Back Ronnie O'Sullivan 20u @ 2.447/5
As with any event the greatest player of all-time chooses to enter, this year's World Championship is all about one man. If Ronnie O'Sullivan produces anything like his best, he will win this for the third straight year and get to within one of Stephen Hendry's record seven world titles. If he were to be beaten, up to a dozen alternative players come into the equation.
The case for a big bet on the tournament favourite is made here in detail. Most of the argument is obvious, but an additional factor is the draw. As if Ronnie needed any help, he's pitched against the lowest ranked qualifier first up, Robin Hull. In the last-16, the limited Joe Perry is unlikely to present any threat.
Shaun Murphy and Marco Fu represent tougher obstacles in the quarter-finals, but hardly daunting ones given their respective recent form compared to Ronnie. Nor do any of the qualifiers make much appeal, although I could see Martin Gould enjoying a good run.
Back Ding Junhui 6u @ 8.88/1
In any other year, these sort of odds about the player of the year would appear huge. Ding already equalled Stephen Hendry's all-time record number of ranking wins in a season and rates by far the likeliest player to upset the favourite. On the evidence of his 9-3 defeat to Ronnie in the Welsh final, he will have his work cut out but we didn't see his best on that occasion.
I suspect he'll reach the semis and lose, but nobody appeals more in this section. Like Ronnie, Ding's path to the quarters looks very straightforward with Michael Wasley and, worst ways, Mark Davis awaiting. At the last eight, he's scheduled to meet either last year's runner-up Barry Hawkins or Ricky Walden. Neither is certain to get through the first round.
Back Ali Carter 1u ew @ 50/1 (1/2 odds to reach final with Betfair Sportsbook)
The traditional method for opposing a short-priced favourite is to back somebody in the other half of the draw each-way and this section offers such an opportunity. The man to beat is Mark Selby, but the Jester can hardly be a confident pick after an indifferent season. First-round opponent Michael White is no pushover either.
John Higgins has hinted at finding something like his best form and Stuart Bingham, while inconsistent, has served it up to big-names this year. Indeed, Bingham is the last man to beat Ronnie in a major, at the UK Championship.
However I prefer twice runner-up Ali Carter at a tasty 50/1. Both of Carter's world final defeats came at the hands of O'Sullivan and I can see history repeating itself. He prefers these longer matches and, having signalled a long overdue return to form by reaching the China Open semis last time, could be under the radar.
Back Stephen Maguire 1u @ 70.069/1
Finally, the quarter of death involving four seeds who have been among the favourites for recent renewals. Neil Robertson remains world number one, but the Aussie has been very disappointing ever since winning the UK Championship in December.
So too has Mark Allen, although he is a big price at 38.037/1 and the type that can find form overnight. As always Judd Trump is popular with punters, for reasons that escape form students. Judd hasn't won an event since 2012 and faces a tough opener against Tom Ford.
Far more interesting at 70.069/1 is Judd's likely second round opponent. Billed as a future world champion since childhood, Stephen Maguire has produced some superb snooker at the Crucible only to fall short in the latter stages, and hasn't been anything like these odds since becoming a top-16 player. He has no reason to fear any rivals in this half of the draw and has a decent head-to-head record against Robertson.