The festive period is almost upon us, and as per usual, there’s a host of great sporting events and betting opportunities to look forward to. One such event is the World Darts Championship, the pinnacle of the PDC calendar, and it will run right through from the 17th of December to the 3rd of January 2016.
A total of 72 of the best tungsten stars in the world will compete for the top prize of £300,000 at the famous Alexandra Palace venue, and it promises to be as action-packed as ever. Michael van Gerwen looks almost unstoppable having won the previous four televised tournaments en route to this competition, and the Dutch star is playing above even his own high standards right now, but that doesn’t mean we should abandon the rest of the competition for betting purposes, as there are plenty of other markets to get stuck into.
One such market is the winner of each quarter of the draw, and with four games to be played before a place in the semi finals can be booked, each section is like a mini competition in its own right. The first quarter, which involves Mighty Mike, might well be worth avoiding, but Peter Wright looks to have an outstanding chance of winning the 2nd quarter at a very decent price.
Michael van Gerwen is trading as low as -278 to win his section of the draw, and while that may appeal to the ‘money-buyers’ out there, it’s not tempting enough for us, particularly when we’ve already backed him to win the title outright.
The likes of Raymond van Barneveld, Michael Smith and Ian White will aim to cause an upset by ousting the world number one, but it would be a shock of epic proportions if he failed to make it past the quarter finals.
We’d rather concentrate on Peter Wright who at +333 with BetVictor is a good bet to win what is probably the most open of each of the four quarters.
‘Snakebite’ is well known for his colourful appearance and presence on the stage, but the quality of his darts has shone through in the last couple of years, and he is by no means just an entertainer. He was runner-up in this event two years ago, and also finished as runner-up in the recent World Series of Darts; both times going down to van Gerwen in the finals.
He does have competition in his section, most notably in the form of Adrian Lewis and Dave Chisnall, and Lewis may well present the biggest danger after reaching the final of the Players Championship Finals, only to meet an in-form van Gerwen. If both players progress to the quarter final as expected, Wright will have to overcome the ‘Jackpot’, but he is more than capable of doing so if he plays to his best.
Gary Anderson looks a snip at +125 with Bwin to win the 3rd quarter, despite his recent loss of form.
He won this tournament for the first time last year, and will be preparing thoroughly to defend his title. He made early second round exits at the Grand Slam of Darts and the Players Championship Finals, but was runner-up to van Gerwen in the European Championship at the start of November. Let’s not forget that he is the current World and Premier League champion, and the draw has been kind enough to give him a reasonable run to the quarters.
If and when he gets there, his likely opponent could be one of James Wade and Simon Whitlock, and while the pair are both quality players, Anderson will have too much for them if he is back to his best at this illustrious venue.
Finally, this could be the tournament where Phil Taylor comes back to life, and a price of -161 with Coral is worth a nibble.
The Power is synonymous with this competition, having amassed an incredible 16 world titles, and he will feel immediately at home with huge support from the crowd. He has already spoken about his desire for this tournament throughout the season, and while his form has been less than average by his own standards this year, there have been signs that he is ready to take his place at the top table again.
Taylor made it all the way to the semi-finals of the Players Championship Finals before going down 11-9 to Peter Wright, and if he comes here in that sort of form, the quarter is his for the taking. Again, with the greatest of respect to the other competitors, Taylor has been given an excellent chance by the draw which offers a relatively smooth path to the quarter final. His biggest danger there could be Scotsman Robert Thornton, but in top form no-one can compete with the Power.
We’ve also advised a small each-way bet on Taylor alongside our main outright bet on van Gerwen, because if there is one man who can upset the Dutchman, it’s the Stoke legend. The first round is over a quickfire best of five legs, and this is where upsets are more likely to happen, but Taylor has been given a ‘soft’ draw – starting his campaign against either Keita Ono or Alex Tagarao. If he negotiates that potential banana skin, the following two rounds are over 7 legs, and the quarter final over 9, and if he holds his nerve he ought to win this section comfortably.
World Darts Championship 17th December – 3rd January
Peter Wright to win the 2nd Quarter
Gary Anderson to win the 3rd Quarter
Phil Taylor to win the 3rd Quarter
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