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Bingham to Bring the Sheffield Steel

Stuart Bingham

Stuart Bingham can recreate that 2015 magic in Sheffield over the next two weeks. The Essex cue-smith was an unfancied runner four years ago but came through a strong field for a remarkable triumph. He can go close again this year.

It looks a particularly strong renewal. Neil Robertson is enjoying a welcome revival in form and the peerless Ronnie O’Sullivan is having another great season. The dynamic Judd Trump finally looks to be developing into a player who can grind it out when necessary.

Other members of snooker’s old guard will fancy their chances. John Higgins is still a threat to anyone, and defending champion Mark Williams will also be a man on a mission.

Added to that is a string of younger players looking to break into the big time. It promises to be epic.

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2019 Betfred World Snooker Championship – Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

Saturday 20th April to Monday 6th May – BBC and Eurosport. All day, every day.

2019 Betfred World Snooker Championship – The Draw

Quarter One

Mark Williams (1) v Martin Gould

David Gilbert (16) v Joe Perry

Barry Hawkins (9) v Li Hang

Kyren Wilson (8) v Scott Donaldson

Quarter Two

John Higgins (5) v Mark Davis

Stuart Bingham (12) v Graeme Dott

Shaun Murphy (13) v Luo Honghao

Neil Robertson (4) v Michael Georgiou

Quarter Three

Mark Selby (3) v Zhao Xintong

Luca Brecel (14) v Gary Wilson

Jack Lisowski (11) v Ali Carter

Mark Allen (6) v Zhou Yuelong

Quarter Four

Judd Trump (7) v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh

Ding Junhui (10) v Anthony McGill

Stephen Maguire (15) v Tian Pengfei

Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) v James Cahill

2019 Betfred World Snooker Championship – Analysis and Betting Tips

TOP TIP! – Stuart Bingham to win World Championship @ +2500

The Contenders

The incredible Ronnie O’Sullivan takes his customary place at the head of the betting. He has had a great season with a trio of big ranking wins including the UK Championship, acknowledged as the second most important event in the calendar. 

He recently won the Coral Tour Championship, a small field event played over a long format similar to the World Championship. He defeated Judd Trump 10-9 in the semi-final and Neil Robertson 13-11 in the final. This provided evidence if needed that he still retains the stamina for long games. As well as the ability to beat the two players seen as his biggest rivals here. These performances have seen him regain the Number One spot in the World Rankings, despite not travelling to all of the big-money events in Asia. 

There are some negatives. He has been done few favours by the draw and is likely to meet Judd Trump in the quarter-final. That’s much earlier than ideal to be facing such a strong opponent. A possible semi-final with Mark Selby may then await. 

It’s also difficult to ignore his recent record in this event. He hasn’t won here since 2013 and hasn’t been beyond the quarter-finals in the last four years. Players seem to raise their game against him at the Crucible. At a skinny +225   I think there are enough reasons to pass on him. 

People have often questioned the resolve of second favourite Judd Trump. Over the years he has seemed flaky, with a safety game liable to disintegrate when the pressure is on in these long-format games. He has looked better this season and had a huge win in the Dafabet Masters in January. This was only his second victory in a triple crown event, and it was no fluke as he accounted for Mark Selby, Neil Robertson and Ronnie along the way. He followed up with a £100K win in the World Grand Prix in February.

It hasn’t been all rosy since, as he was beaten by Ronnie in the Coral Tour Championship letting a 2-6 lead slip. He potentially faces that opponent again in the quarter-finals. I still think he has flaws in the white heat of battle and won’t be taking any of the +500 . 

After a troublesome couple of years where he lost his place in the Top 16, Aussie Neil Robertson has had a wonderful 2018/19. He won ranking events in Riga and Cardiff, and also triumphed in the event before the World Championship, the China Open. This was a huge £225K first prize, but he didn’t have to work too hard. Sam Craigie, Luca Brecel and Jack Lisowski was his path from the quarter-finals, as comfortable a route as it gets.

