker World Championship title, all eyes and most of the money will be on the one and only Ronnie O’Sullivan yet again at the 2014 Crucible Theatre event.
The Rocket heads the tournament betting at 11/8 and unsurprisingly as a direct result of his presence in the first quarter of the draw, a winner to emanate from that segment is also on the short side at 11/10.
Two-time finalist and former world champion Shaun Murphy (14/1) looks to be Ronnie’s biggest obstacle to a semi-final berth from that quarter, though the fact the Essex Exocet has prevailed in all three previous meetings between the pair makes a last-four spot that much more attainable.
However, a couple of early exits since his unexpected UK quarter-final defeat to Stuart Bingham in December, have shown O’Sullivan will not be invincible when he takes to the Crucible cloths.
Next in the overall betting comes Chinese sensation Ding Junhui at 7/1, followed by reigning UK champion Neil Robertson, 8/1, recently defeated Masters finalist Mark Selby (9s) and 2011 World Championship finalist, Judd Trump at 10/1.
All of these guys are capable of beating Ronnie on the right day as they have done before, but rather than the lottery of guessing a possible Rocket-stopper, there’s plenty of appeal guessing another winning quarter.
Enter quarter number four, which is the only section of the draw to feature two of the aforementioned power players in Trump and Robertson, yet it’s 11/4 to produce the eventual trophy-hoister.
Both men have appeared in the Crucible grand finale previously, with Robertson having scooped the first part of his freshly completed Triple Crown by winning here in 2010, while Trump lost an epic encounter against John Higgins the following year.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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