Rocket can nail hat-trick

  • By: Jeff Anderson
  • Last Updated: April 20 2014, 10:27 BST

Snooker expert Jeff Anderson has a track record of tipping up winners on our site.

Ronnie O'Sullivan: Reigning world champion
Ronnie O'Sullivan: Reigning world champion

He picked out Neil Robertson (8/1) for the UK Championship earlier this season, while last year he successful backed Ronnie O'Sullivan (13/2) to win the world title, just weeks after backing Ali Carter (25/1) to win the German Masters.

He's siding with O'Sullivan again for this year's World Championship, which starts on Saturday, but also has some tasty, big-priced outsiders for you - his full preview can be found below.

The World Snooker Championship starts this Saturday morning when Ronnie O'Sullivan opens proceedings against Finland's Robin Hull.

'The Rocket' is bidding to make it three in a row at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre - a remarkable statistic in the modern era with the higher standard of play on the tour.

To back that up, the last player to retain the world title was Stephen Hendry in 1996.

O'Sullivan has been on fire this season, notably winning the Masters at a canter and selecting his tournaments to suit. With his head right thanks to Dr Steve Peters, the O'Sullivan wants to surpass Hendry's record of seven world titles. He currently has five.

Steve Davis went on record this week as saying that O'Sullivan, who is 38, could still win at the highest level well into his 40s.

After his success last year he was chalked up at 5/1 to win in 2014 and has been shortened to a best-priced 7/5. He simply cannot be discounted because he really wants this and has been practising his socks off in Sheffield, as he did last year, to prepare for his defence.

He usually prevails when focused and even at 7/5 has to be worth backing, especially as he has been handed a decent draw.

For those seeking a bigger price, I'll look to the other half of the draw in search of some each-way value.

Judd Trump has had a quiet season but impressed in the Championship League when prevailing last month and has a good draw in quarter four too.

Opening against Tom Ford, he is then seeded to play Stephen Maguire who is probably past his best and only occasionally capable of snooker good enough to compete against the current top players.

The 12/1 about Trump is worth an each-way punt.

Neil Robertson has disappointed me recently, although much has been made of his 93 century breaks to date this season. For me, he hasn't shown the consistent form lately to prevail and his quarter, which includes Trump and Mark Allen, is tough too so I'm happy to leave the Aussie alone.

One player I do like at a really big price is Xiao Guodong. The Chinese player, who has practiced with O'Sullivan to prepare for his debut at the Crucible, works with Terry Griffiths at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

Up to 25th in the world rankings, he has had his best season and reached the final of the Shanghai Masters before going down 10-6 to an in-form Ding Junhui.

What you need at the Crucible is to be a bit arrogant and to fancy yourself to do well. Xiao has a cockiness to him which will help him perform in this cauldron-like atmosphere. Many first-timers do fall over here - especially if they get behind early on. He does has a tough opener against Ali Carter who, has at times impressed me in this campaign, but if can get past the 'Captain' then the draw could open up for him.

He could meet Mark Selby in the last 16, who has really disappointed this season and is not guaranteed to get past last year's quarter-finalist Michael White.

I'll therefore have a bet on Xiao to win quarter three at 12/1 and a highly speculative each-way punt at 125/1 to lift the title - purely because he is on the way up and believes in himself enough to win.

In the match betting, Kyren Wilson is worth backing against last year's semi-finalist Ricky Walden at 5/2. After Wilson had beaten Graeme Dott 10-7 in the final qualifying round this week, the former champion remarked that on that form Wilson could do well here and the Scot felt his own game had been decent.

I'll also back Wilson to win quarter two at 28/1 because, along with quarter three, it is a weak section of the draw.

  • Posted at 2020 BST on 17/04/2014.