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Maguire leads our trio of World Snooker Championships outsiders

| 16.04.2015

He may be the king of the baize, with five world titles to his name and three straight appearances in the final at the Crucible, but Ronnie O’Sullivan is a man that is constantly under-priced.

There’s no denying that the Rocket is one of the best ever, but at 5/2 to claim this year’s top accolade in Sheffield, with snooker more than capable of throwing up a surprise or two, he’s far too short.

With the qualifying stages coming to an end, we will soon have an idea of the final 32, but in the meantime we have picked a trio who could well out-cue their hefty odds.

Shaun Murphy (10/1)

OK, it may not be a huge price, but getting double figure odds on a former champion and a man who consistently delivers in this tournament is too good to pass up.

The Magician has navigated his way to the quarter finals in seven of the last 10 renewals, and will surely give backers a run for their money in 2015.

Having already claimed the Masters this season, more top prizes are sure to be on the Harlow man’s agenda.

With two other wins on the European Tour and a final appearance in the German Masters, he comes here bang in form and is set for another bold show.

Stephen Maguire (33/1)

Maguire suggested that he might need to see a sports psychologist after admitting he was playing under a cloud in December, but did seem to find a spark from somewhere after that.

He reached the semi-finals of the UK Championship, before winning the inaugural Portuguese Open and putting in some solid performances in the German Masters and the Welsh Open.

Twice a semi-finalist in the Worlds, he is capable of giving backers a run for their money having shown some sparks of life in the second half of the 2014-15 campaign.

Barry Hawkins (40/1)

Forget the fact that ‘The Hawk’ has shown little this campaign, because when it comes to the Crucible he is a very different animal.

He reached the last four in 2013, before finding only Ronnie O’Sullivan too good last year, so the natural progression would be for him to be crowned World Champion, right?

On the other side of the draw to the defending champ, the world number five could go on a run to set up a repeat final in May.

He stepped up his form somewhat last time out to reach the quarter finals of the China Open, having failed to make it past the first round in the three previous tournaments, and is set to peak at just the right time.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.