World Championship Snooker 2024 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

The snooker season concludes as it always does with the World Championship, which begins inside the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield on Saturday as the 17 day marathon takes place on one of the most iconic stages in sport.

Luca Brecel outlasted everyone a year ago to win the world title for the first time and he returns this season looking to defy the Crucible curse and walk off with successive world crowns. 31 hungry players will be out to stop him.

Recent Winners

2023 – Luca Brecel

2022 – Ronnie O’Sullivan

2021 – Mark Selby

2020 – Ronnie O’Sullivan

2019 – Judd Trump

2018 – Mark Williams

2017 – Mark Selby

2016 – Mark Selby

2015 – Stuart Bingham

2014 – Mark Selby

The Format

I’m sure everyone knows the format by now but for those who are unsure of it, it is long course snooker all the way over this 17 day marathon. The first round is the best-of-19 frames which goes up to the best-of-25 for the second round and the quarter finals. The semi-finals at the best-of-33 frames and then the four session final will see a champion crowned on the third Sunday and Monday over the best-of-35 frames. The draw was conducted on Thursday.

Top Quarter

The tradition of this event is that the defending champion is always the number one seed so even though Luca Brecel doesn’t top the world rankings he is placed at the top of the bracket for this tournament. There are three other seeds in the top quarter with Robert Milkins being the last man who automatically qualified for the event joining Brecel as well as the former finalist Ali Carter, who just three months ago lost out in The Masters final. Shaun Murphy has a bit of an all or nothing element to his record in this tournament. He’ll be hoping it is the former from the top quarter.

Four qualifiers from the qualifying event earlier in the week are placed into each quarter of the draw and two of them are relative household names who have both been to the one-table setup here in the past. Dave Gilbert is one of those and he looked good in qualifying as did Stephen Maguire, who is back at the famous venue for the first time since 2022. Two Chinese players have also qualified for this section. They are Lyu Haotian and Pang Junxu.

Second Quarter

Four players who have had decent enough success in this tournament have been placed into this quarter as automatic qualifiers with two of them having eight world titles between them. It is the only seed yet to make the final of this tournament who is the highest ranked in the section though in Mark Allen. He is seeded to meet the former champion Mark Selby in the quarter final but former champion John Higgins and 2020 finalist Kyren Wilson will have something to say about that.

The four qualifiers in this section are among the lower ranked ones to make it through to the main draw. They include the only debutant in the field this year in Joe O’Connor. Dominic Dale has made it through to the Crucible for the first time in 10 years and he’ll be hoping to do some damage now he is here while his fellow Welsh player Jamie Jones took down the biggest dog at the qualifiers in Neil Robertson so he has earned his place here. Robbie Williams is the other player in the quarter.

Third Quarter

We move into the bottom half of the draw in the third quarter where the winner of five titles this season, Judd Trump, is the headline act. He is scheduled to meet the former champion and winner of the Tour Championship earlier in the month in Mark Williams in the quarter final. Zhang Anda has had the best season of his life and he gets to finish that off as a seeded player in this section. Tom Ford has been to the Crucible many times in the past but this is the first time he goes there as a seeded player.

Two of the standout qualifiers in the draw are in this section of it. Hossein Vafaei was involved in that controversial clash with Ronnie O’Sullivan here a year ago and now he gets the plum draw of Judd Trump in the first round. Si Jiahui looked to be cruising to the final 12 months ago only to suffer heartache at the hands of that Luca Brecel comeback. He is also in the draw while Ricky Walden is a former semi-finalist in this event and he’ll eye up another deep run. Jak Jones made the last eight here on debut a year ago.

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Bottom Quarter

All eyes will be on the bottom quarter this year for a number of reasons but the main one is because it is where Ronnie O’Sullivan will look to win an eighth world title from. He has looked very good in the huge events this season and will be looking to complete the Triple Crown in the same season for the first time in 21 years. Another reason why this section will have a high profile is that Ding Junhui is in it as a seeded player. The other two seeds, Barry Hawkins and Gary Wilson have both been to the one-table setup too, the former having previous been all the way to the final in the past.

