World Snooker Championship Tips: Can Ronnie O’Sullivan Defend His Crown?
World Snooker Championship Predictions:
- Ronnie O’Sullivan To Win - 4/1 With William Hill
- Mark Selby To Win - 6/1 With Bet365
- Neil Robertson To Win (Each-Way) - 15/2 With Unibet
- Ding Junhui To Win (Each-Way) - 20/1 With 888sport
Reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is the favourite to defend his crown when the World Snooker Championship gets underway at the Crucible this week.
Betting sites are offering 4/1 on the Rocket becoming the first player in the modern era to win eight world titles.
Last year, he moved level with the great Stephen Hendry on seven titles apiece after beating Judd Trump 18-13 in the final.
That made O’Sullivan the oldest world champion in history, and the 47-year-old will now aim to move clear of Hendry in the all-time stakes.
However, he faces fierce competition from several former world champions, including Trump, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy.
It promises to be an entertaining tournament at a time when clouds of controversy and discontent loom large over the sport after 10 Chinese players were charged with match-fixing.
Read on to discover our top tips for the 2023 World Snooker Championship.
World Snooker Championship Outright Betting Odds
Back Ronnie O’Sullivan To Rip Up The Form Book
It requires a special type of player to thrive amid the distinctive rigours of the Crucible, so the leading contenders are all former world champions.
O’Sullivan deserves his status as the favourite with snooker betting sites after winning the title twice in the past three years.
He beat Kyren Wilson 18-8 in the 2020 final and then prevailed in an intriguing showdown with Trump last year.
The world No. 1 is a seven-time world champion, and he has only lost one final at the Crucible - an 18-14 defeat to Selby in 2014.
He has the technical and mental ability to get the job done at this tournament, so odds of 4/1 on him look appealing.
His recent form has been underwhelming, but form is generally inconsequential when assessing O’Sullivan’s chances at this tournament.
He has been outspoken in his criticism of the sport, and he has regularly been accused of downing tools in tournaments, but he generally gives 100% at the Crucible.
When he is on song, O’Sullivan is unstoppable, and it would not surprise anyone if he were to sweep his opponents aside this year.
Selby’s Superb Record At The Crucible Cannot Be Overlooked
The Jester from Leicester has a terrific track record at the Crucible, having clinched the title in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2021.
He is the only man to beat O’Sullivan in the final, and he has battled to famous wins against several other big names at this tournament.
Last year, Selby crashed out in the second round after losing to China’s Yan Bingtao – a man at the heart of the alleged match-fixing scandal – but he is back in business this time around.
He already has two ranking titles under his belt this season, and he appears to be at the peak of his powers once again.
It is worth noting that Selby has landed in a very difficult quarter, alongside Kyren Wilson – who is well suited to this format - and four-time former world champion John Higgins.
He will need to be at his brilliant best to escape that quarter, but if he is still standing in the latter stages of this tournament, it would take a brave man to bet against Selby at 11/2 with Bet365.
Back Robertson To Bring The Thunder From Down Under
Neil Robertson will aim to win a second world title when he heads to the Crucible this week.
His first came all the way back in 2010, and the 41-year-old has never been able to add to that triumph in the ensuing years.
However, he has a solid record in this tournament, having reached the quarter-finals nine times and the semi-finals three times.
Last year, he also suffered a second round defeat, losing 13-12 to Jack Lisowski despite completing just the 12th maximum break in Crucible history.
The Melbourne Machine has avoided Lisowski this time around, and he is in a quarter with Mark Allen, Stuart Bingham and Ali Carter.
Allen is in fine form, so he has to be given respect, but his record at the Crucible is atrocious, and Robertson looks capable of toppling him if they meet this year.
He is priced at 15/2 with Unibet, which looks like an interesting each-way shout.
Can Ding Maintain His Upward Curve?
Snooker’s relationship with China is in tatters after 10 players were suspended, so it would be the perfect time for Ding to secure a maiden world title at the Crucible.
Ding, who is not caught up in the scandal at all, was the runner-up at the UK Championship earlier this season.
He was also a semi-finalist at the Tour Championship, so he is displaying remarkable consistency right now.
Ding was a leading contender for several years at the World Championship - quarter-finalist in 2015, runner-up in 2016, semi-finalist in 2017 and quarter-finalist in 2018 - but he has flopped on his last four appearances.
He is currently languishing at No. 17 in the world rankings, but that belies his talent, and his recent form is solid.
Unfortunately, Ding is in the same quarter as O’Sullivan, so his path to the final is perilous.
However, the Rocket named Ding among eight players that could stop him winning a record world title this year, and he looks like an interesting each-way punt at 20/1 with 888sport.
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