Neil Robertson is backed to end an 11-year wait for Crucible glory in our Snooker World Championship predictions.
It remains one of the most unfathomable statistics of the modern game that the Australian has only made one appearance in the semis since winning his solitary title in 2010.
However, Robertson has shown bursts of brilliance in the build-up this season, not least in his 10-4 demolition of Ronnie O’Sullivan in last month’s Tour Championship decider.
Robertson, who also landed the UK Championship in December, is eager to grasp the significance of his most recent win.
The Thunder from Down Under insisted: “I have beaten Ronnie before, but never over a multiple-session match.
“If I am to compete at the World Championship, I have to do that. I will have to compete in every session and I have done that in all my matches.
“I have been there in every session to pick up the pieces when someone has made a mistake.”
O’Sullivan was suitably impressed, adding: “If this guy keeps playing the way he’s playing, then I think he’ll probably be the man to beat.”
The Rocket heads to the Crucible having lost all five of the ranking finals he has featured in so far this season.
However, the six-time winner must never be written off and 9/2 for him to make it a magnificent seven Crucible titles will be popular in Snooker World Championship betting tips.
Trump now an uneasy favourite
Two months ago, world number one Judd Trump would have been a short-priced favourite for a second world crown.
But after sweeping to five ranking titles this season alone, the 31-year-old has shown signs of starting to stutter, not least in his Tour Championship defeat to Barry Hawkins.
No doubt, on his day Trump beats anyone and he is still the market leader at 11/4, but there remains a question over whether he can sustain that level over two long weeks.
Inconsistency and uncertainty over their ability to handle a fortnight of long-form snooker may dog many hopefuls, but no such issues afflict 9/1 shot John Higgins.
The 45-year-old four-time winner has established a reputation as the match-player to beat them all.
Higgins’ remarkable triumph at the Players’ Championship in February, when thrashing O’Sullivan 10-3 in the final, illustrated just how capable he remains of marching all the way to a fifth world title.
Mark Selby’s most recent triumph in 2017 was expected to cue up an era of domination, but instead he went two straight years without winning another tournament.
The Leicester man has shown signs of rediscovering some semblance of his previous form, though, not least in stretching O’Sullivan to an agonising final-frame defeat in last year’s Crucible semis.
Nobody will be in a hurry to dismiss Selby’s chances of making it number four at 7/1.
Last year’s runner-up Kyren Wilson has had a fairly consistent campaign and the Warrior can be backed at 16/1.
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