2019 Champions League of Darts: Betting and Odds Preview

champions leagueAfter a relatively quiet summer, the PDC darts bandwagon has started to roll once again with some major events taking place around the UK and Ireland. Following on from the excitement of the World Grand Prix in Dublin, the best players in the game are now crossing the Irish Sea to the Morningside Arena in Leicester.

The Champions League of Darts is this weekend’s top class competition so let’s take a moment to check out the mechanics of this tournament before moving on to see if we can pick out a winner.

Event Date: October 19, 2019

History and Format

2019 will see the fourth edition of the Champions League so this is still relatively new in terms of the PDC Calendar. The great Phil Taylor was the first champion back in 2016 and he was followed, in chronological order, by Mensur Suljovic and Gary Anderson.

Having been held at the Brighton Centre 12 months ago, the tournament now switches to Leicester for the first time.

Only the top eight players from the PDC Order of Merit are invited to take part in this competition. An initial group stage sees those eight men separated into two groups of four and the top two in each section will progress straight to the knockouts.

In those group stages, the throwers will play each other once in best of 19 legs contests. From there, the semi final and the final are the best of 21. It’s a quickfire tournament - played on Saturday and Sunday the 19th to the 20th of October but who’s going to win?

Man to Beat

Michael van Gerwen
Michael van Gerwen

The Champions League of Darts is one of the few tournaments to have eluded Michael Van Gerwen so far. The Dutchman has made a welcome return to form after a dip earlier in the year and he is the outright favourite at odds of 5/4 with Ladbrokes and Betway.

That early season slump has seen Mighty Mike drift above Even Money for recent tournaments and there could be some value in that 5/4 price. MVG was the runner up to Taylor in 2016 but it’s his recent form that marks him out as the main contender.

Following victory in the World Championships on New Year’s Day, Van Gerwen also claimed the Premier League title and after that dip, he returned to form with two wins in Australasia. A comfortable win in the World Grand Prix final over Dave Chisnall sets him up nicely for this weekend and this may be the last time we see MVG at an odds against price for the foreseeable future.

Chasing Throwers

Second favourite this week is Rob Cross who can be picked up at 11/2 with Betway. The 2018 PDC World Champion has enjoyed a solid year which provided success in the World Matchplay. Defending Champion Gary Anderson is next at a top price of 8/1 with Coral while SportingBet also have 8/1 next to the name of Peter Wright.

Of those names, Wright may offer the biggest challenge as he returned that record breaking average last week. An incredible return of 123.5 against Krzysztof Ratajski in the Players Championship accelerated a 6-0 win but Snakebite then went down in the semi finals to Brendan Dolan.

Moving through the field, Gerwyn Price is making his Champions League debut and the fiery Welshman can be claimed at best odds of 12/1 with Royal Panda. Daryl Gurney is also quoted at 12/1 with Betway and Black Type while James Wade and Michael Smith complete the betting at the same price of 14/1 with BetFred.

There are no outrageously long prices in this week’s markets as we have that limited field of eight players. Picking some profits should be simpler but who will come through to lift the big prize?

Verdict

Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson

The format of this tournament leaves less room for upsets: In the group stage, players can recover from an early loss and still go through to the knockouts with two wins from three. The games are relatively long as well: There are no best of seven shootouts and over 19 legs, the stronger throwers should always come through.

The structure also means that we don’t have to worry about which half of the draw is the stronger one. For example, even if you are looking at a player who happens to be in Michael Van Gerwen’s section, that thrower can still come through to the knockouts in second place and from there, anything can happen.

Taking all of that information into account, the format does rather point to a Van Gerwen win. A few weeks ago we wouldn’t have been quite so confident but the Dutch darter is back to his best and the structure of this competition is giving him a helping hand.

If you disagree, the figures available for Rob Cross and Peter Wright may hold the best value. Cross has been a little more consistent this year but Wright clearly still has the quality to take out a major PDC tournament. As for our confirmed tips, Van Gerwen to win isn’t exactly original but while he remains at odds-against figures, there is some value to be had.

Add in Rob Cross as an Each Way option and hopefully we can claim some decent returns at the climax of the Champions League of Darts.

Best Bets: