Phil Taylor could not have given himself a better PDC World Darts Championship draw had he been able to hand pick his opponents so The Power has to be the bet to win the top event on the darts calendar for the 17th time.
Taylor, who lost his place as PDC World Darts Championship title favourite during the middle of this year only to get it back from Michael van Gerwen thanks to a turnaround in fortunes, will meet either Ian Moss or Rob Szabo in the first round. If everything goes according to the PDC World Darts Championship seedings, Taylor will face Michael Smith in the second round, Peter Wright in the third round, Wes Newton in the quarter-finals and Simon Whitlock in the semi-finals. Having ended up on the opposite side of the draw to Adrian Lewis and Van Gerwen, Taylor cannot run into either of the other PDC World Darts Championship contenders whom bookmakers rate as genuine chances before the final.
Contrast Taylor’s PDC World Darts Championship draw with that of, say, Van Gerwen, who could face Gary Anderson in the third round, Raymond van Barneveld in the quarter-finals and either James Wade or Lewis in the semi-finals. Anderson is exactly the kind of player whom the big guns want to avoid in the early stages of a major event because the Scot is famous for being a heavy scorer and, when he hits doubles, he is almost unstoppable. Van Barneveld is past his prime but he always seems to lift his game during the top tournaments and, of course, both Wade and Lewis are stars.
The pick of the PDC World Darts Championship title prices was always likely to be the one out of Taylor, Van Gerwen and Lewis who could not meet the other heavyweights until the final and that man is Taylor, who is available at odds of 1.91 with William Hill. Well done to anyone who snapped up odds of 5.00 about Taylor earlier this year.
With regards to PDC World Darts Championship exotics, the ones that attract mainstream attention are those pertaining to nine-dart finishes, 170 checkouts and highest averages.
Bookmakers are betting that a nine-dart finish in the PDC World Darts Championship is more likely to happen than not, with BetVictor offering odds of 1.85 about one or more perfect legs and Sportingbet quoting odds of 2.20 about there not being a magic moment. Last year Dean Winstanley and Van Gerwen recorded nine-dart finishes against Vincent van der Voort and Wade respectively, making it four editions out of the last five in which Alexandra Palace crowds have seen a perfect leg. Therefore, followers of recent PDC World Darts Championship trends will be doing business with Betway.
One is almost guaranteed to see at least one 170 checkout during the PDC World Darts Championship so the question that most bookmakers are asking is: how many 170 checkouts will there be? Over the last five tournaments there have been one instance of one 170 checkout, three instances of two 170 checkouts and one instance of four 170 checkouts. The mean and the median are two 170 checkouts one ought to be keen about taking up BetVictor’s odds of 2.38 about this year’s PDC World Darts Championship featuring either one or two 170 checkouts. One thinks that option should be around 2.00.
Finally, be wary of backing Taylor in markets on the PDC World Darts Championship highest averages. That is because Taylor may be the greatest player ever to throw tungsten at a dartboard but he has never been the heaviest scorer, with The Power relying on his skill at hitting doubles to rule the roost for two decades. More often than not in recent years Taylor has not topped the PDC World Darts Championship tournament averages so one should not get sucked in to backing him at odds against on this exotic market in preference to odds on on the tournament winner line.
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