2013 Snooker World Championships Preview
Watching sport at any level is enjoyable but watching sport at the very highest level is truly fantastic, to see how the drama & action unfolds as the very best in the world clash is incredible & when that happens in an historic, epic arena then that takes it to the next level & becomes something extra special.
Something extra special is exactly what the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield represents & the great news is it’s that time of year again when the very best in the world of snooker turn their focus to Sheffield for 17 days of guaranteed drama, tension, excitement & of course pure sporting theatre that only snooker played at the Crucible can produce.
Athletics has the Olympics, Tennis has Wimbledon, football has the World Cup, they are the major, pinnacle events for those sports & from Saturday 20th April to Monday May 6th, the Crucible in Sheffield becomes exactly the same for the world of Snooker & hundreds of thousands of snooker fans from all around the world will be glued to the action.
I love playing snooker & love watching it for the pure sport of it but in recent years betting on snooker has really taken off & it’s most definitely something that I’ve got involved in at the major tournaments & course they don’t get any bigger or more interesting than the World Championships, watching & punting on the very best snooker players around really is a fantastically enjoyable combination.
I’ll definitely be one of those thousands of fans watching & I can’t wait for the snooker action to start this Saturday when the brilliant, enigmatic & snooker genius that is Ronnie O’Sullivan kicks off the action in the opening match.
Here is my preview on this years Snooker World Championships, I’ve included the full draw so you can see how the ties may potentially work out round by round, indeed betting wise I’m going to cover the first round matches that catch my eye with correct score predictions & also present my ante-post picks for the Outright Tournament winner market as well for your consideration:
History & statistics for the last 15 Snooker World Championship Finals: from 1998 to 2012:
- The last 30 finalists slots have been filled by only 13 different players: John Higgins, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Williams, Stephen Hendry, Shaun Murphy, Graeme Dott, Peter Ebdon, Neil Robertson, Matthew Stevens, Mark Selby, Ali Carter, Judd Trump & Ken Doherty
- There have been 9 different winners in the last 15 years: John Higgins 4 titles, Ronnie O’Sullivan 3 titles, Mark Williams 2 titles & 1 each for Hendry, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, Graeme Dott, Peter Ebdon & Ken Doherty
- 6 Players have been both winners & runners-up during the last 15 years: Higgins, Murphy, Dott, Ebdon, Hendry & Williams
The Final Scores for the last 15 World Snooker Finals have gone like this:
18-17 = 1
18-16 = 3
18-15 = 1
18-14 = 2
18-13 = 2
18-12 = 1
18-11 = 2
18-10 = 0
18-9 = 1
18-8 = 2
Outright Tournament Winner ante-post predictions:
Attempting to predict the winner of any major sporting tournament ante-post is always a tough & yet fascinating task for punters to handle but the enjoyment gained from doing it & then hopefully the rewards gained from achieving success really does make it worthwhile.
It’s great fun to just watch the very best snooker players in the world taking each other on but there is no doubt the excitement increases several levels when a punting investment has been made on an event & indeed that’s definitely the case when trying to pick the winner of the Snooker World Championships has started.
It’s often very hard to confidently pick the winner even when it gets down to latter stages of this magnificent tournament given the ultra-competitiveness of it & so trying to do just that before a cue has been lifted & before a single ball has been potted really is a test of judgement.
Trying to confidently evaluate which of the 32 players who have made it to the Crucible can last the 17 days of fierce, demanding competition & come out as World Champion is a tough challenge but it’s just the sought of challenge I enjoy & here goes my own thoughts on the major contenders & from that the ones I think are worth consideration from a betting perspective:
I’ll start my analysis of whom I believe can win this World Championship by referring to the World Championship Final statistics quoted above because quite simply the facts show that only a select group of players end up contesting the World Championship final & year after year those select group of players prove to be the main contenders as they are proven to handle everything that comes with playing a Snooker World Championships at the Crucible.
Those players that make it to the finals have proven they’ve got the necessary combination of skill, competitive edge, fighting spirit, the stamina to last the physical test that the 17 days places on the mind & body & indeed the ability to produce their best when it really matters most when put under the most intense pressure.
Now I know that I’m taking a risk in dismissing the likes of Ding Junhui, Stephen Maguire & Mark Allen just on the basis they’ve not made a final yet and there is no doubt they’ve got the talent to prove me wrong but I’m going to stand by the statistics as they look very solid to me & the history books show us what we need to know.
I do strongly believe that the finalists & indeed winner will come from that group of players who’ve made the final in the last 15 years and I’m going to use the statistics I’ve quoted to cut the field down from 32 to 7 and those 7 are John Higgins, Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Ali Carter, Neil Robertson & Judd Trump.
