First round underdogs make up tempting 28/1 Crucible treble
The first round of snooker’s World Championship has a habit of producing shocks.
No. 2 seed Mark Selby crashed out 10-3 to Barry Hawkins last year, whilst Neil Robertson – then the defending champion and top seed – lost to the then unheralded Judd Trump in 2011.
This time around, there are three players available at odds-against who will all fancy improving on their already impressive records against their favoured opponents in first round combat.
Mark Davis takes on four-time world champion John Higgins having beaten him on three of the last four occasions they’ve met, most famously in last year’s UK Championship despite Higgins pulling off a 147.
The 40-year-old Davis would have gained entry to The Crucible automatically as a member of the top 16, but he was forced into a qualifier due to defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan’s decision to return to the game. After beating Chinese player Liang Wenbo 10-6 to reach the first round, Davis is 3/1 to beat Higgins again.
Another underdog with more than a fighting chance is the 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon, who is 7/4 to beat his 2006 final conquerer Graeme Dott.
Despite that high-profile loss, Ebdon has beaten the similarly attritional Dott seven times in their 11 meetings and he’ll be confident of inflicting a second straight first round loss on the Scot, who suffered an embarrasing 10-1 defeat to Joe Perry at this stage last year.
Qualifier Michael Holt makes up the third leg of a treble which pays at just under 28/1, with the 34-year-old looking to light up his sixth Crucible appearance with a first round victory over Ricky Walden.
Priced at 13/8, Holt will be hoping for a fourth win in six career attempts against Walden, who has never escaped the first round on both of his World Championship appearances.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing