Can Ronnie O'Sullivan Defend His Crown At The Crucible?
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Can Ronnie O’Sullivan Defend His Crown At The Crucible?

The 2023 World Snooker Championship at the world-renowned Crucible Theatre is set to kick off on April 15, welcoming some of the best snooker players who’ll battle it out for the lion’s share of the £2,395,000 prize pool and the eternal glory that comes with winning the prestigious tournament.

2023 World Snooker Championship Format & Schedule

The 2023 World Snooker Championship kicked off with the qualifying stage on April 3 at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, which lasted until April 12. The qualifying event featured a field of 128 players who got reduced to 16 and secured their spot at the main event, slated to kick off on Saturday, April 15.

  • Date: April 15 – May 1
  • Venue: Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England
  • Where to Watch: BBC, Eurosport, Discovery+

The 2023 World Snooker Championship main draw will see 32 snooker players seeded into a single elimination bracket, which will kick off on April 15 with the first round.

  • First-round matches – April 15-20 as best-of-19 frames
  • Second-round – April 20-24 as best-of-25 frames
  • Quarter-finals – April 25-26 as best-of-25 frames
  • Semifinals – April 27-29 as best-of-33 frames
  • Finals – April 30 – May 1, as best-of-35 frames

Tournament Draw

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan v Pang Junxu
  • Ding Junhui v Hossein Vafaei
  • Luca Brecel v Ricky Walden
  • Mark Williams v Jimmy Robertson
  • Judd Trump v Anthony McGill
  • Jack Lisowski v Noppon Saengkham
  • Robert Milkins v Joe Perry
  • Shaun Murphy v Si Jiahui
  • Mark Allen v Fan Zhengyi
  • Stuart Bingham v David Gilbert
  • Ali Carter v Jak Jones
  • Neil Robertson v Wu Yize
  • Kyren Wilson v Ryan Day
  • John Higgins v David Grace
  • Gary Wilson v Elliot Slessor
  • Mark Selby v Matthew Selt

Brendan Moore, who officiated the 2014 and 2018 finals, will take charge of the 2023 World Snooker Championship grand final before retiring as a professional snooker referee.

The Draw | 2023 Cazoo World Championship

O’Sullivan Expected To Defend His Crown

The 2023 World Snooker Championship will welcome many exceptional snooker players. Still, according to the latest snooker outright betting odds, it’s the defending champion, Ronnie O’Sullivan, who is the man to watch.

Ronnie O'Sullivan Makes It Seven World Titles | Eurosport Snooker

The seven-time world champion is priced (5.00 at bet365) as the leading candidate to do it again and claim his third world title in four years. But even though he is someone who can go all the way, it’s hard to ignore Mark Selby (6.00), Judd Trump (7-00), and Neil Robertson (8.00), who round up the leading four candidates to win at the Crucible.

Behind the quartet, there are a few exciting players who’ve enjoyed some success at the Crucible Theatre before yet are not given much attention by the sportsbooks. That includes Mark Williams (17.00), John Higgins (17.00), Kyren Wilson (15.00), Mark Allen (15.00), and Shaun Murphy (10.00), who are all live outsiders to do some damage.

The list of potential candidates to win the 2023 World Snooker Championship is far longer than that, but given the tournament’s history, it’s unlikely for any big outsider to come out on top. We can give some attention to Ali Carter, who made the Players Championship final but while an interesting outsider, his recent form isn’t that great.

2023 World Snooker Championship Betting Odds Comparison

Player / BookmakerBet365William HillUnibet
Ronnie O’Sullivan5.005.005.50
Mark Selby6.006.506.50
Judd Trump7.007.007.00
Neil Robertson8.008.508.50
Shaun Murphy10.009.0010.00
Mark Allen15.0013.0015.00
Kyren Wilson15.0015.0015.00
John Higgins17.0017.0019.00
Mark Williams17.0019.0021.00
Ding Junhui21.0026.0021.00
Jack Lisowski29.0026.0029.00
Ali Carter34.0034.0034.00
Luca Brecel41.0041.0051.00
Stuart Bingham41.0041.0051.00
Anthony McGill51.0051.0051.00
David Gilbert67.0067.0067.00
Gary Wilson67.0067.0067.00
Hossein Vafaei81.0081.0081.00
Robert Milkins81.0081.0081.00
Ryan Day81.0081.00
Noppon Saengkham101.0081.0081.00
Ricky Walden101.0081.0081.00
Joe Perry126.00101.00101.00
Pang Junxu151.00126.00151.00
Fan Zhengyi151.00151.00201.00
Matthew Selt151.00151.00151.00
Si Jiahui151.00151.00251.00
Wu Yize201.00201.00251.00
Jimmy Robertson201.00151.00176.00
Jak Jones201.00201.00251.00
Elliot Slessor301.00251.00201.00
David Grace401.00301.00351.00

Williams And Selby Can Impress

Even though it’s fair to consider O’Sullivan as the leading candidate to win the 2023 World Snooker Championship, it’s hard to look past two names, Mark Selby and Mark Williams, as strong players with the tools to come out on top.

Williams has been one of the most consistent players in recent years, and his third world title in 2018 proves that he has the Crucible pedigree, which has proven essential for any future world champion. And let’s not forget that he has reached two QFs at the Crucible since his victory in 2018.

On the other side, Selby seems fit for his fifth crown, given how dominant he has been in this event over the last decade. He won The Crucible four times (and was a bit unlucky not to do it in 2021). Admittedly, he suffered an R2 exit here in 2022, but he was dealing with depression at the time, so it’s hard to put too much weight on that result.

O’Sullivan, Selby, Williams or anyone else, there is no telling who will come out on top at The Crucible. But we can be sure we’re in for another exciting two weeks of top-level snooker.

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