I’ll say right now that I believe any one of those 7 can win this & I do believe the winner & finalists will come from that group of 7 players, Higgins, O’Sullivan, Murphy & Robertson have all already won the World Championships while Selby, Carter & Trump have been runners up so they’ve all proven they’ve got what it takes already & there is no need to doubt them.
Of course all 7 can’t be backed so I’m going to adopt a policy of getting that group down to 4 each way selections by nominating 1 player whom I believe to be the best option in each quarter of the draw as the field of 32 players is split into 4 quarters & in theory the winners of each quarter meet in the semi-finals to fight for their place in the final.
With snooker you can back players each way for the first 2 places ie if your player reaches the final then you are onto a winner so of course I know nominating 4 players means 2 of them are guaranteed to be losers, but I think this line-up of players looks so competitive & so tough to sort out it does make sense to have extra cover in the hope the draw works out, if it does it should be happy days.
So from that group of 7 players that I believe will fight it out, I’m going to with each way bets on JOHN HIGGINS, MARK SELBY, SHAUN MURPHY & NEIL ROBERTSON.
5 times finalist & 4 times World Champion John Higgins gets my vote as he absolutely loves the Crucible, his game & everything about the way he plays is perfectly suited to the unique demands of the Crucible & having secured 3 World titles since 2007 I cannot see any stronger looking, better value options that JOHN HIGGINS at around the 11/1 mark, 1/2 odds each way for getting to the final looks excellent value to me.
MARK SELBY has been in my mind for the World Championships for a very long time now & definitely this season more than ever after the brilliant, confident & importantly winning form he’s shown in some of the major tournaments this year, admittedly Selby has so far only made it to 1 World Championship finals & he’s got the pressure of being amongst the favourites but for me he’s easily been the most impressive player this season & I feel certain he’s set for a major attempt to secure World title glory this time around and 13/2 each way looks solid to me.
SHAUN MURPHY gets my vote as the 16/1 on offer for him looks massive given he’s a 2 times finalist & of course previous World Champion so he’s proven at the Crucible & this time around I believe he’s got just about the best draw he could have & in my opinion there is only Judd Trump in his section of the draw that can cause him serious problems as long as he is at his best here.
NEIL ROBERTSON is without doubt probably in the top 2 or 3 in the world in terms of playing entertaining, exciting snooker & being a recent winner of this great competition he’s proven he’s got the focus, the stamina, the mental strength & everything else that’s required to be a Champion and for me he’s the absolute standout pick in his quarter of the draw, he looks a major contender here & at around 7/1 he’s certainly looks very solid to me.
I think this World Championships is destined to be one of the very best ever given the amazing talent lining up & there will undoubtedly be some epic matches & great excitement along the way, it’s most definitely a very tough tournament to call from a betting perspective but in JOHN HIGGINS, MARK SELBY, NEIL ROBERTSON & SHAUN MURPHY I do believe I have found 4 excellent, very solid looking contenders who will hopefully give us a good run for our money & of course fantastic snooker for us to enjoy.
MARK SELBY each way at 13/2
NEIL ROBERTSON each way at 13/2
JOHN HIGGINS each way at 11/1
SHAUN MURPHY each way at 16/1
Predictions for selection of Round 1matches from the 2013 Snooker World Championships (Best of 19 frames):
I’ve had a look at the set-up of the matches that catch my eye for Round One & here are my Outright Result & Correct Score options for your consideration, correct frame score betting in snooker really does add an extra element of interest & gives punters a way of getting value odds as well:
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Marcus Campbell:- The enigmatic, snooker genius that is Ronnie O’Sullivan kicks of the defence of his title that he won for the 3rd last year & although he’s been away from the snooker since then & talked of not knowing what he’s going to play like, the 3 times World Champion will surely be way too good for Marcus Campbell in this opening round & I think Ronnie is worth supporting to win with comfort.
Match Result & Correct Frame score predictions: RONNIE O’SULLIVAN to win 10-2/10-3
Ali Carter v Ben Woollaston:- Right then, time to get the cheap jokes out of the way, I’m expecting qualified pilot & more importantly 2 times Crucible World Finalist Ali Carter to fly through this Round 1 match & secure a safe landing into Round 2. Ali Carter will have respect for Ben Woollaston’s talent but at the same time he’ll know this is a huge chance to get up & running in this tournament and I believe the 2008 & 2012 runner-up is worth backing to start with a smooth, comfortable win.
Match Result & Correct Frame score predictions:- ALI CARTER to win 10-2/10-3
Stuart Bingham v Sam Baird:- I love watching snooker & seen quite a few tournaments this season but I’ll confess I know next to nothing about Sam Baird, all I can say is he’s clearly hugely talented & committed to fight his way through the qualifiers to get to this point so no doubt he’ll have the respect of Stuart Bingham here but in terms of the match result then I can’t see anything other than a solid win for Bingham here as he’s enjoyed an excellent season & he’ll be confident of making the most of his superior big tournament experience and lining up in Round 2 to face either Higgins or Mark Davis.
