World Darts Championship: Van Gerwen heads field of 72
Ally Pally showpiece is almost here
The 2018 PDC World Darts Championship will be a tournament unlike any other.
When the action begins on Thursday night it will mark the beginning of the end for Phil Taylor.
The Power is calling time on a career that has brought 81 major honours, including 16 World Championship crowns.
Can he bow out in the most spectacular way possible? Or will Michael van Gerwen make it two in a row on the Alexandra Palace stage?
The Coral News Team look at all of the key players as the action gets underway.
The main contenders
It may be Taylor’s farewell, but that won’t bother van Gerwen. The Dutchman is odds-on at 8/11 to continue his sensational form and pick up a second-consecutive World Championship.
MVG has won the last four PDC tournaments and has collected four majors since the turn of the year. His scoring is out of this world, his doubling is infallible and he has a favourable route through to the final. The Dutchman is beatable, but it’ll take a gargantuan effort to stop him.
Gary Anderson is his most likely conqueror at 13/2. The Flying Scotsman has won two world titles at Ally Pally and crucially has been kept apart from MVG in the draw. He’s had a tough year away from the oche, but you can be sure that the 46-year-old will be back on his game in a tournament he loves.
The flamboyant Peter Wright is another who is fancied at 10/1. Snakebite has been one of the most consistent players on the circuit this year and landed a first major title in March when he beat Gerwyn Price in the UK Open. While he should have a good run in the tournament, the Coral News Team think this may be a step too far for the Scotsman.
12/1 shots to spring a shock?
Phil Taylor leads the rest of the pack at 12/1. That’s the longest price the Power has ever been to win a PDC World Championship. It’s largely down to the fact that his form in 2017 has been very hit and miss.
Taylor’s only major tournament win in the last three years was his World Matchplay success over Wright in July. It’ll be a tough ask for the Power to land another title, but on one of his favourite stages, and over the longer format, anything could happen.
While Taylor is making his final bow, fellow 12/1 shot Rob Cross will be making his debut. Those odds show how much of a danger the 27-year-old could be to darts’ established stars.
In his first year on the circuit, Voltage has won an unprecedented four tour events and reached the final of a PDC major. Only van Gerwen has been too good for him on a consistent basis. And with that experience in the bank, Cross could cause a shock on each-way terms.
Adrian Lewis comes next at 33/1, before Daryl Gurney and Mensur Suljovic provide excellent value at 40/1 and 50/1 respectively. Both are in excellent form and have the game over the longer distance to challenge the favourites. Consistency will be key if they are to mount a challenge.
Coral have also priced up a number of darting specials ahead of this year’s World Championships. It’s 8/13 for the tournament to see a nine-dart finish at any point, while you can get 4/1 about the winning player coming from England.