I’ve been taking a look at the early betting for next April's Betfred.com World Championship – these long autumn evenings just fly by – and am struck by the shortness of the odds for a Mark Selby title triumph.
Most bookmakers have him as third favourite behind Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins. Some have him joint second with Higgins.
William Hill has even made him 13/2 second favourite. Surely this is too short.
Selby is a fine player and could well have won the Crucible crown last season but, despite five centuries, was outwitted at the last by Higgins in their quarter-final.
But this season he is seeded to face O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals.
And so far this campaign he has failed to get past the opening round of the first two ranking events.
It's only November and there's plenty of time for things to turn round.
But only Skybet appear to have him as a bigger price for the title than Murphy, who won snooker’s biggest prize four years ago and was runner-up to Higgins last season.
Perhaps this is early caution from the bookies but if Selby wins a tournament or two in the run in to the Crucible this means his price is likely to shorten and he could well start as second favourite, breathing down O’Sullivan’s neck.
We won’t know the first round line-up until March but Higgins is in a useful section at the top of the draw.
Neil Robertson’s price will have shortened following his Grand Prix triumph last month but he’s still 14/1 with the sponsors, Betfred, and something tells me he won’t be that big when the Sheffield marathon kicks off.
Those looking for a good each way bet some five months before the tournament begins may be attracted by the 66/1 you can get on Peter Ebdon with Betfred and Stan James.
OK, he’s not performing consistently well these days but he always digs in at the Crucible, has been in three finals there and tends to come good once every 12-18 months.
It will have been just over a year since he won the China Open when the 2010 World Championship begins.
As it stands now, he’d be among the dark horses for me behind title challengers O’Sullivan, Higgins, Murphy, Robertson, Allen, Selby and Maguire (in that order).
The likes of Ryan Day, Ali Carter, Ding Junhui and Ricky Walden would figure as well.
Betfred rate Jimmy White – who would have to win three qualifying matches just to reach the Crucible – a 2,500/1 title shot.
I think jungle success is rather more likely for the people’s champ.