This year we have to wait a while longer than usually for the seeding list to be determined. Nevertheless I'll try my best to already assess the chances of the current TOP 20 and rank them in order from least to most likely to win this year's World Championship.
20: Robert Milkins (currently ranked No. 18)
I won't spend too much time on players like Rob here. He doesn't have what to takes to win the World Title, it's as simple as that. He'll do well if he reaches the last 16.
19: Ali Carter (seeded No. 13)
Ali made a terrific recovery from cancer and battled his way back to professional snooker. However currently he's nowhere good enough to be seeded for the Crucible. He surely is the weak link in the seeding list and all the qualifiers will want to draw him. He would be down to No. 30 at the moment if his ranking hadn't been frozen. I know what World Snooker try to do but I don't think it's working and I think Ali would be better off playing a couple of easier qualifying matches than running into an in form qualifier at the Crucible. He's unlikely to get to the last 16.
18: Mark Davis (currently ranked No. 20)
Mark is a solid and consistent player who can cause an upset on a good day. John Higgins surely wants to avoid drawing him for example. Obviously he won't be winning the title but he could go as far as the quarters with a good draw.
17: Graeme Dott (currently ranked No. 19)
Graeme's not the force he once was and he won't win the title but I would never rule out a good run at the Crucible. All depends on the draw but he's capable of causing an upset in first or the second round for sure.
16: Barry Hawkins (currently ranked No. 5)
Barry is having a horrible season, there's no other way of saying it. He's a fine player at his best and has had superb runs at the Crucible the last 2 years. The chances of repeating these heroics however are very very slim. Right now he'll do well to survive his opening match.
15: Joe Perry (currently ranked No. 14)
Joe is an established top 16 player these days who can give anyone a match. He nearly won his first ranking title this season but it wasn't meant to be. I think he could make the quarter finals beating a top player on the way. The title however undoubtedly will be too much to ask for the Gentleman.
14: Marco Fu (currently ranked No. 10)
Every year when I start talking about Marco's Crucible chances I basically say the same thing: he's a superb player on his day who can beat the tournament favourite but over the course of 17 days he doesn't have what it takes. That always has been his problem and unfortunately I don't see a reason why it would be any different this year. But he can make the quarters no doubt.
13: Mark Williams (currently ranked No. 15)
Mark is in terrific form at the moment and is getting to the latter stages of tournaments. However he can't quite manage to convert his good snooker to titles. He missed golden chances in the Welsh Open and Indian Open. Mark is unlikely to win the World Title but he could have his first good run since he made the semi finals in 2011.
12: John Higgins (currently ranked No. 12)
John is a ranking event winner again. But despite that he's not playing particularly well. He lost the last 2 years in the first round. But I doubt that will happen again this year and a quarter final is definitely possible. A lot depends on the draw. But just like the players mentioned before he's not likely to win the title, his game just isn't consistent enough anymore.
11: Michael White (currently ranked No. 17)
The Indian Open might have been his big breakthrough. Michael White is the first youngster since Judd Trump to win a ranking event. However many top player were absent and the format wasn't really worthy of a full ranking event. Still I consider him a bit of a dark horse for the title. He's got the talent and now he got the confidence. He could go very far under the right circumstances.
10: Ricky Walden (currently ranked No. 7)
Ricky Walden won the International Championship and is on top of this season's ranking money list. Why is he only No. 10 on my list? Two reasons. All his success has come abroad and he's only half the player in UK events I'm afraid. Also his B and C-game is very bad, sometimes even borderline ridiculous. Like in the Welsh Open quarters against Luca Brecel. Ricky is a great player and could make the quarters but winning the title? Not likely.
9: Stephen Maguire (currently ranked No. 16)
Stephen is having a good season. Ironically this is also the season where he's in the most danger of having to qualify for the Crucible since establishing himself as a top 16 player. Maguire worked on his temperament and he started to get good results again. He will be a tough opponent this year but I don't think it will be enough to win the title. He could make the semis if he finds his top form.
