Ronnie O’Sullivan to avoid an upset in Crucible opener
The World Snooker Championship at the Crucible continues on Monday with three more first round matches, with three-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan among the players in action…
Stephen Maguire vs Barry Hawkins
Despite 2007 being the only time that Maguire has reached the semi-finals previously, he hasn’t been eliminated in the first round since 2005, so it’s no surprise that the sixth seed is 2/5 to defeat the English qualifier.
Hawkins has exited at this stage in each of the last five years, though it’s worth noting that in three of the last four years, he has lost by either one or two frames. The Dartford-born potter is evens to win with a +2.5 frame handicap advantage.
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Dominic Dale
The sport’s most famous figure is having a nightmare season and has suffered three straight opening round losses, and that form sees him rated a distant 15/2 to land his fourth Crucible title.
Despite showing a recent vulnerability to early embarrassment, it is 10/3 that he is upset by Dale, who has beaten him in one of their seven previous meetings.
Eleven years have passed since the Welshman last made the round-of-16 though and O’Sullivan hasn’t endured an instant departure in Sheffield in eight years, so it’s difficult to see past the Rocket bouncing back at 2/9.
Peter Ebdon v Stuart Bingham
Both of these men are rated outsiders in the winner market, with Ebdon 80/1 and Bingham 125/1, however it’s the 2002 champion Ebdon that is the 4/6 to triumph in their encounter.
The three-time finalist has underwhelmed in the last few World Snooker Championships but has won three of his four previous clashes with Bingham, who has made the final 16 of just one of his last four tournaments.
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