Ronnie O’Sullivan is head and shoulders above the competition as the world’s best players descend on Sheffield for the biggest tournament on the calendar
The bookies aren’t taking too many chances with their quotes about the man known as the Rocket for the 2014 World Championship considering that Ronnie O’Sullivan came out of retirement to claim victory at the Crucible twelve months ago.
The 38-year-old now has five World titles under his belt and looks set to continue dominating the sport due to an abundance of natural talent that makes him arguably the best player to have ever lifted a cue, with his break-building and safety play both exquisite when he brings his A-game to the hallowed baize.
Ronnie is a best price 11/8 with bet365 free bet which might seem skinny at first glance but it’s a price that be confidently backed and you know that a bright first round performance could see the Londoner go closer to the even money mark.
O’Sullivan is seeded one for the tournament and could face Joe Perry in round two, while Shaun Murphy and Marco Fu are also in that particular quarter, neither of whom should pose too many problems for a player who’s head is in the right place while he’s also incredibly fit.
Ding Junhui has never reached a World Championship final although the Chinaman comes to the Crucible off the back of a highly successful season which has seen him win the Shanghai Masters, Indian Open, International Championship, German Masters and China Open.
Ding resides in Sheffield and the layers are paying him plenty of respect despite the fact he’s in the same half of the draw as O’Sullivan, a player who has given him plenty of problems in previous encounters.
The 27-year-old became the first player to win back-to-back major-ranking event titles in the same season since Ronnie O’Sullivan won the European Open and Irish Masters in 2003, something that is no mean feat although his Crucible record is fairly patchy including two first round exits and three second round defeats out of his seven appearances in the Worlds.
Mark Selby and Neil Robertson are once again in the bottom half of the draw and there is little to separate them in terms of ability, with Selby a more considered player likely to grind out a result while Robertson is more flamboyant although the Aussie has not enjoyed the greatest of seasons.
Meanwhile, Judd Trump is also in a difficult-looking fourth quarter that also features Robertson, Stephen Maguire and Mark Allen, with Ali Carter someone who consistently performs well in this tournament and he looks overpriced at 50/1 to go all the way considering he could claim some each-way money.