Attending the 45th edition of the World Snooker Championship are some of the most successful snooker players in the history of the sport, including the three-time champion Mark Selby and the reigning six-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan. Stephen Hendry, who has won the championship record seven times won’t be traveling to Crucible Theatre due to his loss against Xu Si in the qualifiers.
2021 World Snooker Championship Tournament Preview
Slated to take place from April 17 – May 3, at Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. England, the 2021 World Snooker Championship will mark the 15th and final ranking event of the 2020/21 snooker season.
The 32-player main draw will feature the reigning champion O’Sullivan and top-16 players in the latest snooker world rankings. The remaining 15 seeds get allocated based on the latest world rankings.
When we talk about the World Snooker Championship, there is no phrase that gets tossed around quite frequently – the Crucible Curse. And it’s no laughing manner.
How Real Is The Crucible Curse?
The Crucible curse, the curse of the Crucible, or sometimes the Crucible Jinx is essentially a way to let everyone know that every first-time snooker world champion has failed to defend the title next year. The so-called curse began way back in 1977 when the tournament moved to its current venue the Crucible Theatre – hence its name.
The last player to successfully defend the title was John Pulman in 1964. Since the venue changes to the Crucible Theatre, not a single out of 18 world champions managed to break the curse.
Most recent to experience it was Judd Trump, who got beaten in the quarter-finals of the 2020 event.
First-time world champions who experienced the Crucible curse:
Terry Griffiths (1980), Cliff Thorburn (1981), Steve Davis (1982), Dennis Taylor (1986), Joe Johnson (1987), Stephen Hendry (1991), John Parrott (1992), Ken Doherty (1998), John Higgins (1999), Mark Williams (2001), Ronnie O’Sullivan (2002), Peter Ebdon (2003), Shaun Murphy (2006), Graeme Dott (2007), Neil Robertson (2011), Mark Selby (2015), Stuart Bingham (2016), Judd Trump (2020).
Favorites Rarely win the World Snooker Championship
Since 1981 to now, a fairly low number of favorites ended up winning the title. During that stretch, only 15 favorites ended up with the trophy in their hands, while 26 failed to do the same.
What’s more, those numbers include Steve Davis (1983-1984, 1987-1989) and Stephen Hendry’s (1992-1996) eras of dominance. Excluding the two, the favorites won the championship only six times.
Ronnie O’Sullivan was billed as the man to beat between 2000-2009 and has managed to justify that tag with three titles. He returned to the top of the bookie’s favorites list in 2013 and remained at the top until 2017, and added two more titles.
Players to Watch Out For & Outright Betting Predictions
Judd Trump enters the 2021 World Snooker Championship as the main favorite (3.60 at Bet365) to win his second title after he fell out of the Crucible Curse last year. Despite the worrying trend of favorites dropping the ball, Trump is expected to add another trophy to his name, and it’s hard to argue with that.
There are some who favor O’Sullivan – and that’s completely fine. But we wouldn’t count on it.
Out of the two, Trump is the only one to win a ranking event this season, while O’Sullivan made a few finals, but lost them all. Trump has reached 18 finals in the last two and a half years and won 15.
It may not be obvious, but Trump is clearly the best player on the planet as of now. He has more than twice the world rankings points even though he wasn’t too great at Majors.
Last year, Trump made it to the quarter-finals but lost against the eventual finalists Kyren Wilson. And that loss was entirely forgivable – given how solid Wilson was last year, and of course the Crucible Curse.
There is a world where Trump crashes out of the quarter-finals again, but we wouldn’t count on him losing any sooner. Even so, Trump is known for saving his best for the toughest opponents, and there are not many players who can beat Trump at his best.
Prediction: Judd Trump to win – 3.60 at Bet365
John Higgins might not be at the level of Trump – no one is – but he has a realistic shot at winning the whole thing if Judd Trump stumbled somewhere along the way.
Higgins has shown great form of late and is the main man to beat in his half of the draw. He looked very good at the Tour Championship, where he crashed out of the quarters after a 8-10 loss to O’Sullivan.
Despite his loss, Higgins put up a valiant effort and did not disappoint, so you have to put some faith in him. Additionally, his draw is not exactly tough at least as long as the “Wizard of Wishaw” can keep playing the way he has for the past few months.
Prediction: John Higgins to win – 10.00 at Bet365
No tournament betting preview is complete without a longshot prediction, and for this tournament, we have picked Mark Allen. Priced at 23.00 to win it all, Allen is far from one of the main names to watch, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t stand a chance.
Despite his iffy Crucible record, Allen is definitely a match to watch. He is undeniably a high-quality player, and anyone doubting that can look back at what Allen has done at Champion of Champions in November 2020.
A player of his quality surely can’t end his career with only one semi-final and three quarter-finals appearances. It’s only a matter of time before Allen will get shot at glory, and who are we to say he can’t do it in 2021?
Prediction: Mark Allen to win e/w – 23.00
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