World Snooker Final Tips: Sublime Selby can claim his third title

Selby's semi-final against Ding was a true Crucible classic
Selby's semi-final against Ding was a true Crucible classic

In a re-run of the 2007 final, Mark Selby and John Higgins will lock horns at the Crucible. Will the defending champion assert supremacy or the old-timer turn back the clock. Paul Krishnamurty previews the best of 35 frame marathon...

"He's never seemed more deserving of number one status and has timed his run into form to perfection...Selby came good in the China Open and it's hard to see him not finishing the season in style."

A fabulous fortnight at the Crucible has showcased snooker's rude health, with more world-class players on display than ever before. For all the promise of future champions though, proven championship pedigree has prevailed. Today's best-of-35 final is a repeat of 2007, with Mark Selby and John Higgins chasing their third and fifth world title respectively.

The betting reflects how momentum has shifted over the past decade. Then Selby was a qualifier having the run of life while Higgins was at the peak of his powers. Now the Jester from Leicester is the runaway world number one, the defending champion chasing his third major from four. The Wizard of Wishaw a legend who sometimes recaptures that level in lesser events, appearing in his first final for six years.

Regardless of wider form, what we've seen in Sheffield points firmly towards Selby. Especially after Judd Trump was eliminated, there's been a marked gulf between either side of the draw which the semis really emphasised. The Selby v Ding classic felt like the final, with both producing a standard that would surely have blown anyone else away. Hawkins v Higgins was, by comparison, poor.

To to be fair, Higgins could do no more than win each round comfortably. Only Mark Allen really tested him and he responded with two sublime sessions. It was the same for Selby until he needed to rise to the occasion yesterday.

Over the years they've been very well matched. Selby leads 7-5 and edged their most recent encounter at the UK Championship in a deciding frame. Whilst he is the underdog, Higgins has the professionalism and resilience to compete. Age doesn't worry me in the least - he is made for this sort of marathon and intense pressure.

Nevertheless I must stick with Selby, one of my initial four picks. He's never seemed more deserving of number one status and has timed his run into form to perfection. Several others were more convincing in the first three months of 2017 but Selby came good in the China Open and it's hard to see him not finishing the season in style.

That said, outright odds of 1.42/5 are very prohibitive and it would be very easy to construct a case for a back to lay on Higgins at 3.55/2 in hope that he builds an early lead. Instead, let's try a quartet of correct scores that reflect a clear Selby win rather than a thrashing. Backing Selby to win 18-12 through to 18-15 pays approximately 3.39/4 combined.


Recommended bets

Back Mark Selby to win 18-12 1u @ 13.012/1
Back Mark Selby to win 18-13 1u @ 13.012/1
Back Mark Selby to win 18-14 1u @ 13.012/1
Back Mark Selby to win 18-15 1u @ 14.013/1


Watch every match of this year's World Snooker Championship on Betfair Live Video


Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

Tournament Profit/Loss:

Stakes: 109 units
Returns: 102 units

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles