World Snooker Championship: Betting Tips, Stats & History

The World Snooker Championship is the pinnacle of the sport and the one event that all players are desperate to win. By winning it you go down as one of the best to have played the sport and with it, immortalise yourself in snooker history.

The tournament is held at the world-famous Crucible Theatre, which is in Sheffield, England. It’s been running since 1927 and is also the oldest tournament on the snooker calendar. As the season finale, it’s the one that the players are all geared up for. 12 months of preparation is required to even get on the table, let alone win the event, such is the structure of the World Snooker Championship.

World Snooker Championship Betting – 21st April to 7th May 2018

Just who will walk away from the Crucible as Snooker’s world champion? The greatest players on the planet are battling it out for the top crown, with almost £2million in prize money set to be divided between them. Will Ronnie O’Sullivan be scooping up the lion’s share of that come May, or will someone emerge to rival the Rocket in Sheffield?

If the bookmakers are to be believed, O’Sullivan is far and away the choice for the tournament, as he’s been cut to 15/8 by Coral for this one. Mark Selby is double the odds to retain his crown, with O’Sullivan’s string of victories this season pushing him forward as the main contender for this title. Does the Rocket measure up as the clear favourite, or is there value elsewhere in this field? Ahead of the tournament, take a look at our predictions and preview below.

Tips and Predictions

Mark Selby does seem to be slightly overlooked, having been marked out as the main contender alongside O’Sullivan of late. However, he sits out at 4/1 with Ladbrokes for the trophy, which does make him seem a tad overpriced. After three wins in the last four years, surely Selby deserves to be up there at the very top? He’s going up against O’Sullivan, who hasn’t made it past the quarters in his last three attempts at the World Championship, so there could be value in taking Selby’s price to win the tournament despite poor form this season.

Outside of the top two, there’s not a whole lot of other contenders emerging. The betting for this one is quite top heavy, almost forcing us into a straight choice for one of O’Sullivan and Selby, with few others in the field standing out. While the Rocket is the clear favourite of the two, we’re thinking that the likely final clash between the pair is going to be too close to call, so our approach is to go for the slightly bigger priced Selby, based on his recent record here in Sheffield and the appealing 4/1 price with Ladbrokes.

Past Winners/Notable Stats

  • 2017 - Mark Selby beat John Higgins 18-15 in the final
  • 2016 - Mark Selby beat Ding Junhui 18-14
  • 2015 - Stuart Bingham beat Shaun Murphy 18-15
  • 2014 - Mark Selby beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 18-14
  • 2013 - Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Barry Hawkins 18-12

Other Bets and Odds

If you’re looking elsewhere for a pick here, then John Higgins at 11/1 with BetVictor is worth considering as a bigger priced option. The Scot has won here on four occasions, the latest of which came in 2011. However, he returned to the final last year, and he comes into this event with three tournament wins to his name. Having won three quarters of his matches this season, we think the Scot is worth backing each way to at least follow up his run from last year. Given that he’s probably the biggest threat in Selby’s half of the draw, he’s worth keeping onside at current prices.

About

The tournament is actually a pretty small field, with just 32 players in total taking part. But, there are extensive qualifying rounds prior to the start of the event, which means that a wide range of players are still able to gain entry. 

The top 16 players in the world are the only automatic qualifiers for the event. The other 16 spots are made up from qualifying rounds. These rounds are made up of around 120 players in total and with it they are required to win three best-of-19 frame matches in that time. The top 16 places from the qualifying then gain entry to the first round proper. The matches take place between 1th to the 18thof April, a couple of weeks before the start of the event. 

The draw is then made between the 16 seeded players who gain automatic qualifying and the 16 qualifiers. This makes up the full 1st round draw where the 32 players are then starting their quest of the World Snooker Championship. 

Venue

The World Snooker Championship is played at the Crucible theatre and has been since 1977. It’s now more of an institution than simply just a venue for the tournament and with it, players and fans flock from all parts of the world. 

The Crucible is based in Sheffield, which is now referred to as the home of snooker. Whilst best known for snooker, it also hosts a number of other events such as theatrical performances and musicals. 

Throughout the early round of the World Championships, there are two tables that are in operation at any one time. They pull a screen across the middle of the playing floor and with it create almost two auditoriums. There are just shy of 1,000 seats in total, which isn’t the biggest venue on tour, but it’s right up there. 

Match Format

The format for the World Championship is the longest format that the payers play all year. It starts off with the best of 19 frames in the first round, before working its way right through to best of 35 frames in the final. If at any point a frame is tied on points, then a re-spotted black will take place and then it’s the first player to pot the black that wins that frame. 

Obviously, with so many frames to play, it can take hours for matches to complete. It’s for this reason that games are split between intervals. There are usually 4 intervals per match and with it are split into a certain minimum or maximum frames within that interval.

For example, the final, which is best of 35 frames Includes 4 sessions. The first session is at most 8 frames, the 2nd session is at least 9 frames, the 3rd session is at most 8 frames and the final session is any remaining frames until a winner is crowned. It’s set out like this so players will have to come back and at least play some frames in the final session, which is better for TV viewing figures.

Prize Money

The tournament is the richest of any on the main tour, coming with a total prize pool of £1,968,000. The winner of the event takes home £425,000 in total, which again, is the highest payout of any event in snooker. 

