Who Will Win The World Snooker Championship Starting This Week?

This weekend, the 2022 World Snooker Championship will get underway at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield with the top 16 players in the world rankings kicking off the finals tournament against one of 16 players that made it through World Championships qualifying the week before.

All the big names of the game including last year’s champion Mark Selby, the formidable Ronnie O’Sullivan and potting aces Judd Trump and Neil Robertson will be in attendance at the hugely popular event.

With so many top stars battling it out in the final but most important ranking event of the season, and the final leg of snooker’s Triple Crown, this is the tournament that every player in the world wants to win.

In our preview we’ll learn a bit more about the tournament before we take a look specifically at the players set to be in contention for the title this year.

Any odds that you come across in this article are courtesy of bet365 Sport and were correct at the time of writing, however they may well change in the meantime and as the tournament progresses.

Let’s now take a look at the history of the tournament and some of its highlights which include Dennis Taylor’s black ball victory in the final frame, Mark Williams incredible win in 2019 and his nude press conference as a result and how the tournament found its current home in 1979.

A Potted History Of The World Snooker Championship

Pre-1969, the World Snooker Championship was a somewhat disorganised and ad-hoc series of tournaments, games, exhibitions and challenge matches and it was only from 1969 onwards that the tournament became recognisable in the knockout-style format it is today.

The early years of the event were dominated by Joe Davis, who won 15 titles and never lost a game in the tournament before he retired in 1947. His brother, Fred also went on to win several World titles in the years following his older brother’s retirement.

In 1964 John Pulman took over as World Champion and held the title across a number of ‘challenge’ matches throughout the era. In those days, games were much longer and often played out over a stated time period (such as a week or even two weeks).

By 1969, it was clear there was a need to reformulate the tournament and so the first knockout tournament took place with John Spencer landing the first of his three World titles.

Ray Reardon won a year later but in 1972, a young superstar was born in Alex “Hurricane” Higgins, who came through qualifying to win the tournament at his first attempt. Higgins would win his second World Title a decade later in 1982.

From 1970, the next three decades of the sport would be defined by one player in each era. Ray Reardon was the star of the 1970s winning six World Titles in that decade. Steve Davis landed his six wins in the 1980s and Stephen Hendry landed his seven title victories and two other final spots in the 1990s.

From the 2000’s onwards though the tournament was dominated by the “Class of ’92” three players that were born in 1975 and turned professional in 1992. John Higgins (four titles), Mark Williams (three titles) and Ronnie O’Sullivan (six titles) are still very much at the forefront of the modern game.

More recently we have seen the likes of Mark Selby win four titles, while the likes of Neil Robertson and Judd Trump look likely to be the best of the new bunch of players making their mark in the game.

No Chinese player has won the tournament as yet, but with the number of stars coming through from China, many experts feel it is only a matter of time before someone does.

World Snooker Champions (from 1969)

  1. Stephen Hendry (Sco) – 7 wins
  2. Steve Davis (Eng), Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng), Ray Reardon (Wal) – 6 wins
  3. John Higgins (Sco), Mark Selby (Eng) – 4 wins
  4. Mark Williams (Wal), John Spencer (Eng) – 3 wins
  5. Alex Higgins (N.Ir) – 2 wins
  6. Shaun Murphy (Eng), Cliff Thorburn (Can), Peter Ebdon (Eng), Graeme Dott (Sco), Ken Doherty. (Ire), Dennis Taylor (N.Ir), Judd Trump (Eng), John Parrott (Eng), Terry Griffiths (Wal), Joe Johnson (Eng), Neil Robertson (Aus), Stuart Bingham (Eng) – 1 win

Jimmy White is the most successful player in the tournament to never win a World Championship playing in six finals and losing them all, five to Stephen Hendry and one to John Parrott.

No first-time winner of the World Title at the Crucible has ever gone on to defend the title successfully the following year. This is known as the “Crucible Curse”. Joe Johnson and Ken Doherty came closest to breaking the curse but both lost in the final a year after winning the trophy.

World Snooker Championship 2022 – Preview

A total of 16 seeds have been seeded into the first round draw and those players are outlined below:

  1. Mark Selby (Eng)
  2. Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng)
  3. Neil Robertson (Aus)
  4. Judd Trump (Eng)
  5. Kyren Wilson (Eng)
  6. John Higgins (Sco)
  7. Zhao Xintong (Chn)
  8. Mark Williams (Wal)
  9. Barry Hawkins (Eng)
  10. Shaun Murphy (Eng)
  11. Luca Brecel (Bel)
  12. Stuart Bingham (Eng)
  13. Anthony McGill (Sco)
  14. Jack Lisowski (Eng)
  15. Mark Allen (N.Ir)
  16. Yan Bingtao (Chn)

They will face one of 16 qualifiers who qualified through World Championship Qualifying which took place this week, each of the 16 qualifiers will be drawn against one of the top 16 seeds below to create the First Round of the tournament.

  • The 2021/22 Season So Far

It has certainly been an unusual season in terms of not one player dominating the World Snooker scene this year. We have seen a whole host of different winners of events, with just a couple of players, Neil Robertson, Judd Trump and Zhao Xintong winning more than one event.

In addition to that, we have seen a number of less familiar names landing wins this season such as Hossein Vafaei, Luca Brecel, Fan Zhengyi and Robert Milkins, while some veterans have also picked up notable wins including Joe Perry, John Higgins, Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Higgins has also finished as a runner up on five occasions this season, including at the recent Tour Championship in Llandudno, when he was beaten 10-9 by Neil Robertson.

However, the wide open nature of the snooker season this year means that this could well be one of the most evenly contested World Championship tournaments in many a year

Who Is Our Tip To Win The World Championship?

Given that this season has been an incredibly open one across the snooker world, with no one player dominating the proceedings, this is reflected somewhat in the odds for the winner of the World Championship.

Essentially there are three tiers here. The favourites, which include Neil Robertson (4/1), Judd Trump (9/2), Ronnie O’Sullivan (5/1) and Mark Selby (15/2) and I, personally, would include John Higgins (10/1 and Kyren Wilson (16/1) on that list.

Outside that is the second tier of players who could win it including the likes if Mark Allen (25/1), Shaun Murphy, Stuart Bingham, Barry Hawkins, Luca Brecel and Mark Williams (all 33/1) and a trio of Chinese stars in Zhao Xintong (20/1) and Yan Bingtao and Ding Junhui (both 22/1).

Outside that are the much longer odds options which includes the likes of the out of form Jack Lisowski (50/1) and a number of players still involved in qualifying such as Ali Carter (80/1), Graeme Dott (100/1) and Hossein Vafaei (also 100/1).

For me, the winner is going to come from the first two categories and despite having a poor season by his standards, I think that Mark Selby at 15/2 is a very interesting option and as defending champion, he will be more motivated than most to hang on to his trophy.

However, I think the best bet of all of them here is an each way punt on John Higgins at 10/1. Higgins has been the most consistent player on tour this season, reaching six finals and though he has won just the one, that level of consistency and the fact that the longer format at the Crucible suits his game makes him my best betting option here.