World Championship 2018 Snooker: Winner Odds

It’s been a thrilling season of snooker and one that is about to reach its climax. 2017/18 has already provided us with more than its fair share of entertainment on the green baize but who will be crowned World Champion when the circuit reaches the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield?

The event has been held since way back in 1927 and the tournament moved to its current home in 1977. Our defending champion this year is Mark Selby and the ‘Jester from Leicester’ is fancied to retain his crown but after our most recent tournament, the Players Championship, there has been a clear change in the outright betting.

Man to Beat

The 2018 renewal will start on the 21st of April and continue all the way through to the final on May 7. After a series of qualifiers, 32 players will enter into the first round proper ahead of 17 days of world class action.

For most of the last few months, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby have been locked at the top of the outright winner betting for this year’s World Championship. Many bookmakers have listed both men at around the 4/1 mark but in the wake of the Players Championship we’ve seen a distinct shift.

Ronnie was back in top form throughout that tournament and after breezing through the final against Shaun Murphy, the Rocket is now clear favourite for the Crucible at best odds of 2/1 with Betway and Sun Bets.

It’s suggested at times that Ronnie’s biggest opponent is himself. Capable of beating anyone on his day, O’Sullivan needs to be motivated to win and has taken breaks from the game in the past but as he approaches the 2018 Worlds, he seems focused and in top form.

Defence

Ronnie O’Sullivan

O’Sullivan is the number two seed, just behind Mark Selby who is available at a top price of 11/2 with Coral and Winner Sports to win in Sheffield. The two men are kept apart in the draw and are seeded to meet in the final but that figure marks a notable shift for a man who was, until recently, available at that 4/1 figure.

While O’Sullivan improves, Selby has been off his game recently but he is a three time world champion and is ranked number one as he comes into his title defence. Since winning here twelve months ago, he has only added one further victory at the International Championship in China so while the quality is there, form is currently deserting our defending champion.

Chasing Pack

At the time of writing, the remainder of the seeds had yet to be decided so it could be that some of the better players will have a tough path to the final. Behind the top two, our third favourite for Sheffield is Judd Trump and you can back the left hander at best odds of 8/1 with Bet365 and Betway.

There’s no doubt that Trump has the talent to become a future World Champion but his temperament is often called into question with accusations of a lack of focus. He’s ranked number three in the world and is likely to be seeded three for this event but few will back the 28 year old with any great confidence.

At best odds of 12/1 with Sun Bets is last year’s beaten finalist John Higgins. The Scot went down by 15 frames to 18 against Selby and while he is a three time winner of this event, the last of those victories came in 2011. Also available at a top price of 12/1 is Ding Junhui who can be found at that figure with most bookmakers including Bet365 and William Hill. Ding has also lost to Mark Selby in a world final – 14-18 in 2016 – and was a runner up to O’Sullivan in 2018, albeit by a comprehensive scoreline of 3-10 in the World Grand Prix.

Other players with prices in a similar range include Neil Robertson at 14/1 with SkyBet and BetBright plus Mark Williams at 20/1 with Betway and 188Bet. Williams will be of particular interest to some punters after something of a career resurgence this season and he’s also a two-time World Champion.

Those victories came in 2000 and 2003 so we’re going some way back but in 2017/18 he’s won the Northern Ireland Open and the German Masters to suggest a career revival at the age of 43.

Outsider Bets

Mark Selby

Moving further down the field, three players at the same best odds of 28/1 will all have their share of backing at the Crucible. Mark Allen is at that figure with Sky Bet and Sun Bets and having won the Masters in 2018, he’s starting to suggest that he has the temperament to win big tournaments.

Shaun Murphy lost by some margin to O’Sullivan but it’s been a productive season for a player who has twice been runner up in this event. Murphy is available at that 28/1 price with Boylesports while Barry Hawkins completes our trio of 28/1 shots (with Sun Bets and Sport Pesa). He’s been short on form since the start of the year but is another former runner up – losing out in the final to Ronnie in 2013.

Longer shots that will attract attention include the improving Kyren Wilson at 33/1 with William Hill and Coral, the exciting teenager Yan Bingtao at 40/1 with Bet365 and Sun Bets and another former champion, Stuart Bingham at 40/1 with Bet365.

Some of the names on the bookies’ lists have yet to formally qualify but whatever happens, it’s a strong field heading to Sheffield in April so just how do we pick a winner?

Verdict

Anyone who watched Ronnie O’Sullivan claim the Players Championship in March would argue that the task is a simple one. The Rocket breezed through the challenge of Shaun Murphy in the final and the five-time World Champion is almost unbeatable when he’s on top form.

Since the start of October last year, O’Sullivan has actually won five tournaments including the World Grand Prix and the prestigious UK Championship so we can at least see why his win price for the World Championship has halved in recent weeks.

The men who can challenge him, in our opinion are Mark Selby, John Higgins, Ding Junhui and, as a longer priced punt, Mark Williams is showing the type of form that took him to two World Titles. When other markets open, Williams to Reach the Final could well be worth a look but for now, while it’s such an obvious bet, it’s so hard to look beyond Ronnie O’Sullivan as the 2018 World Snooker Champion.

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