The multi-sport Bet Enthusiast service includes snooker but we have not had too many bets for this sport to date. We will be carrying out some research ahead of the World Championships in April. Bet Enthusiast appeared in the Betfan February Top 10 for proofing purposes and we will be looking to extend our snooker coverage over the next three months.
The most significant news with regards the sport of snooker is that Ronnie O’Sullivan has indicated he will defending the world title he won last year. He decided to take a year long sabbatical from the sport but now looks like trying to win the world title for the fifth time in his career.
It would be a fine achievement if the Rocket even won a match in Sheffield. He has played just one match since winning the world title last year and most of his playing time has been in frames against a friend. He has reported that he is regularly knocking in hundred breaks and that has encouraged him to end his absence from the game.
O’Sullivan is a player like Alex Higgins and Jimmy White with massive amounts of natural ability. All three players could be classed as flawed geniuses and have often been in the news for events away from the table during stormy careers. White never won the world championship but was unfortunate to be at his best during the Stephen Hendry era.
Hendry retired from the game last year after winning seven world championships. Steve Davis won six world titles and lost in two other finals, most famously against Dennis Taylor in 1985 in a match that was decided when Taylor potted the final black in the deciding frame. Hendry beat White in four finals including in 1994 when he won by one just one frame in a best of 35 match.
Higgins won the world title in 1972 and again ten years later. He arguably had more natural ability than Hendry and Davis and with better application could have won more world titles. The achievements of Hendry and Davis cannot be undervalued as they had the discipline and dedication to stay at the top of the sport over a sustained period of time.
O’Sullivan is 8/1 third favourite to win the world title this spring. Only Judd Trump and Mark Selby are currently quoted at a shorter price in what looks like being a wide open championship. Selby would have to be the form pick at this stage. However, as defending champion O’Sullivan will be the number one seed and could get a decent draw.
Playing friendly matches against a pal and producing big breaks is one thing but competing over extended matches in the world championships is a completely different proposition. It would go down as one of O’Sullivan’s greatest achievements if he could win the tournament this year. However, he can be so unpredictable that he could announce his retirement from the game if things don’t go his way.
Back next Friday.