A 27-year veteran and former World Champion

Who better to ask for tips ahead of a great weekend at the Crucible than John Parrott?

I’m really looking forward to the Crucible this year. Last year we saw Stuart Bingham come from nowhere to take the title at long odds. He did that the hard way as well, knocking out Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy along the way. But I don’t think he’s in the running this year. I’ve found a nice outsider to keep an eye on for outright and a 4/1 accumulator for Saturday’s round one matches. Marco Fu, Stuart Bingham

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If you had asked me six months ago who will win the World Championships in April, I probably would’ve gone with Ronnie O’Sullivan. He is the outright favourite at odds of. His year has been like a yo-yo, up and down. After taking a sabbatical we all wondered if he’d find form again. He blitzed the Masters and has been on fire ever since. The problem with the World Championship is that it’s 17 days long and we’ve seen Ronnie lose focus before. He should get to the quarter final at least but it could get tricky then.

Neil Robertson is seemingly the main danger. He’s second favourite at but has gone slightly off the boil lately. He’s one of my favourite players to watch because when he’s on form, there’s no stopping him. His biggest test will probably come in the quarter final as well.

We all thought Mark Selby would kick on after winning the world title in 2014 but it hasn’t happened. He could be value this year at odds of after taking a mini-sabbatical. He’s not had a lot of match practice which will be tricky in his first round game against Robert Milkins. He needs to start well though because Milkins has proved himself.

But my bet to win the World Championship is Judd Trump at. He took the China Open in style last week which ironically gave him a harder draw at the Crucible. His form is hot and he seems to have matured a lot in the last year. He faces Liang Wenbo in the first round which could trouble him as they usually practice together. I suspect he’ll come through that and once he gets going, I don’t think anyone will stop him.

 

Saturday’s action

Stuart Bingham vs Ali Carter – 10am

One of the players that Stuart Bingham would’ve least wanted to face in the first round is Ali Carter. Carter has won the last six meetings between the pair. They grew up together in the local Essex leagues and Carter seems to have the hold over the champion. Back Carter at odds of.

Marco Fu vs Peter Ebdon – 10am

This one is going to be quite slow. Ebdon had an amazing qualification for the Crucible, coming from 9-3 down to win a match 10-9 at 2.30 in the morning so make sure you’ve a coffee ready. Fu always seems to come in under the radar despite being an established match play player and I expect him to win at odds of.

 

Shaun Murphy vs Anthony McGill – 2:30pm

This is a really interesting tie. McGill came through qualifying last year and romped to the quarter final which included a victory over the champion Selby. He was knocked out by Shaun Murphy and the draw has them pitted against each other in round 1. Murphy comes into this championship in scintillating form and will beat McGill at.

Stephen Maguire vs Alan McManus – 2:30pm

A nice all-Scottish affair to finish off day one. These lads have been playing each other for decades and know each other inside out. I expect Maguire to come out on top in a corker though at odds of.

  • Pot the red and screw back for the yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black with our latest World Championship match odds here