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.


Anonymous said...

Selby's finished at the top of the game. Expect a quickish return to the journeymen ranks outside the top 20.

JohnH said...

Good comments Dave. It will be interesting to see what long odds Hendry and Williams are at as they are also in the O'Sullivan/Selby section.

Anonymous said...

lmao dave how can you say allen is a bigger favourite than ding junhui and ali carter allen still hasnt even reached a ranking final?
what has he acheived so far in the game he has won nothing and he is nealry 23 now what a joke

Dave H said...

He won the Jiangsu Classic this year and he's a former world amateur title

To write him off at 22 is ridiculous

Anonymous said...

fair enough but at the jiangsu classic not all the top players were there he hasnt proved anything yet and youre putting him favourite in front of ding,carter and even walden who has won a ranking event there is no sense in that prediciton imo ridiculous

Dave H said...

Remind me how many tournaments Shaun Murphy won before becoming world champion?

And Graeme Dott?

Anonymous said...

so you would of predicted murphy to win the world before he won it then? what are you talking about dave murphy is nealry 28 he has only won 3 ranking events he isnt a great he is a good player thats about it imo your making no sense give me the evidence of how you can put allen favourite in front of ding,carter and walden there is none your comments are just ridiculous imo

Anonymous said...

"Selby's finished at the top of the game. Expect a quickish return to the journeymen ranks outside the top 20."

What a ridiculous comment. Selby is utter class and the only player capable of catching O'Sullivan and Higgins.

jamie brannon said...

True Dave, I dont want to badmouth Dott, but I still think he is a substandard champion, not that he will care and I still think he deserves respect for it. I was a little surprised though you put Ding and Carter in the bracket below the faves. Carter is a top 6 player now and was in the final in 2008 and you know how much I rate Ding although his Crucible record is poor. I agree with the main theme of the post though Selby should not be third favourite.

Anonymous said...

Thought Allen came on in leaps and bounds last season, a bit of a slow start to this one though but he should come good again. I am worried about Selby, losing is a hard habit to break and he's stuck in a rut at the moment. To me he looks like he is beginning to revert to his long backswing, which always made him a mediocre player. I hope he turns it around but I do fear for him a little. How about some names outside the elite to give us the next Graham Dott? Jamie Cope can beat anyone on his day but it has to be his day, Ricky Walden obviously, Liang Wenbo perhaps. It's very hard to see where the next big shock winner is coming from.

mathsisfun said...

... and Steve Davis.

Anonymous said...

Good call on Allen Dave. Unlike Ding he has produced at the crucible and been to one table there before. Carter seems to be struggling at the moment with new family responsibilities.

jamie brannon said...

Carter has lost 1 match since the baby, he should not be judged yet. I think you could float the name of Wenbo and Cope as good each way money. What about Williams as well gradually finding form again.

Anonymous said...

Would have to disgaree with Williams "finding form". In my opinion, he stumbled through his Grand Prix matches, coming up against some very under-par players - it showed when he lost to an in-form Ding Junhui.

I would not say No to a bet on Hendry at the Crucible.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Dave youve had the hard word
Take care- DM

Anonymous said...

That the bookies put Selby ahead of Murphy isn't hard to explain. People don't just bet on the basis of rational calculations of likely outcome but on players they like. Selby is likeable whereas Murphy comes across in interviews and in the arena as cold and arrogant. His reception by the audience when he enters the arena is always muted compared with other players and at the Crucible last season I thought I even heard a few boos.

Anonymous said...

How can people say Selby is a good player? He's one of the most dull and limited players in the main tour.

Betty Logan said...

The only person who has produced snooker at a level that could potentially defeat a tip-top Ronnie or Higgins so far this season is Robertson. I honestly think he will win a biggie this season, so you may as well stick him down as third favourite (I think he's third in the provs anyway).

Murphy is probably fourth pick, he has a good track record in the big events winning a couple of them and has reached a couple of world finals.

I suppose Ding, Maguire and Selby would be next up having won tournaments and having already reached at least one big final but the way they're currently playing (although Ding seems to be coming back to form) I would put some of the top-end journeymen ahead of them. Allen could win but it would be a shock win, and is the field weak enough for a shock win? 2005-2007 saw a change of guard and there are a few potential winners around now.

Anonymous said...

6:59pm - so people who know nothing about snooker read this blog too eh?

The bookies don't want to lose money. They know how good Selby is.

Anonymous said...

Selby is my favourite player and has been ever since the 2007 World Semi-final. His game is built on intelligent shot making and bottle. His best years are ahead of him for sure and I can't wait. Especially so I can ram it down the throats of the people that are slagging him off on internet forums for no apparent reason.

jamie brannon said...

Williams was poor in a couple of matches, but against Bingham he was at his 'hoovering best'.

Anonymous said...

WTF was he a dyson or vax Jamie LMFAO ...'hoovering best'.

shaun said...

whats all this slagging selby off hes a class act and i will be putting a few quid on him along with williams and higgins for the worlds

Anonymous said...

Snooker The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hi Dave
Some of your posts seem to think that you are dictating the betting Dave and where the the money should go.
To the alter boys that dont gamble you should explain to your blog members the simplified way modern betting is run.
The Nice Bookie decides how much profit he wants on the race or tournment and offers "Odds" to give him his percentage materless who or what wins.

All Snooker Lovers should study the "ODDS as they are enjoying there "PIE" and chips. Mr hey you

Anonymous said...

It is not about slagging Selby off. I think he is a useful player who has achieved very well and he comes over excellently at interview. I do not believe he is consistent top 4 material however and when you look at his success in the Masters and Welsh Open it was through winning a lot of deciding frames. Good luck to him but I will be surprised if he takes many more titles as he is not in the same class as Stephen Lee and Matthew Stevens of 10 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear Mr 3:47Pm
Young Mr Selby is a fair player, but his big fault was trying to be an international snooker star and spent too much time on his imagine than he spent on his wayward cue action.
Please don’t take this as a slight Mister. But Steve Davis took two World Championships before he gave “Royal Waves and Salutes”.
As for Stephen Lee, The lad is still living in the past and the “Coat of many colours” that was his trade mark. Stephens great “Stance and Cue action” is correct but sadly only a talking point.

The Welch lad you mentioned Matthew Stevens has MAYBE under achieved but thoughtlessly. Once again no offence mister; but Matthew Stevens actually practices his faults which only seem many because they are repeated.
Mr hey you
PS Please dont take offence mister but if this had been read sooner maybe the statics would be different? You cant be a nice teacher WITH SNOOKER PLAYERS! DM