SNOOKER analyst Ed Acteson (@EdActeson) runs the rule over the World Championship from the Crucible, picking out his favourite outright fancies.
World Snooker Championship | 15th April – 1st May 2017 | BBC
Last year Mark Selby was imperious as he swotted away all opposition to win his second World Championship in three years and, more importantly, bring home the bacon for us.
This year I suspect he will have a far tougher time with four of the top five in the betting all located in the top half of the draw.
Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson and Ding Junhui make up the quartet but when you consider that the nightmarish half also features Marco Fu and Shaun Murphy, it is hard to get excited about odds of 9/2 on Selby.
In fact, it’s difficult to become excited about most of the tournament favourites on account of their woeful collective form. In the last five competitive tournaments played, the top seven in the betting have only reached the semi-final stage or better six times between them.
Trump to conquer the world
Pretty average and even more so when you consider that three of those belong to the tournament favourite and, in my opinion, probable winner; Judd Trump (4/1 Ladbrokes).
It’s with a heavy heart that I tip Trump at 4s, because he was available at 15/2 little more than a month ago. However, his recent streak of form can’t be ignored.
He has reached three finals in his last four outings including victory at the Players Championship and is scoring for fun this season with 69 centuries and a 147. With Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Neil Robertson seemingly fading forces,
Trump is Mark Selby’s only real competition for the title of world’s best player and with a significantly easier draw in which Barry Hawkins should be the only real threat – he simply has to be backed, even at a diminished price.
Fu flying under the radar
My second pick, Marco Fu (22/1 each-way Betfred), finds himself sitting uncomfortably in the half of death. His opening match against Luca Brecel is extremely dangerous and he could conceivably then face Neil Robertson, Mark Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan just to reach the final.
So why am I tipping him?
Fu has adopted a new attacking game recently and the results have started to show. This season he has been runner-up in the Players Championship, reached the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix and The Masters as well as winning the Scottish Open.
In the last couple of months he has beaten Ding Junhui Mark Selby, Mark Allen, Judd Trump, John Higgins and Neil Robertson; most of the biggest names in the game.
He continues to fly under the radar yet now deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as any of the above and at 22/1 I’ll take him to put yet more big names to the sword.
Kyren can seal 3rd Quarter success
My final tip is Kyren Wilson to win the 3rd Quarter of the draw (6/1 Betfred).
John Higgins finds himself as 2/1 jolly in the market yet hasn’t been beyond the last 16 of a tournament in his previous seven attempts.
Stuart Bingham is second favourite and isn’t much better, managing it twice in eight attempts (though he did win one). Mark Allen is next and, similarly poorly, he has achieved it once in seven.
Kyren Wilson, on the other hand, looked invigorated as he reached the semi-final of the recent China Open, only succumbing to eventual victor Mark Selby.
I reckon it’s a huge price on one of the most talented youngsters in the game and will be steaming in accordingly.