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Luca Brecel v Dave Gilbert: Prediction, Tips and Odds

No first-time winner of the World Snooker Championship has retained the title since the tournament moved to Sheffield's Crucible Theatre in 1977, but reigning champion Luca Brecel will be hoping to put an end to that curse this season.

Brecel was a remarkable winner of last season’s title, having defeated former champions Mark Williams, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby on his way to the crown.

Not only that, but in his semi-final success over Chinese youngster Si Jiahui, Brecel trailed 14-5 before he reeled off 11 frames on the spin to record the most unlikely of 17-15 victories.

On the whole, the Belgian has failed to make an impact this season, but runs to the final of big-money events in the Shanghai Masters and the World Masters of Snooker suggest he is going to be motivated for the challenge ahead.

However, he must be wary of the threat that Gilbert, a semi-finalist in his own right in 2019, possesses.

The Farmer has had a disappointing campaign but he looked rejuvenated in qualifying, coming past David Lilley and Xiao Guodong with the minimum of fuss, so comes into this Crucible curtain-raiser feeling sharp and confident.

Luca Brecel v Dave Gilbert

Luca Brecel v Dave Gilbert betting tips and predictions

Luca Brecel -1.5 frames on handicap - 8/11

History suggests Brecel is going to struggle to follow up last season’s success and many will be expecting him to face a stern test from Gilbert, who will have his eye in having successfully navigated his way through qualifying.

There is little to go on in terms of head-to-heads, with Brecel winning 5-3 in their only previous meeting in the Shanghai Masters way back in 2015.

But after a quiet start to the year, Brecel’s performances have certainly appeared to be peaking towards the Crucible with him losing only three of his 11 matches since February.

The Belgian is a player motivated by the finer things in life so he raises his level for lucrative events, which was evident as he finished runner-up to O’Sullivan at the Shanghai Masters and the inaugural World Masters of Snooker in Riyadh.

That shows Brecel can turn on the style when he needs to and there is nothing bigger than the Sheffield showpiece, suggesting that he should have his game in decent shape.

Gilbert impressed in qualifying wins over Lilley and Guodong, winning 10-4 and 10-6 respectively, but this is a different kettle of fish against a player of Brecel’s calibre.

The Farmer looked focused and scored heavily in those qualifying contests but, on the whole, it has been a poor campaign with him making only one quarter-final from 11 ranking event appearances.

Four of those tournaments ended in the opening round and that could be the case against Brecel, who should find this to be a favourite match-up as both players inherit an attacking mindset.

Brecel is 8/15 to advance to the second round but punters can get some more bang for their buck by taking him to win by at least two frames at 8/11.

David Gilbert to have the highest break - EVS

Although expected to come up short, Gilbert should still be competitive and there is every hope that he can record the highest break of the match.

Gilbert is an excellent break-builder, which was highlighted by breaks of 133, 120, 117 and 93 in his 10-4 win over Lilley in his opening qualifier.

The 42-year-old failed to add another century against Guodong despite racing into a 5-0 lead, but he should be able to showcase his scoring talents against Brecel.

Despite losing 10-4 to Stuart Bingham in the opening round last year, Gilbert had a break of 121 and he has Crucible pedigree having made the semi-final back in 2019.

Given the tactics both players adopt, this should be an open encounter with a barrage of big breaks and the even-money about Gilbert registering the highest one looks especially interesting.

Gilbert has had 22 centuries this season, putting him 22nd on the list and that is six more than Brecel has managed, highlighting him to be more than a touch of value in this market.

Luca Brecel v Dave Gilbert odds

Luca Brecel - 8/15
Dave Gilbert - 6/4

View the full market and more odds for Luca Brecel v Dave Gilbert on site.

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This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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