Mark Selby is firm favourite to collect a third straight snooker World Championship next year.
Selby, 33, became only the fourth player after Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan to retain their crown in the modern era – with only Davis and Hendry claiming three in-a-row.
He beat John Higgins 18-15 on Monday, and the Scot believes Selby can go on to beat Henry’s record of seven wins.
“He looks as if now he could be the challenger to Stephen Hendry’s seven,” said Higgins.
“I really believe that because he’s just granite, he really is granite, and it’s really tough to play against.”
Selby is now rated at 3/1 to take the title again in 2018. Selby’s main rival in next year’s betting is Judd Trump at 5/1 with Ronnie O’Sullivan next in the market at 11/2. Ding Junhui, who lost out to Selby in this year’s semi-finals, is priced at 10/1.
John Higgins, who lost to Selby in the final, is priced at 12/1 to go one better in 2018.
Liam Glynn, BoyleSports spokesperson said: “Mark Selby came from 10-7 down to retain the World Championship on Monday night at The Crucible and is now 3/1 to hold onto the trophy next year.
“Selby, known as The Jester from Leicester, is already proving popular to win a fourth World Championship in 2018 and add another major title to his already bulging CV.”