8: Mark Allen (currently ranked No. 11)
Always a dangerous player for the top players. But never quite made the next step and became one. Mark had a superb start to the season but he lost his two ranking finals and he never really recovered from that so far. Still if he hits top form he'll cause big problems. Could make the semis under the right circumstances.
7: Stuart Bingham (currently ranked No. 9)
Stuart is a ranking event winner this season, brilliant at his best and well capable of beating top players. But you never quite know what you're gonna get with him. While I don't think he'll win the title, Bingham should not be underestimated by anyone. A semi final is well in realm of possibility.
6: Ding Junhui (currently ranked No. 4)
Ding is having his worst season since probably turning professional. He seems to have a mental block when playing at the Crucible. So what is Ding doing here this high up the list? My argument is Mark Selby last year. Mark never looked like winning the World Title after losing to Mike Dunn at the China Open. Something clicked after that. The same thing can happen with Ding Junhui. He hasn't lost his ability and talent. He's just in a bad place mentally and playing at the Crucible with no expectations could be exactly the thing he needs. Could lose in the first round or win the title. Anything is possible.
5: Shaun Murphy (currently ranked No. 8)
Now it's getting interesting. All the players from now on are the ones I consider the main contenders. And Shaun Murphy is the first one on that list. What he did at the Masters this year was unthinkable last year. He was the first player to ever beat Selby in a decider there and played like a god from there on. He destroyed and humiliated Neil Robertson in the final. I consider it his best win of his career. He also made the final in Germany but he gone off the boil slightly since then. Still if he brings his Masters form to the Crucible it's looking ominous for the other top players. Shaun Murphy is one of the favourites for the title.
4: Ronnie O'Sullivan (currently ranked No. 2)
What happened to Ronnie after the German Masters? In his performances since then he looked like pre Peters Ronnie. He's not in the right frame of mind at the moment. Hopefully he'll sort it out till the start of World Championship because the current Ronnie is unlikely to win the title. But even the Ronnie from last week is one of the favourites. It will suit him to not be the overwhelming favourite this year. He'll be very hard to beat, he always is at the Crucible. I'm not quite sure what will happen but it's going to be very interesting.
3: Mark Selby (seeded No. 1)
Up until the German Masters Mark had a poor season. But he improved his game there and he's looking dangerous again. However there's this little thing called the "Crucible curse" he has to deal with. Selby doesn't like being the favourite and playing as defending champion at the Crucible is something entirely different than winning it the first time. But Selby is tough and will try is hardest. He's got to be one of the main contenders regardless of the "curse". Does that mean I think he'll succeed? No but objectively he's got to be this high up the list. I can see him make the final.
2: Neil Robertson (currently ranked No. 3)
Neil isn't having the greatest season by his standards. But that doesn't have to be a disadvantage. Probably it's an advantage. He has - without a doubt - the game to win the title again. I think it will take an inspired performance to stop him. I wouldn't be surprised to see Robbo play Selby again this year but this time in the final. If that were to happen I'm pretty sure Neil would get his revenge. Maybe only one player can stop him and he's listed as my top favourite this year.
1: Judd Trump (currently ranked No. 6)
Judd is my pick for the 2015 World Championship. He matured a lot this season, especially with his safety game. It's very good now. Judd doesn't fear anyone and now has also beaten Ronnie in a final. At the moment I think his game is the best all-round. Judd doesn't have a weakness anymore. He looked like he would take off after that tremendous comeback in the UK and I have a feeling it will truly happen at the Crucible.
*Update: the official seeding list*
Selby (1) v Maguire (16)
Perry (9) v Murphy (8)
Hawkins (5) v Allen (12)
Carter (13) v Robertson (4)
Ding (3) v Higgins (14)
Fu (11) v Trump (6)
Walden (7) v Bingham (10)
Williams (15) v O'Sullivan (2)
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