The oche returns to the Alexandra Palace this week with the 24th edition of the PDC World Championships beginning on Thursday.
‘Mighty Mike’ van Gerwen is the outright favourite with Comeon! offering generous odds of 2 / 3 ON for the Dutch master to win his second WDC world title.
It’s been a phenomenal season for van Gerwen who so far in 2016 has won The Masters, UK Open, Premier League Darts, World Matchplay, World Grand Prix, European Championship, Grand Slam of Darts and the Player Championship Finals. In other words, most of the major titles; little wonder few are looking past him to lift the trophy again.
But he’s fallible, as Phil Taylor proved in the Champions League final winning their group stage meeting 10 – 4 and then the final 11 – 5. The World Championships was Taylor’s personal property winning 11 of the first 14 finals and losing the other three.
He’s added three more World Championships to his tally and at 17/2 with Comeon! is tremendous value for a man who has proven himself at the top.
Defending champion Gary Anderson is aiming to become only the second man to win three-in-a-row but faces strong competition for his title. At 6/1, there’s bound to be a lot of interest in the Scot to retain his trophy, even if he’s been troubled by failing eyesight and a change of darts.
Glasses solved the first problem and a return to his favoured arrows the second. The year started well with the last World Championships but that’s been his only major so far. Will this one change? The hunger for a little bit of history should spur him on to the last four and beyond.
The last of my predicted semi-finalists is Peter Wright. Runner-up to van Gerwen in 2014, Wright is enjoying his best year yet in the PDC. Above Taylor in the Order of Merit, is this the moment when the Scot finally wins a major?
If you’re going to break your duck, let’s be honest, there isn’t a better place to do it than the Ally Pally or in the World Championships! And at 10/1, winning outright could make someone very happy and a lot richer.
‘Snakebite’ will be hoping someone dumps van Gerwen out of the tournament: he’s played the Dutchman in his three major finals as well as three of his four TV finals, and lost all of them. There’s always the promise of something more from Wright and the feeling is that if he can beat van Gerwen, he’ll land a host of majors and TV titles.
Away from this quartet, there are some enticing odds on offer. Comeon! is offering 25/1 for Dave Chisnall to win and an each-way bet might provide some dividends from the Englishman, particularly as he’s in Anderson’s half of the draw which looks like giving an easier route to the final.
A good outside bet and like Chisnall worth an each-way is Raymond van Barneveld, currently 31/1. A dimmer shadow of his former glory, he’s beaten van Gerwen already this year and had some good runs to the latter stages of tournaments.
If he and Taylor can reach the last four, we’ll all be turning out like the audience in The Good Old Days!