2019 World Matchplay Odds and Betting Preview

world matchplayOne of the biggest tournaments on the PDC Darts calendar begins on Saturday evening at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool as the 2019 Betfred World Matchplay gets underway.

The world’’ top 16 players have automatically qualified and will make up the seeds, to go alongside the best 16 qualifiers from the ProTour Order of Merit, which is based on prize money earned this year on non-televised tournaments.

Format and Prize Fund

Since 2013, the decision was taken by the host broadcaster, Sky Sports and the Professional Darts Corporation to decide that games will now only proceed for a maximum of six extra legs before a tie-break leg is required. For example, in a best of 19 legs first round match, if the score reaches 12–12 then the 25th leg will be the decider.

As confirmation, the tournament format will consist of:

First Round - Best of 19 legs.

Second Round - Best of 25 legs (if a match reaches 15-15, then the 31st leg will be the final and deciding leg).

Quarter-Finals - Best of 31 legs (if a match reaches 18-18, then the 37th leg will be the final and deciding leg).

Semi-Finals - Best of 33 legs (if a match reaches 19-19, then the 39th leg will be the final and deciding leg).

Final - Best of 35 legs (if the match reaches 20-20, then the 41st leg will be the final and deciding leg).

With a record tournament prize fund for the 2019 World Matchplay of £700,000, the competition will be fierce, with a fantastic view for fans within the auditorium itself and on television. Here we will look at some of the main contenders to walk away with the top prize of £150,000 at the seaside venue.

Recovery Mission

Michael van Gerwen
Michael van Gerwen

A winner of 32 PDC major tournaments, and current world number one ranked player, Michael van Gerwen has already collected the PDC World Championship and the Premier League titles in 2019, but comes to the Winter Gardens this week on a recovery mission of sorts, but why you may ask?

For the mere darting mortals, a three-year drought of winning the World Matchplay title would not be a concern for a darts professional, but van Gerwen’s record in Blackpool is not that strong in comparison to other PDC majors. Added to the fact that the Dutch star crashed out of the German Masters last weekend to world number 53, Martin Schindler 6-5, when previously leading 5-1, shows that ‘MVG’ has questions to answer.

The current odds on van Gerwen to win the World Matchplay title for the third time have drifted also. Previously as short as even money to claim the crown on the Lancashire coast, Mighty Mike can be backed as big as 17/10 with Black Type, which is a significant drift.

I would prefer to lean on the side of thought that van Gerwen will be back to his very best over the next week or so. 17/10 is one of the biggest prices on the Dutchman in recent seasons for any tournament, and even if he has suffered a shock reversal in recent times, he will be extra determined to put that right in this event.

Solid Alternative

One of the most likely winners if Michael van Gerwen does suffer defeat at the Winter Gardens, is Englishman, Rob Cross, who can be backed at the best industry price of 15/2 with the sponsors, Betfred, along with Betway.

Cross has yet to taste any PDC major glory so far in 2019, but his runners-up finishes to Nathan Aspinall in the UK Open and the solid effort of second place in the PDC Premier League, highlights that the 28-year-old is a solid alternative to van Gerwen at bigger odds.

‘Voltage’ needs to improve significantly on his only two previous outings at the Winter Gardens. Cross has only reached the last-16 stage in 2017 and 2018, but his strong scoring and solid finishing should take the world number two-ranked player much deeper in the tournament this time around.

Title Going North?

Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson

Scottish pair, Gary Anderson and Peter Wright, who linked together to win the PDC World Cup of Darts for their nation recently, are both near the top of the ante-post betting for the World Matchplay title at 10/1 with Betfred for Anderson, while William Hill and 888Sport offer 11/1 on Wright, who is looking for just his second PDC major title in an excellent career.

Gary Anderson has overcome recent concerns over his fitness in recent months after stepping out of the game to cure some issues with his back. Anderson is now back playing consistently again and should well be in the mix to repeat his win at the Winter Gardens from last year.

Dutchman, Danny Knoppert is ‘The Flying Scotsman's’ first round opponent, but things could get tougher quickly with a potential last-16 clash against the in-form Nathan Aspinall. If Anderson can navigate through the first couple of matches, then he will be a major threat in this event.

Peter Wright has seen significant support in recent days for the World Matchplay following his win in the German Masters last weekend. Lots of betting firms have had to shorten ‘Snakebite’ in their books following strong support for the popular, and eccentric Scotsman.

Wright is seeded sixth for the World Matchplay and begins his campaign against another Dutchman in Vincent van der Voort. Perhaps some of the money that has been wagered on Wright is due to the fact that he is in the kinder half of the draw. Daryl Gurney could be a last-eight opponent, while Rob Cross may await in the Semi-Finals provided both players get that far.

Others To Consider

A trio of Premier League stars (not footballers!) follow in Gerwyn Price, 16/1 with Betway and SportingBet, while Daryl Gurney is a 25/1 chance with Ladbrokes and Coral and James Wade is at 25/1 with Betfred and they are all capable of making their presence felt in this tournament.
It is 12 years since James Wade won the 2007 World Matchplay title, and his resurgence in recent tournaments suggests he can be the most successful of this bunch of potential winners.

Another player to keep an eye out for is Nathan Aspinall, who is available at the top price of 28/1 with SportingBet. The 27-year-old won the US Darts Masters recently with Aspinall hitting a three-dart average of over 107, to claim his first World Series of Darts event. Peter Wright and Rob Cross were also defeated on Aspinall’s way to the title, which highlights his emerging talents.

Conclusion

Peter Wright
Peter Wright

Despite his hiccup in Germany last weekend, Michael van Gerwen is still the man to beat in Blackpool from Saturday onwards. In terms of betting value, 17/10 may not be everyone’s thought of what people assume ‘value’ is, but this price is significantly bigger than what the Dutchman usually is to win any major tournament, and I’m prepared to get involved myself.

As with any event of this nature, there are lots of contenders, but the one that strikes me who could go well is Nathan Aspinall at 28/1 with SportingBet. Aspinall lives relatively locally to Blackpool, can sleep in his own bed, which is a plus and he is a player who is high on confidence. He can cause ripples in this tournament if he maintains his recent good form.

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