World Snooker Championship

World Snooker Championship: Best bets and 6/1 score tips for round one

Former semi-finalist Gary Wilson
Gary Wilson is tipped to make light work of Stuart Bingham

Paul Krishnamurty runs through his best bets for the opening round, advising a betting plan for five matches...

  • Declining Bingham must be opposed

  • O'Connor capable of pulling off huge upset

  • Correct score combos offer good value

Back Gary Wilson to blitz the handicap

My first round nap gets underway on Monday at 10am. Frankly, this match seems priced on old form.

The 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham has been an admirable servant to the sport but has deteriorated rapidly over the past couple of years. He's only gone past the last-32 once this term and, thinking back to the previous season, the only time he looked anything like the force of old came when winning two matches to reach the Masters semi, where he then lost 6-0.

In contrast, Gary Wilson is arguably the most upwardly mobile player in the top-16. He's won two ranking events in the past five months and could plausibly have won more were it not for Ronnie O'Sullivan (twice) and eventual Players Championship winner Mark Allen.

Back Gary Wilson to win the -1.5 Frame Handicap @ 1.834/5

Bet here

Gary is a former Crucible semi-finalist, (as a qualifier), and a dark horse for the title. To land this bet, he needs to win 10-8 or better. To get close, Bingham will need to perform considerably better than when scraping through qualifying 10-9 and 10-8 against vastly inferior opponents to Wilson.

O'Connor can run Selby close

If you're looking for a massive upset in the first round, this could be it. Four-time champion and six-time finalist Mark Selby is the definition of a Crucible legend, but may well be in terminal decline. The Jester has even talked of retirement in recent months.

Back Joe O'Connor to win the +3.5 Frame Handicap @ 1/12.00

Bet here

Writing him off completely is premature but Selby rarely thrashes opponents and, if Joe O'Connor can settle quickly on his Crucible debut, he will be no pushover.

The world number 30 is an excellent match player and came through qualifying impressively, hammering the capable Julian Leclerq 10-1 before edging out another tough match player in Matthew Selt. Winning the seven frames to land this handicap bet is well within his compass.

Kyren to maintain fine Crucible run

My favourite market for these multi-session matches is correct scores. The plan is to identify matches about which I'm very confident about the winner, then back a range of scores. That offers quite a margin of error.

First, Kyren Wilson looks a total banker against Dominic Dale, whom he hasn't lost to for nine years. He's also won his last eight first round matches at the Crucible. That said, he's unlikely to thrash an experienced competitor like Dale, especially coming off a poor season.

Back Kyren Wilson to win 10-5 @ 6/17.00

Bet here

There are no odds available yet as this match doesn't start until Tuesday, but I expect 10-4, 10-5 and 10-6 will be available around the 6/17.00 mark. Combined, that trio of scores should pay around 11/82.38. That seems a good way of backing a 1/81.12 chance.

Allen too good for Williams

Try a similar plan in the Mark Allen v Robbie Williams match. The latter is making his fourth Crucible appearance, but first in eight years. He lost in the first round on all three previous occasions and, whilst a solid match player, is vastly inferior to title contender Allen.

In this case, I'll go for 10-5, 10-6 and 10-7.

Back Mark Allen to win 10-6 @ 6/17.00

Bet here

Jackson Page can perform with credit

Finally, the GOAT himself. Were Jackson Page to defeat Ronnie O'Sullivan, it would rank among the all-time greatest Crucible upsets. I don't, however, think the youngster will be blown away.

Still only 22, Page has built up a lot of experience on the main tour and is beginning to fulfil his potential. He reached the semi-final of the World Open and pulled off a brilliant win to reach the Crucible, beating Noppon Saengkham 10-9.

Ronnie doesn't always hit the ground running, so let's try a 10-5, 10-6 and 10-7 combo here too, paying around 6/42.50.

Back Ronnie O'Sullivan to win 10-6 @ 6/17.00

Bet here

Read now World Snooker Championship 2024: Four to follow from 11/4 to triple figure odds

*Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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