Qualifying for the final stages at the Crucible, beginning next weekend, has been taking place this week. For the last 32 in Sheffield following the completion of the China open the seedings have been finalised

the draw shapes up as follows

Mark Selby (1) / Qualifier

Ryan Day (16) / Qualifier

Neil Robertson (9) / Qualifier

Marco Fu (8)/ Qualifier


Shaun Murphy (5) / Qualifier

Ronnie O’Sullivan (12) / Qualifier

Liang Wenbo (13) / Qualifier

Ding Junhui (4) / Qualifier


Stuart Bingham (3) / Qualifier

Kyren Wilson (14) / Qualifier

Mark Allen (11) / Qualifier

John Higgins (6) / Qualifier


Barry Hawkins (7) / Qualifier

Ali Carter (10) / Qualifier

Anthony McGill (15) / Qualifier

Judd Trump (2) / Qualifier

The draw for which seeds each of the qualifiers meet does not take place until next Thursday, which is unfortunate from a betting perspective as there are usually some good opportunities to get with qualifier underdogs in first round matches especially in this era where depth in the game is stronger and the gap between some seeds and some qualifiers is narrower than ever.

Looking at the draw, which I have split into the quarters: The top quarter is tough (Selby and Fu seeded to meet in the quarters) and in the second quarter Ronnie is a tough floater to get for Murphy. Clearly if Ronnie put the schedule in that many of the top sixteen did all season, he’d be a top 4-5 seed.

In the final quarter Trump, the tournament favourite having been in superb form in recent months looks to be in the weaker half of the draw albeit he has a significant hurdle at the quarter final stage in Barry Hawkins who is a tough tournament player, has been consistent all year and has run deep at the Crucible reaching a final and two semi-finals recently

The third quarter looks the weakest part of the draw. Seedings are set off ranking points gained on a rolling two year basis and Stuart Bingham is a “false” 3 seed, based off the ranking points he won winning this two years ago (he tumbles down the rankings when they drop out). Higgins isn’t in the form he was earlier in the season and Mark Allen in inconsistent

The other seed in this quarter is Northampton’s Kyren Wilson who reached the quarters as an unseeded player last year and ran Selby close. He’s just lost to Selby again in the semis in China and has three ranking event semi finals this season as he has consolidated his top sixteen ranking. In China, albeit in a short format match, he beat Bingham 5-1 and is seeded to meet him again in the second round here

I regard Wilson highly (a young Selby, all rock solid temperament and tough match play) and see him as a live outsider in that half of the draw at 40/1 each way. Crucial to this view is that there are a good 8 to10 possible winners of this tournament and although no one would be surprised if Trump finally won it or Selby ground it out again to name the two favourites, there is value going beyond the head of the market and looking for a run at a price from a fast developing player.

Recommendation: Kyren Wilson 40/1 each way (1/2 1,2) Bet365, Betfred, Coral