MANCHESTER, England, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Mark Selby has been cut to 13/2 joint second favourite by the sponsors for this year's Betfred.com World Snooker Championship after the draw for the first round was made at Wembley today.
The Leicester Jester, runner-up in 2007 and a semi-finalist last year, will face Crucible debutant Jimmy Robertson in his opening match and has had his odds trimmed a point from 15/2.
That means he shares second favouritism with Ronnie O'Sullivan, who can still be backed at the stand-out price of 13/2 with Betfred after being paired with Dominic Dale of Wales.
Three-time former champion John Higgins, the world No 1, remains favourite at 5/1 for the tournament which is being sponsored by Betfred for the third consecutive year and begins in Sheffield on April 16.
Defending champion Neil Robertson, who aims to bury the 'Crucible Curse' of no first-time winner ever having successfully defended the crown, has been eased to 15/2 after being drawn against talented youngster Judd Trump.
Betfred spokesman Jon Wilde said: "O'Sullivan is one player we want to take on this time because he just hasn't been at the races all season and has looked disinterested at times. Of course he has the game to sweep aside anyone, but which Ronnie will turn up is anyone's guess.
"It will be surprising if Selby fails to reach the quarter-finals at least and with Ding Junhui, a perennial Crucible under-achiever, his potential last-eight opponent, we think the Leicester Jester has a real chance of having the last laugh when the tournament reaches its climax on May 2."
Betfred.com World Snooker Championship odds:
Outright: 5/1 John Higgins, 13/2 Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Selby (from 15/2), 15/2 Neil Robertson, 8/1 Mark Williams, 17/2 (from 10/1) Ding Junhui, 16/1 Shaun Murphy, 20/1 Mark Allen, Ali Carter, Stephen Maguire, 28/1 Graeme Dott, 40/1 Jamie Cope, 50/1 Marco Fu, 66/1 bar (e/w 1/2 1,2).
To reach the final: 9/4 John Higgins, 11/4 Ronnie O'Sullivan, 3/1 Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, 10/3 Mark Williams, 15/4 Ding Junhui, 8/1 Shaun Murphy, 9/1 Mark Allen, Ali Carter, 10/1 bar.
Other special bets 11/8 A new winner 8/15 A previous winner to win again 6/5 A 147 break to be made during the tournament 4/6 No 147 break to be made 11/10 Total century breaks to be 71 or more 8/11 Total century breaks to be 70 or fewer 66/1 The final to go to a respotted black in the final frame ***Odds subject to fluctuation***