Match Result & Correct Frame score predictions:- STUART BINGHAM to win 10-3/10-4
John Higgins v Mark Davis:- Proven champions & major contenders for the World title always say they have most fear about getting through Round 1 & I would imagine that’s what John Higgins is privately thinking here because there is no doubting that he could have got a far kinder draw than to be picked to play against the tough, talented & confidence boosted Mark Davis and I do think this will be a true Crucible test for John Higgins.
I’ve got big respect for Mark Davis & so will have John Higgins but that said John Higgins know he is a proven Crucible specialist, 5 times World finalist & 4 times World Champion with victories in 1998, 2007, 2009 & 2011 and I really do believe that Higgins is still as well equipped as anybody in the world game & in my eyes he’s a major contender for the title again this year so I’m taking Higgins to show his class, grit & determination to win through here.
Match Result & Correct Frame score predictions:- JOHN HIGGINS to win 10-4/10-5
Shaun Murphy v Martin Gould:- As soon as I saw the draw produce this fixture then I did think that this could be one of those 1st round matches that either goes all the way to the final frame or very close to it as both Shaun Murphy & Martin Gould are tough, talented players who have shown their very best form in this competition at this venue and I just sense that this really could be one of the tightest opening round matches.
Shaun Murphy is a former World Champion & former runner-up here so he undoubtedly deserves to be clear favourite for this match but I’ve seen Martin Gould a few times this year and he’s looked in good, confident form & I do believe he’ll see this match as a big opportunity to cause a shock, he’s certainly done it before & he’s capable of doing it again if he shows his best in the match.
That said I’m expecting Shaun Murphy’s superior quality, experience & proven ability to win tough, pressure matches in this tournament to be the deciding factors and I believe it’s worth backing Murphy to win through this 1st round tie & once he’s done that he’ll believe he can go far in the tournament as the draw looks potentially very favourable for him.
Match Result & Correct Frame score predictions:- SHAUN MURPHY to win 10-6/10-7
1st Round match betting recommendations to consider:
RONNIE O’SULLIVAN to win 10-2/10-3
SHAUN MURPHY to win 10-6/10-7
JOHN HIGGINS to win 10-4/10-5
STUART BINGHAM to win 10-3/10-4
ALI CARTER to win 10-2/10-3
Full Draw for the 2013 Snooker World Championships at the Crucible, Sheffield:-
ROUND ONE (Best of 19 frames)
1. Ronnie O’Sullivan v Marcus Campbell
2. Ali Carter v Ben Woollaston
3. Stuart Bingham v Sam Baird
4. John Higgins v Mark Davis
5. Shaun Murphy v Martin Gould
6. Graeme Dott v Peter Ebdon
7. Matthew Stevens v Marco Fu
8. Judd Trump v Dominic Dale
9. Neil Robertson v Robert Milkins
10. Ricky Walden v Michael Holt
11. Mark Williams v Michael White
12. Stephen Maguire v Dechawat Poomjaeng
13. Mark Allen v Mark King
14. Ding Junhui v Alan McManus
15. Barry Hawkins v Jack Lisowski
16. Mark Selby v Matthew Selt
ROUND TWO (Best of 25 frames)
17. Ronnie O’Sullivan/Marcus Campbell v Ali Carter/Ben Woollaston
18. Stuart Bingham/Sam Baird v John Higgins/Mark Davis
19. Shaun Murphy/Martin Gould v Graeme Dott/Peter Ebdon
20. Matthew Stevens/Marco Fu v Judd Trump/Dominic Dale
21. Neil Robertson/Robert Milkins v Ricky Walden/Michael Holt
22. Mark Williams/Michael White v Stephen Maguire/Dechawat Poomjaeng
23. Mark Allen/Mark King v Ding Junhui/Alan McManus
24. Barry Hawkins/Qualifier 15 v Mark Selby/Matthew Selt
QUARTER FINALS (Best of 25 frames)
Q1. Winner Match 17 v Winner Match 18
Q2. Winner March 19 v Winner Match 20
Q3. Winner Match 21 v Winner Match 22
Q4. Winner Match 23 v Winner Match 24
SEMI-FINALS (Best of 33 frames)
SF1. Winner Q1 v Winner
Q2 SF2. Winner Q3 v Winner Q4
FINAL (Best of 35 frames)
Winner SF1 v Winner SF2
As always hope you find the above interesting, useful & ultimately successful if you bet but remember that whatever you decide to bet on, please take the time & effort to shop around ensuring you get the best value, check all the latest information before you bet & of course good luck with your bets.