This is what I'm going to do: I'll rank all the seeds from least likely to most likely to win the World Title and analyze their individual chances of winning snooker's biggest prize.
16: Mark Davis (Seeded No. 13)
He's not playing quite as well as he was the previous season and he's not beating the top players regularly anymore. He just might cause a shock result like last year but overall no chance of winning the title.
15: Joe Perry (Seeded No. 16)
Joe is having a good season and he's playing very well again, making the semi finals of the Welsh Open and International Championship. But something is lacking, if he runs into a top player playing really well, Perry just can't keep up. He has a tough draw and never won a ranking event, so overall no chance of winning the title.
14: Ricky Walden (Seeded No. 12)
Walden got so close to reaching the final last year. He made the UK semis and he could have a couple of decent results at the Crucible again this year. But it will be tough for him to reproduce the sort of form from last year, he will have high expectations and pressure to do well again. A first round defeat wouldn't shock me, we have seen it so many times before. No chance of winning the title.
13: Stephen Maguire (Seeded No. 10)
He made two semis this season, Indian Open and the Masters but overall his season is far from convincing. Maguire is still capable of pulling out a great performance every once in a while but he's not very consistent anymore and his temperament is terrible. Stephen also is placed in the "quarter of death". Very slim chance of winning the title.
12: Mark Allen (Seeded No. 16)
Mark won 2 PTC finals this season and made the semis in the World Open but besides that he's had a season to forget. We all know what Allen can do and he's fearless but overall he's not the player he was 2 or 3 years ago. He's also not in great physical shape, fitness is so important in this snooker marathon. Also in the "quarter of death", he only has a very slim chance of winning the title.
11: John Higgins (Seeded No. 11)
John made the quarter finals of the last 3 ranking events. He's finding some form again, he's not missing sitters anymore. Higgins wins the matches he should win again and also plays terrific against Trump. But he's not invincible in pressure situations anymore and his safety game let's him down often these days. That's just not enough to win the big one, although I can see him making the quarter finals. Slim chance of winning the title.
10: Marco Fu (Seeded No. 8)
Marco is having the best season of his career. He won a ranking title and got so close to winning the IC as well. When he's on fire, Fu can beat anyone. But he has no consistency and in these long formats, one bad session can cost you the title. Also Marco has a tough draw with Murphy waiting (who basically owns him) in the last 16 and possibly Ronnie in the quarters. A great player no doubt but only a slim chance of winning the title.
9: Ali Carter (Seeded No. 14)
Carter isn't having a good season at all. He has failed to make a ranking quarter final this season. But Ali has an incredible record at the Crucible, most of them coming out of nowhere. He loves playing here, raises his game and knows how to reach the latter stages. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw yet another great run from the Captain this year, Selby will be facing a tough test in the last 16. That's why Carter is so high on this list despite showing nothing all season, he has a chance of winning the title.
8: Stuart Bingham (Seeded No. 6)
Bingham played some superb snooker to reach the Champion of Champions final and made that unbelievable comeback against Robertson in the UK semi. Unfortunately he's gone off the boil a bit in 2014. He has the game to beat anyone and he has a decent draw. Although not likely but he has a chance of winning the title.
7: Mark Selby (Seeded No. 3)
This choice might surprise some people, but after careful considerations I see 6 other players with better chances of winning title. Mark Selby is snooker's best competitor but his game just isn't there. His scoring isn't sufficient at the moment, actually it hasn't been for some time now. That he still makes finals shows what a great match player he is but in this snooker marathon he can't scrap it out, he just can't. Also he looked very drained in the PTCs finals and because he decided to go to China instead of resting, I can't see his chances going up. Nonetheless he has a chance of winning the title.
6: Shaun Murphy (Seeded No. 9)
Up until the end of 2013, I didn't think Shaun could win the big one again. But it all turned around in 2014, he won a ranking event beating top players and now he has got his confidence back. He's scoring very heavily again and that makes Murphy a threat to anyone. Shaun knows how to win the title, something only few of the other contenders can say. If he can somehow make the semis, he'll have a great chance but he's in Ronnie's quarter. I think Shaun Murphy has a decent chance of winning the title.
5: Judd Trump (Seeded No. 7)
He made the final in Germany and there are signs that he's returning to form. Judd loves big tournaments and he usually raises his game there. His safety improved over the last couple of seasons and he's scoring heavily despite some easy misses every now and then. Trump has great self believe and confidence, he'll be a tough match for anyone. Also placed in the "quarter of death", I can see him making the final if he gets through that. But Trump hasn't won a big title since the 2012 IC and his season start was poor, so I won't put him higher than 5. Has a decent chance of winning the title.
4: Barry Hawkins (Seeded No. 5)
The Hawk is the complete package now. Heavy scoring, great safety game, good long potting and very good composure. He won a big title just yesterday, which will give him a massive boost. He believes in himself and can beat any top player like he showed last year. He has a reasonable draw this year and the only thing going against him is that beaten finalists usually go out early the following year. Barry has a decent chance of winning the title.
3: Neil Robertson (Seeded No. 2)
After the UK win, I rated his chances even higher but he was a bit flat in 2014 so far. At his best he's an incredible player, his long potting is deadly, he wins all the frames he should and his temperament is superb. Maybe the only player who can beat Ronnie O'Sullivan over 33 or 35 frames. The question will be: can he play like he did in the UK? Even though he's seeded No. 2 Robbo has a tough draw and needs be sharp right from the start. Neil has a good chance of winning the title.
2: Ding Junhui (Seeded No. 4)
Ding Junhui won 4 ranking events this season. At his best he's brilliant, he always was but this season he also has the consistency. That makes him a multiple winner of ranking events. But unlike Robertson he's under huge pressure to finally win the big one. Ding doesn't have a weakness besides having a mental block against Ronnie. Should Ronnie crash out, he'll be favourite for the title for sure. Overall he has a good chance of winning the title.
1: Ronnie O'Sullivan (Seeded No. 1)
The defending champion was sublime so far in 2014. Without the shadow of a doubt, THE man to beat. Ronnie is the best player in the World right now and he hasn't lost a match at Crucible for 2 years now. His confidence is sky high and he's mentally stronger than ever. He has all the experience, Ronnie knows exactly how to win the title and how to pace himself. The longer matches will suit his consistency. Ronnie doesn't have a weakness and it will take an unbelievable performance to stop him this year, I feel. To have the chance to equal Steve Davis's 6 World Titles will spur him on even more. Ronnie O'Sullivan has a great chance of winning the title.
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