The following is a breakdown of the payouts for players in each round (includes preliminary rounds):

  • Winner: £425,000
  • Runner Up: £180,000
  • Semi Final: £85,000
  • Quarter Final: £42,500
  • Last 16: £27,500
  • Last 32: £18,000
  • Last 48: £13,500
  • Last 80: £9,000
  • Televised Highest Break: £10,000
  • Non-Televised Highest Break: £1,000
  • 147 Break: £40,000

In the last 10 years, the amount of money that is on offer has pretty much doubled from £980,000 in 2008 to £1,968,000 in 2018. The money that is coming in has mainly been through sponsorship and the work that Barry Hearn and Matchroom sports do for the sport behind the scene. 

Sponsorship

Sponsors have played a huge roll in the success of the World Snooker Championship. For all but two years from 1969 to 2005 the sponsors have been that of tobacco companies. The most famous has been Embassy, who sponsored from 1976 through to 2005. But, a change in legislation from 2003 onwards stated that tobacco companies were no longer allowed to sponsor sporting events due to health risk that were caused from smoking.

Since then snooker has moved away from tobacco and have been sponsored by betting companies as a result. Brand such as 888.com, Betfred, Betfair and Dafabet.com have all been main sponsors for the tournament. 

TV Coverage

One of the reasons why the sport has been so popular has been down to the fact that for the majority of years it’s ben viewable on terrestrial TV. The BBC have been long-time hosts of the World championship after first showing the event as early as the 1950s. 

The progress and amount of snooker that was shown on TV took several years to develop. They first started showing highlights of the semi-final and final, before then being able to provide viewers with longer format highlight shows of earl round matches as well. 

By 1980, daily live coverage of matches started to be implemented and this was at the same time when the ‘boom’ years of snooker started to take effect. Since then the BBC have been at the forefront of snooker on the TV and now show several live matches each day as well as extended highlights packages on the night. 

The viewing figures have dropped off from the mid 80s, where 18.5 million people tuned to watch an iconic final between Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor. In more recent times the finals have averaged around 3.5 million, which is still a pretty decent return, although not scaling the heights of yesteryear. 

Statistics

The most screenful player to have played in the World Championships is that of Stephen Hendry. He managed to win 7 titles in total form his 27 appearances, giving him a win rate percentage od 25.9%. This rate is only bettered by that of Ray Reardon, who won 6 titles from his 19 appearances, amassing a staggering 31.6% win ratio. 

Hendry also holds the records for most finals with 9 in total and is joint top with the most 147 breaks (3), with Ronnie Sullivan. Since the best of 35 frame final came into play in 1980, the shortest match in the tournament’s history came in 1989, when Steve Davis steam rolled that of John Parrot en route to his 5th and final Championship title. The longest game was in 2002 when Peter Ebdon beat Stephen Hendry 18-17. The match was iconic not only in score, but also that is was the last time that Hendry would play in the final at the Championships after winning 7 titles. 

History

Snooker is dated back to around the mid 19th century when a format of billiards was adapted. The game had the current set up of red balls and colours and soon took off in popularity by the end of the century. The name came from a slang term, which meant inept, but it was something that caught on and was widely referred to as the game they were playing. It was Sir Neville Chamberlain who came out as the founder of the sport, although this was some 64 years after it had been first played. 

The first World Championships were held in 1927 and included the top 10 platers in the world along with professional billiards players as well. After the draw was made, players needed to make their own arrangements over when their games were played and had to play be a certain date. However, the semi-final and the final were both played in Birmingham to attract crowds to watch. 

The first official match was played between Melbourne Inman and Tom Newman at Thurston Hall, London. The snooker, however, was seen as a side event to the billiards that was being played at the same time. The format of the games were long and played over several days. It was Joe Davis that was eventually crowned the champion. 

The move to the Crucible came about in 1977. The sport was continuing to grow and the standard of tables that players were playing on previously at different venues were causing much unrest amongst the players. The Crucible has since hosted every World Championship match since and is widely regarded as the best place to play snooker in the world.

Joe Davis

Before the modern era started in 1969 and the tournament moved to a knockout format, Joe Davis was the greatest player the world had seen. He’d won 16 Championships in a row, but what was probably most impressive was that all 16 were won consecutively from 1927 to 1946. 

For many years he was the oldest World Snooker Champion as well, winning his last tournament aged 45 years and 33 days. This was until Ray Readon won at the age of 45 years and 203 days in 1978. On top of that, he was also World Billiard champion 4 times between 1928 and 1932. 

Steve Davis

Steve Davis was often referred to as the poster boy of world snooker back in 70s. He’d been able to burst on the scene as a young player and throughout the 1980’s was dominant in the world of snooker. Davis managed to win 6 titles in total from 1981 to 1989, in what is described as the Golden Generation of snooker. 

He had a very slow and deliberate style and won a fair few matches just through the frustration mounting of his opponents. He’s also been involved in what was probably the most exhilarating final of all time in 1985 when he lost out to Dennis Taylor 18-17. The game went down to the final black of the final game, with both players having chances to win the match. It was Taylor who managed to hold his nerve and get over the line in front of a UK audience of over 18.5million, a record for the sport that still stands today. 

Triple Crown

The Triple Crown is an illustrious award that is given to players who have won the UK Championship, The Masters and the World Championship, all within the same season. There are only 10 players that have ever achieved this feat, which include Steve Davis, Terry Griffiths, Alex Higgins, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy. 

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