The World Championships over Christmas and the New Year produced some brilliant darts, some great shocks and a thrilling final. Gary Anderson retained his title with the 7-5 win over Adrian Lewis, and the current Premier League Champion is ready for another tilt at the top competitions in 2016. His main rival, Michael van Gerwen was uncharacteristically dumped out at the last 16 stage by fellow Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld, who himself went on a great run to the semi finals. The world number one had won the previous four televised tournaments before that shock, and he’ll be itching to get back out in front of the TV cameras at this weekends Masters and next week’s Premier League.
While many punters will look no further than the top two seeds, we’re casting the net a bit further to look for value among the outsiders for the competition. Peter Wright and Dave Chisnall are yet to win a major televised competition, but both have been knocking on the door in recent seasons, and both are a big price to cause a shock when some opponents may have eyes on next Thursday’s new Premier League season.
This tournament is reserved for the top 16 players on the PDC order of merit, and is played over legs rather than sets. The first round and quarter finals are played over 19 legs, with the semi finals and the final over 21.
Flying Scotsman Takes World Championship
There’s no doubt that Gary Anderson and van Gerwen are the two to beat at the ArenaMK in Milton Keynes, with the Flying Scotsman potentially high on confidence after retaining the World Championship, and van Gerwen probably desperate to bounce back after his no-show at Alexandra Palace.
Anderson was critical of his own performances on the way to reclaiming his trophy, so there could be plenty of improvement to come which is an ominous thought for his competitors in the coming year. It might be fair to say he had a slow start but there was nothing wrong with the 105 average in the quarter finals against James Wade, nor with the 107 average in the semi final where he beat Jelle Klaasen 6-0. The final itself with Lewis was a record-breaker with the pair combining to produce 34 180’s, and Anderson ran out a 7-5 winner in the end.
He has mentioned that his priority is the Premier League this season and he may not be fully wound up for this tournament less than four weeks after taking the World title. You can get +350 on Anderson if you think he’ll win back-to-back tournaments.
Can van Gerwen Bounce Back?
Michael van Gerwen was shocked by the 4-3 defeat to van Barneveld in the last 16 of the World Championship, and had been expecting much more considering his prior form. He’d won all four of the previous televised tournaments leading up to the World championship, and will be bitterly disappointed. That makes him a dangerous customer here, although he will be looking ahead to the Premier League, and at such typically short odds there’s a big element of risk.
Ironically it was van Barneveld that he beat in the final when he took this competition last year, smashing his countryman 11-6 with an astonishing average of over 112. He’s available at a best price of +175 if you think he’ll retain the title.
Assessing the Outside Shots
We’d rather look at some of the outsiders for this one, who may sense an opportunity to take advantage of any chinks in the top players’ amour. Both Adrian Lewis and James Wade have stated that the Premier league is their priority and that’s enough to put us off backing either, despite their obvious chances.
The one anomaly in the market is Phil Taylor, currently available at +900 in places, which is almost unheard of. The Power had a torrid 2015 though, and the odds definitely reflect that. He failed to make the Premier League play-offs for the first time ever, and struggled for form throughout the year. He arrived at Alexandra Palace with high hopes of a 17th title but was knocked out in the third round by Jelle Klaasen, and he doesn’t look anything like his best at the moment.
He mentioned after going out that his divorce will be finalized in February, and that he is looking ahead to the year. At some point he will probably come back to form and take a title at a huge price, but at the moment its hard to put too much faith in him – particularly when he shares van Gerwen’s half of the draw.
Wright made it to the quarter finals of the World Championship, where he was knocked out by eventual finalist Adrian Lewis. He’s suffered defeat in four televised finals without ever getting his nose in front, but that first tournament win can surely not be too far away. In terms of the draw, he opens against Ian White and will face either Taylor or Klaasen in the quarter final.
Dave Chisnall +2100 with William Hill
Dave Chisnall is another who gives the impression that his turn isn’t far away, after a string of decent efforts in 2015. He reached four quarter finals last year and caught the eye in the Premier league with several high-profile victories taking him to the play-offs, where he finished a semi-finalist. He’s suffered at the hands of Michael van Gerwen on numerous occasions in the last 12 months, but having been moved to 10th in the order of merit, he avoids the Dutchman and finds himself in the bottom half of the draw. He’ll open against Robert Thornton and could give us a good run for our money at a long price.
Peter Wright to win the Unibet Masters – Each Way
Saturday 30th – Sunday 31st January, 12:45 GMT Start
Dave Chisnall to win the Unibet Masters – Each Way
Saturday 30th – Sunday 31st January, 12:45 GMT Start
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