The 2018 World Cup of Darts is the eighth edition of a prestigious team tournament that brings together the best players from the majority of darts playing nations. Those teams comprise two throwers who will look to progress through several rounds before the final showdown.
This year, the tournament is sponsored by Betway, starting on May 31 and running right through to June 3. Frankfurt in Germany is our destination so let’s take a look at how the competition works and see if we can pick a winner.
Format and History
A total of eight seeded teams are determined before a dart is thrown and this year, that particular list comprises the Netherlands, Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Australia, Belgium and Austria. They are joined by 24 further countries and the tournament works on a straight knockout basis.
In the first round, it’s the best of a nine legs doubles match so it’s a quick game and there can be surprise results at times but these remain relatively rare. The matches increase in length with doubles and singles games being played so once a team gets past the first round, there is less scope for shock outcomes.
The Netherlands are our reigning champions and have the same team of Michael Van Gerwen and Raymond Van Barneveld back to defend their crown. Of the seven previous editions, the Dutch have won on three separate occasions and Barney has been involved each time.
The only other country to have won the World Cup of Darts is England who have claimed four titles with the same team of Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis. The English are second seeds in 2018 but neither Lewis nor Taylor are back to compete this time.
That’s your brief guide to the tournament so who are the bookies putting in the frame for success this year?
Team to Beat
The Dutch team of Barney and MVG are only seeded third but the bookmakers have them as clear favourites at best odds of Even Money with the sponsors Betway. It’s been another successful period for Van Gerwen and while some will see Van Barneveld as the weak link in the team, he is solid in this format and has enjoyed some success in individual tournaments in 2018.
The top seeds are the Scottish pairing of Peter Wright and Gary Anderson who can be backed in the outright win market at a top price of 11/4 with SportingBet. This is a common pairing for the Scots and the two men reached the 2015 final but form is mixed between them.
Anderson has picked up tournament wins since the start of 2018 but Snakebite Wright is struggling somewhat and failed, surprisingly, to make the last four of the PDC Premier League.
England then come in as third favourites at a top price of 4/1 with 10Bet as they compete with a new pairing of Rob Cross and Dave Chisnall. Cross is, of course, our reigning PDC World Champion but it’s not been such a productive 12 months for Chizzy and this is a pairing that seems to lack balance.
Behind the three favourites, the prices really start to drift so, as far as the bookies are concerned, this could be a battle between England, Scotland and the Netherlands.
The Australian team of Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson may be seeded fourth but they are some way behind the favourites at best odds of 20/1 with Betway for the outright win. Also at 20/1, this time with Coral, are Wales who were beaten by the Dutch in the final 12 months ago.
Wales arrive with a different team this time and while Gerwyn Price is retained, he is partnered in 2018 by Jonny Clayton so the side are something of an ‘unknown quantity’.
Austria, led by the competent Mensur Suljovic, then follow at best odds of 28/1 with Betway while Belgium are next, moving out to a top price of 40/1 with Coral. The only one of the eight seeds we’ve yet to mention are Northern Ireland at a distant best of 66/1 with BetFred.
Although they are as short as 25/1 in places, that figure actually puts the pairing of Daryl Gurney and Brendan Dolan behind the unseeded Germans who are quoted at a top price of 50/1 with Ladbrokes.
Prices then start to move into three figures, starting with Poland at a best of 150/1 with Betway so we’ve reached our most unlikely options. Canada, at 250/1 with 10Bet, field former World Champion John Part but in the main we now have up and coming players who have yet to really make their mark on the world of darts.
A full set of markets will appear for each game once the draws are made but for now, it’s all about picking a winner from that list of outright prices. We should probably ignore the seeding as the Dutch are worthy favourites as defending champions and a team that includes the best player in the world in Michael Van Gerwen.
It will be interesting to see how England perform with a new pairing but their success would rely on Dave Chisnall being at his absolute best in supporting PDC World Champion Rob Cross. Any team can come through the pack and there is, of course, the chance that we could see a shock result in a very short first round knockout format.
Van Gerwen could carry the Dutch on their own but the team that interests us are second favourites Scotland and while they may not deserve to be ranked number one, that seeding could well help the pairing of Wright and Anderson.
The Scots are in the top half of the draw which means that if all goes to plan they will avoid their main threats – England and the Netherlands – until the final. That would leave Austria, Australia and Wales along the way and Scotland should beat any of those sides, even if they are slightly off form.
There would be no room for error in a likely final against either the English or the Dutch and while Peter Wright in particular would need a boost in form after a poor Premier League, Scotland look good value here as the second favourites.
Best Bets For Betway World Cup of Darts 2018:
- Scotland to win at 11/4 with SportingBet