The other reason why this section is going to have a lot of scrutiny on it is the fact that it has the highest ranked qualifier in the draw in it in Jack Lisowski. He has the task of getting the better of Ding Junhui in one of the standout first round contests. Stuart Bingham won this title nine years ago and he is in this quarter while Ryan Day is the second highest ranked qualifier and he is also in this section. The draw is completed by Jackson Page who has made it through to the Crucible for the second year in succession.

Outright Betting

When we bet on this tournament we have to remember that this is completely different to any other event on the calendar, perhaps with the exception of the Tour Championship. Form really isn’t as much of a factor as everyone gets up for this and often we see this draw open right up as a result. Initially I thought this was between Judd Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan and if they meet in a semi-final I wouldn’t be surprised but the bottom half has become enough of a minefield to think they are vulnerable and that the value could be in the Scottish Open and Welsh Open winner Gary Wilson. He knows how to go deep here having done so in 2019 when he made the semi-final. Wilson won those two Home Nations titles in good fashion and had a decent spin to the last four of the Tour Championship, convincingly beating Mark Selby along the way. He knows how to go well here and I think he’s a big price.

The other one I’m prepared to take a chance on in this tournament is Dave Gilbert. You often find a qualifier who goes deep in this event. Last year it was Si Jiahui who made the last four while the year before Stephen Maguire made the last eight. Stuart Bingham made the semi-finals in 2021 while Anthony McGill will still be wondering how he didn’t make the final as a qualifier in 2020. In 2019 Gary Wilson was a qualifier who made the last four and Dave Gilbert was the last automatic qualifier who got there so backing qualifiers can give us a deep run in this thing. Gilbert doesn’t have it easy against Luca Brecel first up but if he overcomes that then neither Rob Milkins nor Pang Junxu is going to worry him and then Shaun Murphy is as tough as it gets in the last eight and he’s bang out of touch this term. I think 66/1 on Gilbert is a shade too big, especially as he let the cat out of the bag during qualifying that he has knuckled down and put a lot of work in for this tournament.

Quarter Betting

I’m not getting involved in the third quarter because that just looks like an absolute minefield. I wouldn’t be completely shocked if the two main seeds in it go out in the first round but then I wouldn’t be surprised if they meet in the quarter final either. The one thing I would say is that all four qualifiers look like value but that could just so easily go wrong. I’ve got outright bets in the first quarter and the bottom one but there is a quarter bet that I like in the second section.

This is the exactly opposite to the third quarter in that the seeded players in this section all have form question marks over them. I guess that is a little harsh on Mark Allen but his game has gone way too negative for my liking. The last time we saw Mark Selby and John Higgins they were yapping about retiring and Kyren Wilson has done nothing of note outside of the Championship League apart from a run to the semi-final of the German Masters. This looks like a section that is easily going to disintegrate in terms of strength so it might be that the 28/1 on Jamie Jones is worth taking. Jones showed his long format pedigree when he took care of Neil Robertson in the final qualifying round where from 8-5 down he knocked in runs of 101, 73 and 60 under real pressure. Jones has done nothing of note all season so he arrives here fresh as a daisy, faces a Higgins who hasn’t convinced in recent times, before a Mark Allen who is having to draw out a pint of blood to win matches these days and then potentially Selby or Wilson for the money. It isn’t the worst draw known to man. Jones has been to the quarter final of this event in the past and if this draw does open right up I think the Welshman could give us a real run for our money.


Back G.Wilson to win World Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 with Boylesports (1/2 1-2)

Back him here:

Back D.Gilbert to win World Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 67.00 with William Hill (1/2 1-2)

Back J.Jones to win 2nd Quarter for a 1/10 stake at 29.00 with William Hill

Back them here: