World Snooker Championship Tips: Take a punt on Thepchaiya to stun the Rocket

Snooker player Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan has struggled on recent Crucible visits

As Ronnie O'Sullivan starts his title bid, Paul Krishnamurty reckons his talented opponent will stay close and could even cause an upset...

"Slessor stormed through three matches of qualifying, winning 16 frames out of 20 in the last two rounds against superior opposition."

Back Elliot Slessor 5u @ 3/14.0
Place order to lay Slessor 10u @ 8/111.75

The highlight of the first round draw in mine and I guess most snooker fan views starts on Sunday. Ronnie O'Sullivan is always the star attraction but very rarely does he face opponents whom are equally as quick and exciting.

Having qualified for the third straight year Thepchaiya Un-Nooh is entitled to curse his luck. In 2018, he drew John Higgins and lost 10-7. Last year he gave Judd Trump the hardest match of his successful campaign, losing 10-9 in the first round after leading 7-4.

Thai star performed well here twice previously

Two good efforts here then and there's good reason to think the Thai could make it third time lucky. This has been his most productive season to date, reaching the World Open final and three further ranking quarter-finals. He hit seven breaks over 70 in the final qualifying round.

Moreover whilst O'Sullivan remains among the most daunting opponents, he hasn't produced anything like his best in recent Crucible renewals. His mindset and focus always involve guessing.

Not ideal when backing heavy odds-on, against an opponent who
presents a greater threat than last year's giantkiller James Cahill and similar perhaps to Ronnie's 2018 conqueror, Ali Carter.

I'm having a small interest on Un-Nooh at 4/14.8 for the match and 11/10 about winning seven frames via the 3.5 Frame Handicap. He reached that target on both previous, losing visits.

Back Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 1u @ 4/14.8
Back Thepchaiya Un-Nooh to win the 3.5 Frame Handicap 4u @ 11/10

Indeed that would be in keeping with the tournament so far. Even though the favourites have been winning, matches have been close. Further fuel to the theory that qualifiers would enjoy an early edge due to match sharpness.

Bingtao no cert against in-form opponent

With that in mind, Elliot Slessor is a tasty price to beat Yan Bingtao. The latter has a fabulous future and has been talked up as an outsider for the title, but that builds pressure on the 20 year-old. For the first time at the Crucible, he isn't the underdog.

In Slessor, he plays a talented, fluent. yet erratic opponent, who incidentally has beaten Ronnie twice. He stormed through three matches of qualifying, winning 16 frames out of 20 in the last two rounds against superior opposition, hitting three tons.

Here, let's try a back to lay on the outsider, taking 3/14.0 pre-match, then placing a lay order to cash most of the position out at 8/111.75, at least doubling our money if hitting the target.

Back Elliot Slessor 5u @ 3/14.0
Place order to lay Slessor 10u @ 8/111.75


Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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