We spent far too much of our adolescence locked in our bedroom writing bad teenage poetry and not enough of it down in dark snooker halls. That’s probably why none of us are a snooker World Champion and we’re also awful at poetry. So we’ve enlisted the help of top snooker pundit and really nice guy, John Parrott to take us by the metaphorical hand and guide us through the two and a bit weeks of mega-tense Crucible action.
In our first chat with the 1991 World Champion he looks at the outright betting and a couple of interesting longer terms bets. Hopefully he’ll get around to some poetry tips in the near future.
Ronnie O’Sullivan 5/2
I spoke to Ronnie (above) last week and this is the impression I got:
- He’s in a really good space. This competition is a grueller over 17 days but he sounds up for it
- He has a fixed routine at the Crucible now and the sports psychologist Steve Peters will probably be with him also.
- He’s been very consistent in the big events all season.
- He has an outstanding chance of winning his sixth World Crown at 9/4.
Judd Trump 11/2
- He’s got the talent, but applying himself over the longer matches is an issue
- It could get tough for him very early on – could met Ding or John Higgins in the quarters.
- And he’s due to meet Ronnie in the semi-finals – that suits the Rocket more.
Mark Selby 7/1
- The defending champion has nothing to fear after getting his first world title
- Has turned his form right around lately and should be full of confidence.
- He’s in a really tricky section. Lots of potential pitfalls to negotiate
Neil Robertson 5/1
- He’s not had his finest season to date but even so has got involved near the business end of events
- The Aussie has a tough path to the semi-finals, but think he’s capable of doing it
- He’s the 2010 champion and there’s a big performance due from him
Ding Junhui 18/1
- Ding (above) is the best outsider in the field.
- He’s record at the Crucible is poor, but with his talent, he will get in right at some stage.
- It’s not been a vintage season, but he’s found a bit of form.
Best of the rest
- Marco Fu (66/1) is not to be underestimated. He’s been around a long time now, but he’s found some consistency over the last couple of seasons.
- John Higgins (33/1) are also in there and he’s four time World Champion. He’s not performing to his best at present, but he’s not ever an opponent you can take lightly. He can grind it out.
A 147 looks a certainty
I think the 5/4 that someone will record a maximum break is a cracking bet. Marco Fu did it at the Ally Pally in the Masters last January and there were less players and less frames played there. With the quality on offer at the Crucible and way more frames – it’s a near certainty. I’m in the yes camp.
1st Round Matches
Mark Selby v Kurt Maflin – Saturday 10am
The defending champ (above) takes a tricky Norwegian who hit form in China a couple of weeks back and showed some battling qualities in qualifying for this.
- No first-time champion has defended his title the following year – that’s an ominous stat.
- Mark will cope with the pressure
- Maflin will make life difficult, but I expect Selby to come through.