PDC WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIPS: 64 of the world’s best players, thousands of fans crammed in to Alexandra Palace, and millions more watching on at home, it can only be the PDC World Darts Championships. Darts has charted a spectacular rise in popularity over the last ten years, much of this is owed to the increased competitiveness within the upper echelons of the sport. Gone are the days where one player, Phil Taylor, could win seven world championships in a row. The crown may still be closed to a player outside the top ten Order of Merit, but there’s a growing number of players with TV tournament wins and as a consequence a growing interest and audience.
The more things change the more things stay the same. That’s certainly what Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson will be hoping. The last five consecutive PDC WC finals have been contested by at least one of the two players, with last year pitting the two against each other. The status quo is such for a reason, and this year the reason is relatively clear. MVG and Anderson have landed on opposite sides of the draw, as they did last year. Van Gerwen will have to dispose of several promising competitors to secure his path to what would be a fourth final. Anderson will have to deal with a wealth of experience, and provided he makes the quarter finals, will be charged with the task of disposing of Phil Taylor.
Taylor, to all intents and purposes, has signalled the ever improving state of competitiveness in the world of Darts. Untouchable over the course of the majority of his career, his last few years have been characterised by a lack of TV tournament titles. ‘The Power’ won this year’s World Matchplay, prior to that however, Taylor endured a two year barren spell without major silverware. Possibly seeing what was on the cards, and acknowledging his 57 years of age, Taylor has decided to retire at the end of this season.
Will there be a fairy tale finish for the most successful of them all? We can’t see it happening. He would possibly have to meet James Wade in the last 16, Anderson in the quarters (this is where it will likely end), either Adrian Lewis or Peter Wright in the semis, and of course, MVG is expected to await whoever gets to the final. Taylor has been consistent though, the Englishman has registered Semi-Final appearances in 4 major tournaments just this year. His current form should discourage anyone from laying him outright, and recent history should stop you from backing him despite the tempting price of 14.5.
A cursory glance at the outright market on Betdaq will scream one particular fact. Michael van Gerwen, at around odds of 1.7 is an overwhelming favourite for title. A distant second in the betting is Gary Anderson at 8’s, and then we have Taylor, Peter Wright, and Rob Cross all around 15’s. Easy to find value in this market it is not. We’ve covered Taylor and why we think he’s to be avoided betting-wise, Peter Wright was hospitalised just two weeks and is yet to crack Alexandra Palace all things being told, and Rob Cross looks extremely promising but is an extremely short price for someone who has yet to win a TV tournament and sits outside the Order of Merit top ten for this year.
There are however, a host of promising value selections in what could be considered the next bracket of prices. Daryl Gurney, available around 47 on our exchange, is the fourth highest ranked player in the sport this year. He’s won the World Grand Prix just two months ago, and is now a permanent fixture in the last eight of major tournaments. There does remain a concern about his temperament and ability to see out matches of high tension. That price though. . .
Another top player with a big price is Mensur Suljovic. The Austrian won this years’ Champions League of Darts, he’s claimed enough tournament prize money for a top five ranking, and is set for a quarter final showdown with either Rob Cross or Daryl Gurney. His path could lead you to a Semi Final where laying out of his current outright price of 56, would be both highly profitable and enjoyable.
Considering and acknowledging that MVG is unopposable, but also not liking his very short 1.7 price, we are left with the option of getting slightly creative in the search for probable profit. As just discussed, we feel Gurney and Suljovic’s start off prices of around 50’s leaves excellent room for backing now, shortening, and ultimately, laying at the Semi Final stage as they face off against van Gerwen. Daryl Gurney will have to beat both Rob Cross and Suljovic to get to that point, whereas Suljovic will need to overcome Bunting and Gurney/Cross.
This lands us on backing Suljovic now, and laying out as soon as a modest profit can be locked in.
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