He has a decent looking draw, placed in the opposite half to Judd and Ronnie. He was victorious at the Crucible in 2010 so he knows what it takes. Combined with his kind draw he must be a serious contender. However, I think the market may have over-reacted to that victory in China, and +600   looks very short. 

Three-time champion Mark Selby has had a poor season. One solitary big win, back in September in Guangzhou is a poor return for a player who normally farms the ranking events. He returned to China at the start of April hoping to find some form before the World Championship but suffered a defeat in the first round to the unfancied Craig Steadman. This continued a trend of early defeats, and he can’t be fancied even at +1000 .

Kyren Wilson at +1800   is an interesting contender. He is housed in a weak looking quarter one, and on his early season form would be a strong fancy. The last few months haven’t been great though with a few worrying defeats since winning the German Masters in late January. Age is also a factor against the 27-year-old. This tends to be an event where players have to wait until their 30s before winning.

Mark Allen will have his fans at +2000   but is another player whose form has tailed off in the second half of the season. He looked set for a big season when he reached the final of the UK Championship. The last few months have been poor though. He has come across as an unhappy player at all in his last few outings.

Mark Williams rolled back the years in this event 12 months ago with a hugely popular triumph. Nothing much has gone his way this campaign other than an early-season victory in China. It’s possible that he has been biding his time and focussing on the defence of his title, but it’s much more likely that he is just out of form.

Similar sentiments apply to John Higgins, runner-up in the last two renewals. Mark Selby was always likely to have his number in their meeting two years ago, but defeat last year to Williams will have disappointed him a lot. Nothing much has gone his way since then, and he appears to have forgotten how to win games. He does tend to save his best for Sheffield though.

Stuart Bingham has had a steady season, with a couple of ranking event wins. His victory in Gibraltar in March was a very low-key affair, but at least showed his game is in good nick. He had another solid effort at the UK Championship in December reaching the semi-finals. He has proved himself here before with a famous victory in 2015. 

He should have the beating of John Higgins in the second round, and his big challenge is likely to be a quarter-final against Neil Robertson. Bingham leads 10-8 on career clashes, though Robertson has won the last four. A close battle can be expected if they meet. He is four times the price of the Aussie and looks the value at +2500 .

Barry Hawkins brings superb course and distance form to this event. He has reached the semi-final in five of the last six years, making him one of the most consistent performers here. He does seem to get wracked by self-doubt at that stage. He will have his supporters at +2500   but is likely to fall short again. 

David Gilbert

2019 Betfred World Snooker Championship – Analysis and Betting Tips

TOP TIP! – David Gilbert to win Quarter One @ +1200

The Longshots 

Ding Junhui has never quite put it together at the Crucible and is coming off one of his poorest seasons. 

Jack Lisowski is an exciting young talent who has taken his game up a level in the last 12 months. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain this progress, but he is an unlikely winner here. 

Former champion Shaun Murphy has had a nightmare season with a series of first round exits. +6600   is a bit of an insult to a player of his ability, but it would take a big leap of faith to expect him to suddenly rediscover some form. 

It’s hard to believe Luca Brecel is only 24 years old. He seems to have been around forever. His game has improved over the last 18 months and is interesting enough at +10000 . However, he may have to beat Mark Selby, Mark Allen and Ronnie/Trump to get to the final, and that is surely beyond his current ability. 

David Gilbert was a mid-ranking journeyman until recently but has made solid progress in the last two years. He has now reached the Top 16 which meant he avoided the difficult qualification process. On the one-year ranking list he is a Top 10 Player, though it helps that he turns up for every event. He won’t win, but the top quarter has question marks over all the seeds. The one-year list would suggest there isn’t a lot between the four seeded players in this section, yet Gilbert is twice the price of the others. +1200   looks a bit of a steal. 

Stephen Maguire is a likeable attacking player but doesn’t have game needed for a 17-day slog. He also has a terrible draw in the bottom quarter and is only making up the numbers. 

2019 Betfred World Snooker Championship Tips

Stuart Bingham to win World Championship  +2500

David Gilbert to win Quarter One  +1200

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David Gilbert
Stuart Bingham
UK Snooker Championships

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