Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis combined last year to win the World Cup of Darts for England, beating the Netherlands’ Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld in the final. The Power has been replaced this year by Dave Chisnall, who forms a new-look partnership with Lewis after edging ahead of James Wade in the PDC Order of Merit.
The two Dutchmen are this year’s favourites to win the World Cup for their home country, but they will face stiff opposition from Scottish duo Gary Anderson and Peter Wright. That pair reached the decider in 2015 – losing out to England – but Anderson was partnered by Thornton last year, where Scotland were knocked out in the quarter finals. Brazilian player Diogo Portela was the first of his countrymen to compete on the PDC circuit, and he will be joined by Alexandre Sattin as Brazil make their debut in the competition.
The Netherlands are rated as slight favourites at around the +120 mark, with Scotland next best at +175 . In the absence of Taylor, England are as long as +600 but beyond those three nations, any other side can be backed at odds of +2000 or more.
The tournament consists of 32 teams, 8 of which are seeded and 24 of which are not. The action starts on Thursday 1st June, and runs through afternoon and evening sessions until the decider on Sunday night.
The previous group format was dropped last year, and the knockout format continues in 2017. The first round is a best of nine legs doubles match, before the more complex system of the latter rounds comes into force. The second round, quarter finals and semi finals will be played as two best of seven leg 501 singles matches, with both nations able to choose in which order their players play. In the event of both countries winning a singles match each, a best of seven leg 501 doubles match will be played to decide the tie.
The final extends this format and begins with two best of seven leg 501 singles matches, followed by a best of seven legs doubles match, and then the reverse singles matches – again over the best of seven legs.
Total prize money at the event amounts to £300,000 – the winners will go away with the trophy and £60,000 for their troubles.
Premier League Pointers
Scotland look the side to be on this year, not least because of Peter Wright’s steady climb up the rankings. Wright and his partner Anderson are a best price of +175 with BetVictor, Ladbrokes and Coral.
Scotland are seeded number one for the tournament, and will open their campaign with a first round doubles match against Singapore. That they are in the top half of the draw, while England and Netherlands are in the bottom half, ought to give the Scots very good chance of making the final. Their biggest rivals in the top section include the Welsh pair of Gerwyn Price and Mark Webster, the Australian duo of Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson, and the Belgian brothers Kim and Ronny Huybrechts.
On top form, Anderson and Wright should have the measure of each of those competitors. Both players made the play offs of the recent Premier League season, and Wright was within a whisker of taking the crown to follow up some big wins this season. ‘Snakebite’ missed six match darts in the final with Michael van Gerwen, eventually losing 11-10 in a thrilling match. The Dutchman had also beaten Anderson in the semi finals 10-7, as he proved once again that he is the world’s number one.
However, there are few more formidable pairings than Anderson and Wright, and they have to be taken as serious contenders. Michael van Gerwen could only finish in second place last year alongside van Barneveld, but Mighty Mike lost both of his singles matches in the decider. He lost 4-1 to both Taylor and Lewis, with the Dutch points coming from a win in the doubles and van Barneveld’s singles victory over Lewis. The Netherlands can be expected to be ‘there or thereabouts’, but do not appeal from a betting perspective -not least because they will likely have to overcome number 3 seeds England in order to reach the final.
The English duo of Adrian Lewis and Dave Chisnall are an unpredictable force, and it will be interesting to see how the tournament works out for the partnership. On top form the pair could be a big challenge for any country in the competition, and at a bigger price could represent a bit of value. However, both players have shown inconsistency over the course of the Premier League season and a bet on England requires a leap of faith that both players will show their best.
Scotland to win the World Cup of Darts
Thursday 1st June – Sunday 4th June