World Snooker: Will the bell toll for Ding?

We’re back in Sheffield for snooker’s blue riband event in the shape of the World Championships. This season we’ve seen some shock winners but also the emergence of Ronnie O Sullivan as the undoubted man to beat. The 42 year old has displayed remarkable consistency this term with an 85% win ratio claiming five ranking titles in the process.

What this means is that the mercurial World number 2 is a strong and worthy favourite heading the market at 9/4. The rocket is either a great bet given his form or a superb market maker if you are looking to take him on. Given a tough opening round against Stephen Maguire that’s exactly what we intend to do.

World No. 1 Mark Selby has been a little bit in and out in the early stages of the season but showed the Selby grit and appetite for a fight as he claimed the China Open on his last outing. Never overly impressive but rarely badly beaten he has course and distance form at the crucible and looks a decent price at 9/2 to repeat last year’s superb win.

Last year the Jester from Leicester stopped our selection Ding Junhui, in an epic semi final, but it is hard to resist giving the mercurial Chinaman another chance to claim the elusive world crown this year.

Admittedly he has not shown the form he is capable of with regularity but that is factored in to a tasty price of 12/1 for a man who has been to the final and semi-final in the last two visits.

With all high street bookmakers paying half the odds each way (top two) he could be a real value bet.

It was a tough choice between Selby and Ding but the draw proved decisive in our casting vote.

He has a nice run to the quarters where he could potentially meet Barry Hawkins, by which stage he could be only two matches away from a pay-out.

Selby for his part has a daunting draw with Mark Allen, Kyren Wilson and Shaun Murphy potentially lying in wait.

The Crucible is renowned for shocks and the draw could cut up quite markedly by the time the second round is underway. Ding could be a massive price from the outset.

Recommendation: Ding Junhui, World Snooker Champion, 1 pt e/w @ 12/1 generally available, (each way 1/2 first 2 places)

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