Qualifying for the World Championship culminates on Wednesday, with 16 Crucible spots up for grabs. Before that, James Cooper analyzed the performance of the top 16 from a data perspective.
First of all, a summary since I took an extract from my Master’s article to quickly explain the process used.
“Like a league table in football, tournament results can clearly tell you a lot, but the serious bettor needs more than raw wins and losses to give himself an edge. Expected wins and stake percentage In Form (RTF) are a few tools I use to get a better idea of the players current form.
“Expected wins basically tells you how many wins a player should have had given the opponents faced and the duration of the match. A positive difference in the attached chart indicates that a player is outperforming; conversely, a number negative represents underperformance.
Run to form (RTF) is a concept used by Timeform when assessing the form of a trainer or jockey and although several factors are used to find a relevant percentage I have kept it simple with a binary Y/N or (1-0 ) using my pre-game frame supremacy numbers.”
The table below outlines the season so far (excluding the Championship League and Shoot Out events) and hopefully provides useful insight that match results alone cannot.
Robertson the best man this term
When drawing conclusions from data like this, it’s important to remember that both fitness categories are weighted to help inferior players while preventing top operators from shining.
With that in mind and unsurprisingly given his four tournaments, Neil Robertson’s expected positive wins and RTF numbers make for a truly impressive read. The RTF figure in particular insists that the Aussie not only regularly plays at a brilliant level, but is also ruthlessly efficient at dispatching the opposition.
Since he put the ratings together about four years ago Judd Trump has been the highest rated since its inception but Neil Robertson now holds the coat as my standard bearer and although I will wait until Thursday before model the entire event, chances are Robertson will be the favorite. with me using the skeletal draw as it is and on the condition that he is not paired with Ding Junhui (if he qualifies).
Judd Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan are next in betting and while the former hasn’t been at his best this season (as shown by his Ex’ Wins and
As for O’Sullivan, a brilliant World Grand Prix win over Robertson is as compelling as there has been this season. A European Masters knockdown against Fan Zhengyi was clearly a missed opportunity, but his underlying numbers are solid.
Brecel realizes its potential
Having burst onto the scene around the age of 15, I have to confess that I thought Luca Brecel was in danger of being relegated to the plateau of super talented underachievers. Luckily that wasn’t the case and in a way too, as the table shows he was the best player in that group compared to expectations.
Of course, given his low rating compared to the aforementioned trio, it’s Easier for Luca to post positive numbers, but it’s clear to all that he’s thrived this season, brushing aside a final defeat in the UK Championship with a devastating display of potting at the Scottish Open a week later.
When he’s on, Brecel is obviously a game for anyone, but a quarterback with Neil Robertson and John Higgins poses a pretty big question for the Belgian.
Selby and Xintong ask about layers
While Kyren Wilson boasts of being very eye-pleasing on neutral numbers and is perhaps the easiest player to assess, Mark Selby and Zhao Xintong are the two most difficult for compilers to weigh.
Mark Selby’s status as an all-time great is indisputable, recording the fourth victory in this event a year ago. This season has been pretty miserable and he’s revealed an on-and-off battle with depression, so it’s clear he’s not a single-digit price tag on his form this term.
That said, it’s a unique and number one rated event, its draw on paper doesn’t look too off-putting. However, Mark Williams and Barry Hawkins bring lots of Crucible experience to the table and Yan Bingtao’s production that term means he commands the utmost respect, so I’m not really convinced by Selby’s claims, at least from a pre-tournament perspective.
A good RTF and a positive return of expected wins indicate that Xintong had a great season and of course he beat a brilliant winner of the prestigious British Championship before a scintillating display in the final doubling his total in Germany.
Xintong is the brightest prospect in the game and even though he’s dwindled slightly for outright glory in recent weeks, I’m still struggling to match my rating in the market.
A quarter-final clash with new mentor Ronnie O’Sullivan would be a fascinating watch, but right now I tend to think that his potential rather than his current level has been priced into his current price.