Thursday the 15th of December is an extremely important date – Christmas begins. That is correct folks, the darts gets underway at the Ally Pally (Alexandra Palace) in London. Can MVG – Michael Van Gerwen – win only his second world championship? The bookies’ answer is yes – the Dutchman is a best price of 8/11 to do just that.
Or will Phil Taylor win an incredible 17th world title at odds of 9/1?
Or perhaps the champion of the past two years, Gary Anderson, will prove that this stage truly is now his house and make it a remarkable hat-trick of world championships on the bounce. Odds of 6/1 are available on the reigning champion. Let’s take a look at a few outright bets, plus a closer look at some first round matches.
MVG is rightly the red hot favourite based upon his 25 tournament titles this year. However, his record in this event doesn’t back up those odds of 8/11 and I would take a chance on siding against him. He has only won here once and indeed, has only been in the final twice.
This tournament is known for the lesser heralded men stepping up to show form many thought improbable or impossible (Kirk Shepherd springs to mind). Admittedly, that has not happened for a good few years but only a lunatic would touch the long odds-on for Mighty Mike.
The two big names also in this half of the draw are Phil Taylor – who last won in 2013 (beating van Gerwen in the final) and Adrian Lewis – who won in 2011 & 2012 and also reached the final last year. Of course, both are high up in the betting and their record’s speak for themselves but I will say it straight – they cannot win.
The Stoke-on-Trent men are just missing too many crucial doubles and will be punished as a result. We may even get a nice price on the person who knocks them out, depending on how the draw progresses.
The wise move is a couple of plays in the opposite side of the draw to MVG but there is another man I like in the same side and that is the Wizard, Simon Whitlock. He lost the 2010 final to Taylor and on his day can still trouble the best. He is playing well of late and at a stand-out 150/1 with Betfred, the Aussie is worth an each-way dabble.
In the other half of the draw the hat-trick seeking Gary Anderson is second favourite to take the crown at best price 6/1 with Bet365. He opens his account against Mark Frost, who without question has the best nickname in darts – Frosty the Throwman.
I can’t have Gary based on recent form however and I really like Peter Wright to come through this side. Snakebite as he is affectionately known will bring some glitz and glamour to the stage with his outrageous hairstyle and dress sense and there was a time when that was all he would be bringing.
However, his game has taken off in recent years, including reaching the final in 2014, when he lost to van Gerwen. It’s surely only a matter of time before he wins his first big TV event – and I won’t rule out it being here. At a best price of 11/1, also with Betfred, he is my main each-way suggestion.
Both of my picks are former finalists and if you really fancy seeing in the New Year in style, you can bet on a Wright-Whitlock final at a monster 250/1 with Sportingbet.
|Peter Wright (ew)||PDC World Championship 2017 – Winner||11/1||Betfred|
|Simon Whitlock (ew)||PDC World Championship 2017 – Winner||150/1||Betfred|
First Round Tips
Round 1 has 32 seeded players, but these will fall like extras in Braveheart. The key is to pick the ones that are too short and back their opponent at tasty odds-against.
The stand out bet to me is Rapid Ricky Evans to take out 11th seed Michael Smith. Smith’s form has been all over the place this year and while he has the skill to be in the top 10 in the world, he has the mental strength of RP McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. I simply cannot see how Evans is 5/2 with BetVictor here.
Next up I like Chris Dobey to cull another seed in Justin Pipe. Pipe has been playing terribly this year and I can’t see him troubling an in-form Dobey. The bookmakers’ actually agree with me here, with BetVictor again offering the best price of 10/11.
Back them both – plus get on the double that pays out towards 6/1 with BetVictor.
The last of my best First Round picks is for Darren Webster to beat Stephen Bunting. Webster isn’t a dart player to have too much faith in but at 9/5 with Coral against an out of form Bunting I have to take a chance.
Of the rest of the round, the prices that take my fancy against seeded players are:
Johnny Clayton to beat Gerwyn Price (9/5 @ Betfair)
Josh Payne to beat Terry Jenkins (5/4 @ Sportingbet)
Andrew Gilding to beat John Henderson (Evens @ Coral)
Dmitri Van den Bergh to beat Cristo Reyes (Evens @ Coral)
Steve West to beat Mervyn King (11/10 @ Betfred)
Christian Kist to beat Brendan Dolan (10/11 @ BetVictor)
Robbie Green to beat Raymond van Barneveld (10/3 @ Sportingbet)