Phil Taylor battling it out with a Dutchman for the PDC World Darts Championship has a familiar sound to it. While the Taylor v Barneveld battles sparked the PDC circuit into action, the 54 year-old Englishman now has a new nemesis from the Netherlands.
Michael Van Gerwen, just 25 years old, is looking to herald in a new era of darting dominance by winning back-to-back PDC World Championships and establish a new super-power in darts. Many see Mighty Mike as the man to beat but the bookmakers are proving old habits die hard by installing Phil Taylor as the 2/1 favourite to claim his 17th world title and dethrone MVG in the process.
The action at the Ally Pally gets underway on Thursday 18th December so let’s take a look at the runners and riders for the 22nd edition of the PDC World Darts Championships.
Phil Taylor – 2/1 Favourite
Phil ‘the power’ Taylor has turned Darts into the multi-million pound industry it is today. The sport has come a long way since the 1990’s and Taylor has been the headline act since winning his first world title in 1995.
Amazingly, the 54 year-old is still at the top of his game and seen off a whole host of rivals since his maiden win against Rod Harrington 19 years ago. But has Taylor still got enough in the tank to win this year’s World Championships?
Statistically, The Power has had a below-par season by his own lofty standards. Just two major tournament victories this year is a poor return but the Stoke born darting legend has enough experience at this level to battle his way to the business end out of the competition.
Michael Van Gerwen – 11/4 second favourite
‘Mighty Mike’ is an extraordinary talent that has the potential to re-write the history of darts over the next 20 to 25 years. His natural action and ability to score heavily is his biggest weapon.
MVG has already won the European Championships and World Grand Prix this year, while he made the final of the Premier League and World Matchplay but he has looked out of sorts recently and defending the crown will be a new experience for Van Gerwen.
His odds of 11/4 look decent enough value when comparing it against the 2/1 on Phil Taylor, but there are bigger priced alternatives that can give you a better run for your money.
Gary Anderson – 7/1
The Flying Scotsman has been heavily backed in the lead up to the tournament after an impressive season that saw him walk away with The Players Championships trophy to go with three semi final appearances in major tournaments. Anderson exudes a confidence and aura when he is on top form and this is the sharpest he has looked for a while.
There is; however, a question mark on his recent performances in the big one. Consecutive third round exits have been disappointing for the 43 year-old but he looks primed for a challenge this year – although the value on Anderson has long gone, he was available at 33/1 earlier in 2014 –but he still looks a very solid bet.
Adrian Lewis – 12/1
The former PDC champion has the talent to claim another title but he has a tough section of the draw to contend with. Raymond Van Barneveld, John Part, James Wade and Steven Bunting could be lining up against Adrian Jackpot Lewis before the semi final stages.
While his experience in lifting the PDC Title will stand him in good stead, his unpredictability on the oche and tough route to the semi-finals makes him a risky proposition in the betting markets.
James Wade – 16/1
James ‘The Machine’ Wade is a steady, consistent player and is available at around 16/1 for this year’s title. However, he lacks an edge to his game and has never reached the final at the Ally Pally. So it would no surprise if the number six seed falls short again on the biggest stage.
Meanwhile, there are a handful of players at much bigger odds that look interesting. Mervyn King is one of the form players on tour and can be backed at 66/1 and looks a good each way bet while Raymond Van Barneveld is available at 50/1 and is worth a speculative punt.
Barney won the Premier League Darts this year and has the experience and temperament to reach the final stages.