The World Grand Prix of Darts kicks off on the 4th of October at the CityWest Hotel in Dublin, with the tournament live on Sky Sports running through until the 10th of the month. It’s a unique format which requires players to begin, as well as end, each leg on a double, and the £400,000 competition will see 32 of the worlds top tungsten stars take to the oche.
Phil Taylor has won 11 of the last 17 renewals, and has shared the last four titles with Micheal van Gerwen. Both men will be back for another tilt at the trophy, and predictably, they are the two favourites for the tournament. Gary Anderson will attempt to win his first Grand Prix off the back of a brilliant season last year, while James Wade could be a dark horse to continue his fine record in this competition after winning it in 2007 and 2010, and reaching the final last year when he lost to van Gerwen.
The Draw and Schedule
The draw for the tournament has already been made, and it has thrown up some exciting first round clashes. The opening night will see Michael van Gerwen take on World Youth Champion Keegan Brown, with seven other matches making up a busy first day. Two former World Champions and Dublin finalists, Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld will meet in a mouth-watering first round tie, while number 4 seed Peter Wright will take on Dave Chisnall in another cracking contest after the latter’s superb Premier League campaign in 2015. The opening night will also feature Brendan Dolan, the 2011 runner-up who famously hit the first double-start nine-dart finish four years ago, as he takes on Dutchman Jelle Klaasen.
On Monday, two-time World Grand Prix Champion James Wade starts with a tricky encounter against Austrian Mensur Suljovic, and Gary Anderson faces an all-Scottish clash against John Henderson. Phil Taylor is also in action on the second day, as he takes on Dutchman Vincent van de Voort.
Although players have to start on a double in this competition, it is a short format of the game with the first round the best of three sets. The second round and the quarter-finals step up to the best of five sets, while the semi-final is best of seven, and the final best of nine. All sets are the best of five legs, with no tie breaks in any set.
Let’s look at the odds for the main contenders, and our fancy for the top prize, Gary Anderson.
Gary Anderson crowned a superb season last year with the Premier league Darts trophy, having already won the Players Championship and the PDC World Championship. He’s second only behind Michael van Gerwen in the PDC Order of Merit, and out-performed Phil Taylor over the course of the season. On that basis he looks a little overpriced in relation to the other two, who head the market at much shorter odds.
The Scotsman also has the easier looking section of the bottom half of the draw, which offers him a fairly serene route to a potential semi-final clash with either Phil Taylor or James Wade. He’s never reached the final of this tournament, but he did get as far as the semi-final last year where he lost 4-3 to eventual runner-up James Wade.
He opens against fellow Scot John Henderson, which if he wins, will set up a second round clash against either Ian White or Jamie Caven. From there he will face a ‘winnable’ quarter-final, and should take us and our money as far as the semi’s at least.
Michael van Gerwen – +250 with Bwin
There’s little to say about van Gerwen that hasn’t already been said, the man is a machine with the arrows and by the time his career has finished he may well be challenging some of Phil Taylor’s incredible records – such is the talent of the Dutchman. He won this tournament, along with the European Championship, in 2014, and followed up with victory in The Masters, The UK Open and the World Matchplay tournaments in 2015. He was runner-up to Anderson in the Premier League final, and it would’nt be the biggest surprise if the two renewed rivalries in Dublin’s final on the 10th of October.
Phil Taylor – +275 with Paddy Power
What was a big surprise last season was the form of Phil Taylor, who failed to qualify for the Premier League play-offs for the first time since the competition’s inception. Like Anderson, Taylor was knocked out of this tournament last year by James Wade in a quarter-final clash that he lost 3-1, but it can’t be forgotten that ‘The Power’ has won in Dublin 11 times in 17 renewals.
It is a brave man who writes off Phil Taylor, and this particular writer is not prepared to doubt the Stoke ace just yet, but at the prices there are enough question marks to avoid betting on him to win here. Michael van Gerwen presents a much more solid proposition for those who like short-priced favourites, but Gary Anderson certainly offers the most value of the three.
Dave Chisnall might fancy his chances of a good tournament after playing so well in the Premier League last year, while the likes of Peter Wright and Raymond van Barneveld can beat anyone on their day, but for an outsider we like the look of James Wade at +1600 with Bet365, Totesport and BetVictor.
The number six seed hasn’t won a tournament since the 2014 Masters, but he was runner-up to van Gerwen in July’s World Matchplay, and has a good record in the World Grand Prix. Having won the competition in 2007 and 2010, he knocked out Taylor and Anderson en route to the final last year, and seems to enjoy himself in Dublin. He’s a lively each-way play at a decent price.
Gary Anderson to win the World Grand Prix
4th-10th October, Dublin
James Wade to win the World Grand Prix
4th-10th October, Dublin
Odds: +1600 Each Way
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