Stuart Bingham says it would be foolish to write off Ronnie O’Sullivan (6/1 – Outright Winner) on the eve of the 2022 Betfred World Snooker Championship.
The Crucible action gets started on Saturday and there are several players, including 2015 champion Bingham, who will be optimistic of enjoying a deep run in the tournament in Sheffield.
The 45-year-old Basildon potter has been drawn against Lyu Haotian in the first round – the match taking place on Monday – and ‘Ball-run’ is 3/10 to secure his place in the next stage of the competition, while his Chinese opponent is 13/5 to triumph.
Along with Bingham, the likes of Judd Trump, John Higgins, Neil Robertson and defending champion Mark Selby will all be eyeing glory, while world number one O’Sullivan is another that sits prominently in the betting.
The Rocket is aiming to join Stephen Hendry on seven world titles and Bingham, who defeated Shaun Murphy to win his only world title back in 2015, says it would be crazy to rule O’Sullivan out of the running this year.
“It’s so wide open, but anyone would be mad to write Ronnie O’Sullivan off because he’s got back to world number one and he’s only really losing to the top players,” Bingham told Sky Sports.
“He’s lost to Robertson a few times this year but he’s competing with them, so (it shows) he’s still got the fire in his belly.”
Betfred World Snooker Championship Odds
O’Sullivan takes on David Gilbert, who reached the semi-final stage of the tournament in 2019, in the first round on Saturday (O’Sullivan 2/7, Gilbert 11/4 – Match Betting).
Player profile – Neil Robertson (Outright – 7/2)
Robertson had a couple of short stints as a professional from 1998/99 and 2000-2002, failing to really make his mark, but he has managed to establish himself as one of the top players in the game since turning pro for the third time in 2003.
The Thunder from Down Under reached the semi-final stage of the 2009 World Championship before he managed to clinch the title 12 months later, beating Scotland’s Graeme Dott 18-13 in the final.
However, the 40-year-old has failed to add a second world trophy to his collection, with a run to the semi-finals in 2014 his best finish in Sheffield since claiming the spoils.
The Australian has been knocked out at the quarter-final stage in the last four years, so it’s understandable his tag as favourite might be questioned, but his form this season cannot be ignored.
Robertson has won three tournaments in 2022 – the Players Championship, the Tour Championship and the Masters – and he will be hoping to replicate those performances at the Crucible.
The 2010 world champion remains one of the best potters around, while his safety play has improved over the years, and he could be a real danger if he gets into his stride in Sheffield.
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Snooker Betting Odds