Ronnie O’Sullivan is a worthy favourite to win snooker’s top prize

Ronnie O’Sullivan on his way to winning the Masters in January (Picture: Getty Images)

By and large it has paid handsomely to back the favourites in this year’s biggest sporting tournaments.

Jannik Sinner and Aryna Sabalenka were not the market leaders to win the Australian Open but since then the most fancied participants have emerged triumphant in the greatest shows on earth.

Defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers to win a nail-biting Super Bowl in February before Liverpool beat Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley.

Punters’ attentions then turned to horse racing and the Willie Mullins-trained Galopin Des Champs was first past the post to win a second straight Cheltenham Gold Cup in March before joint-favourite I Am Maximus won Saturday’s Grand National.

The sequence was then continued when world No.1 Scottie Scheffler powered home by four shots to win his second Masters at Augusta on Sunday.

It’s still a relatively small sample size but the trend can continue when the World Snooker Championship commences at The Crucible on Saturday.

Judd Trump will be one of O’Sullivan’s biggest obstacles

Judd Trump will be one of O’Sullivan’s biggest obstacles (Picture: VCG via Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan may have a love/hate relationship with the Sheffield venue but there’s no doubt it brings out the best in his spectacular abilities. The Rocket has won the title seven times and chases a record eighth victory in the blue-riband event this time around.

He was going well 12 months ago when he was beaten in the quarter-finals by Belgian Luca Brecel, who showed that was no fluke by going on to beat Mark Selby 18-15 in the final.

O’Sullivan has gained a degree of revenge by beating Brecel in the Shanghai Masters and World Masters finals and he has also won the World Grand Prix and the Masters before recently losing to Mark Williams in the Tour Championship decider.

Ronnie may sometimes appear jaded with the sport but there’s no one to stop him when he is in full flow and there’s no argument to be made against him being the greatest ever.

He’s short at 5/2 with multiple firms including William Hill, Coral, Betfred, Paddy Power and Betfair but Judd Trump shapes up to be his biggest danger and he’s not much better value at 4/1 with bet365 among others. 

Back remarkable Ronnie to win the tournament and further enhance his legacy, you know it makes sense.

• Scottie Scheffler has done us proud by winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Players Championship and Masters in the last four or five weeks but we’ll take him on at this week’s RBC Heritage at Harbour Town. The world No.1, who will withdraw even in the middle of a round if wife Meredith goes into labour for the birth of their first child, has never won a PGA Tour title after Augusta. Incredibly, all his nine victories have been registered before the first major of the year.

Ludvig Aberg leads our each-way portfolio at 14/1 with Betway after finishing second at The Masters, four shots behind Scheff but three clear of the rest of the field. He is joined by Collin Morikawa, third at Augusta, at 20/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral while defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick is 18/1 with the same two firms. Stephan Jaeger has been playing well this year and is 60/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral again offering good odds.

• New Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen are a cut above West Ham and should not be missed at evens with Betfred to win their Europa League quarter-final second leg at the London Stadium.

Atalanta are 18/5 to beat jaded Liverpool in Italy and Aston Villa are 39/20 with the same firm to win their Europa Conference League trip to Lille. Back them all as singles and perm them any way you wish.


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