All eyes on Ronnie, but snooker champion may lie elsewhere
With the Snooker World Championships fast approaching, most of the pre-tournament talk is about Ronnie O’Sullivan’s return to the game after a year out.
It speaks volumes for the Rocket’s talent that he goes straight in as joint pre-Championship favourite at 6/1.
But while he may return fresher than his rivals after his break, that could also bring about a lack of match-play sharpness in the toughest tournament of the year, in the most intimidating venue on the calendar.
O’Sullivan is joined as favourite by Judd Trump, Mark Selby and Neil Robertson.
Selby arrives in Sheffield after a strong campaign, boasting victories in the UK Championship and the Masters in recent months.
The Jester from Leicester also reached the final of the China Open in March, losing out to Robertson, but Selby has never been in a stronger position to claim that first world crown.
Only the best win at the Crucible, and John Higgins will be seeking a fifth World Championship win in 2013.
The Scot has endured a far from stellar season, winning just two events and none since November, but he often comes into his own in Sheffield.
The longer game suits his consistency and his mental strength is one of his biggest assets, making a price of 8/1 for that fifth title more than alluring.
Recent history shows that Higgins has won this tournament every other year since 2007, and as he didn’t win last year, he’ll be keen to continue the trend.
Those looking for a bigger price should back Stephen Maguire at 16/1.
The Scotsman won the Welsh Open in February before pushing Robertson hard in the China Open semi-finals last month, eventually going out 5-6, and is arguably playing some of his finest snooker.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing