First-time finalist Michael Smith has the unenviable task of trying to prevent favourite Michael van Gerwen from claiming a third PDC World Championship title.
Englishman Smith is at last delivering on the biggest stage of all and is unlikely to be overawed, having matched MVG in averaging well over 100 in each of his last three matches.
However, he will have to make a step up from the performance which saw him beaten 11-4 by ‘Mighty Mike’ in the final of the Premier League earlier this season – their only previous major final meeting.
Michael Smith to win first set @ 7/5
Smith made a flying start in his semi-final win over Nathan Aspinall, winning the first two sets without dropping a leg to demoralise his fellow Englishman straight away.
A similar start against Van Gerwen will be that much more difficult, but Smith still offers the value option in the battle to put the first set on the board at the Ally Pally on New Year’s Day.
Michael Smith to win 7-5 @ 12/1
However, Smith has the game to give MVG a real fright and he certainly shouldn’t be discounted as a possible winner, having thrown in 17 maximums and five ton plus finishes as he roared past Aspinall.
A repeat of that sort of form and a holding of nerve in the biggest match of his life could see Smith take the honours, even if logic is shouting that Van Gerwen will come out on top.
If you think that MVG is going to prove unbeatable, he is 11/2 to win by a 7-5 scoreline, but do bear in mind that he failed to register a finish of more than 90 in his 6-1 semi-final thrashing of Gary Anderson.