2019 World Snooker Championship: Betting and Odds Preview

world snookerIt’s been another busy year on the green baize and once again, we’re ready for the traditional climax. The best snooker players on the planet are assembling in Sheffield for 17 days of action at the Crucible Theatre – home of the World Snooker Championship.

Mark Williams is our defending champion but fans’ favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan sits comfortably at the top of the betting as we get ready for the off.

Date: April 29, 2019

Format

The 2019 edition of the World Snooker Championship, sponsored by BetFred, will get underway on Saturday April 20th. 17 days later, our new champion will be crowned on Monday May 6. At the time of writing, the final rounds of qualification are still being played out so our exact list of players is yet to be confirmed.

What we do know is that the top sixteen seeds are taken from the World Rankings and have qualified automatically. Our defending champion is traditionally at the top of that list so Mark Williams will take his slot at the top of the tree.

Once qualifying is complete, 32 players will assemble for the first round which is a best of 19 frames affair. In the second round and the quarter finals, matches extend to best of 25 and we increase in the semi finals to a best of 25. The final itself is a marathon with a best of 33 frame format to decide who will succeed Mark Williams as our champion.

That’s our format for 2019 but who have the bookmakers marked down as our winner?

Out in Front

ronnie osullivan

Ronnie O’Sullivan

According to the sportsbooks, the man to beat this year is Ronnie O’Sullivan who is available in the outright tournament betting at best odds of 5/2 with SportingBet. That’s very short in a competition of this magnitude but the Rocket’s recent record suggests that it’s justified.

Since the start of 2018, Ronnie has picked up six ranking titles with two victories coming this year. O’Sullivan has claimed the Tour Championship and the Players Championship and he was runner up to Judd Trump and the Masters at the start of the New Year.

That defeat underlines that he’s not unbeatable and Trump in particular is enjoying a good year. Ronnie remains the man to beat however, so who will take up the challenge?

The Chasing Pack

Many bookmakers have joint second favourites for the 2019 World Snooker Championships with Neil Robertson and Judd Trump locked at 5/1 in places. Elsewhere, Robertson is just ahead at 11/2 with Unibet while Trump can be backed at a top price of 6/1 with Black Type.

Of the two, Robertson is the man with the best immediate form. The Aussie took out the most recent ranking event – the China Open – beating Jack Lisowski 11-4 in the final, and he also won the Welsh Open at the start of 2019. It is, however, worth noting that Robertson lost to Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final of both the Tour Championship and the Players Championship.

In that sense, Judd Trump may well have an advantage as he overcame Ronnie in fine style in the final of the 2019 Masters. The left hander has been criticised for a lack of application in the past but he seems to be more focussed right now and this could finally be his year.

Towards the end of the chasing bunch is Mark Selby who is quoted at best odds of 10/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral. He’s a multiple World Champion but form has completely deserted the ‘Jester from Leicester’ in recent months and most punters are swerving Selby at that figure.

Outsider Punts

mark williams

Mark Williams

With 32 players on offer, there is scope for a long-priced winner: Mark Williams and Stuart Bingham have come from the back of the bunch in recent years to claim the title and there are some interesting numbers as we move through the field.

Kyren Wilson is the fifth favourite at best odds of 18/1 with Unibet and 888Sport but the number that really stands out for us is the 20/1 on Mark Allen. That figure is quoted by both Ladbrokes and Coral and it should certainly get some support among the snooker betting community.

Allen kick-started a positive 16 months by winning the Masters at the beginning of 2018. He’s since gone on to win the International Championship and the Scottish Open and was runner up to O’Sullivan in the UK Championship. He led the race to Llandudno and Mark Allen has to be worth considering in the each way markets at the very least.

We mentioned Stuart Bingham and he follows next at best odds of 22/1 with Unibet and Betway. Defending Champion Mark Williams is also at a top price of 22/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral while John Higgins completes a trio of players at a best of 22/1 – this time with Black Type.

We move all the way down through the seeds and the qualifiers to our rank outsider – Matt Selt – who is listed at 1000/1 with Unibet. That option seems unlikely to say the least but based on experience, you can’t rule out Barry Hawkins at best odds of 25/1 with William Hill, Ding Junhui at a top price of 33/1 with Black Type or Shaun Murphy at a best of 66/1 with Coral.

It’s a big and competitive field this year so let’s kick on and see if we can pick the winner.

Verdict

While Ronnie O’Sullivan will be a popular pick among bettors it’s worth remembering that he hasn’t won the World Title since back in 2013. Supporters will argue that he’s the form player but the Rocket has been in this position before and has failed to add to his haul of five Crucible trophies.

At 5/2, there isn’t a lot to tempt us with Ronnie and while we may well be proved wrong, we’re going to move on.

If we look at many online tipsters then we see a lot of support for Neil Robertson and it’s easy to understand why. The Australian is the man in form coming into this tournament and he’s been clinical in his displays at the baize of late – rarely making an error.

Elsewhere, Judd Trump’s form may have temporarily deserted him but we think he’s the man to watch over the course of the next 17 days. That carelessness seems to have gone from his game and that demolition of O’Sullivan in the Masters Final suggests he will have no problem ousting the top seeds.

In terms of value, Mark Allen’s 20/1 is the standout price: If he wasn’t in the same half of the draw as O’Sullivan then we’d have more confidence but the Northern Irishman has taken his game to another level in the last 18 months and is worth an Each Way punt.

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