As an addition to the 2017 World Series of Darts the US Darts Masters will take place for the first time ever in Las Vegas this weekend. The tournament pits eight North American players against eight PDC players, and it has the potential to be a great date on the dart calendar in the coming years.
Phil Taylor had to pull out of the competition due to health reasons just last week, and he has been replaced among the PDC entrants by James Wade. However, there is still a very strong contingent from the PDC, including Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright, Gary Anderson, and Raymond van Barneveld.
The North American game is not considered to be at the same standard to the very top level of the European game, but qualifiers have been underway throughout the week as the big players on that side of the pond earn the right to go up against the stars of the PDC. Notable qualifiers include Canada’s Dave Richardson and David Cameron.
The competition will be played over the course of Friday and Saturday, with Friday’s first round games over the best of 11 legs. The quarters, semis, and final will all be played on Saturday’s ‘finals’ day, each over the course of 15 legs.
As ever it’s very difficult to get away from Michael van Gerwen, and he is selected to win at odds of -133 with Bwin.
Nobody will get rich with uninspiring bets like this, but such is the Dutchman’s dominance that it makes perfect sense to back him. Alongside the main bet we’ll also make the case for an each-way longshot – a tactic that has served well in the past as an ‘exotic’ option to go with the obvious bet. Most bookmakers are paying out at a third of the odds for a top two finish, so if you can call the other finalist a tidy profit awaits – even if they fail to win.
Van Gerwen collected the Shanghai Masters last week by whitewashing Dave Chisnall 8-0 in the final, a ruthless display that once again confirmed his position as number one. He did face a scare in the quarter final against Phil Taylor, having to fight back from 5-0 down to beat his old adversary, but eventually went on to win 8-7. An 8-4 victory over James Wade followed, before the final whitewash.
After securing the trophy MVG stated that he was looking forward to the fun in Vegas and hopes to add another trophy to his collection. One suspects that he will be very focused for this, with the intention of being the first ever winner of a competition that is only likely to grow in the future.
For our each-way side bet we’ll nominate Mighty Mike’s fellow Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld. Barney can be backed at +2200 to win the tournament, and he could be worth chancing.
In 2017 he’s reached the semi final of the World Championship and the quarter finals of both the UK Open and the Masters. He was in decent form last week at the Shanghai Masters, reaching the semi final before going down 8-4 to Dave Chisnall.
There is stiff competition of course from the likes of Gary Anderson and Peter Wright, but with both priced around the +500 mark, there is nothing overly exciting about backing either player. One of the North American players might be worth backing as a long shot in the first round matches, as there is a good possibility that one will turn over a PDC player – Max Hopp perhaps looking the most vulnerable. The full draw is yet to be made, but it could be worth keeping an eye on Canadian David Cameron – the one player who might cause an upset.
Michael van Gerwen to win the US Darts Masters
14th – 15th July
Raymond van Barneveld to win the US Darts Masters – each way bet
14th – 15th July