While the PDC Tour has remained busy in recent weeks, it’s been largely quiet in terms of major tournaments since the Premier League came to a close. That’s all set to change over nine days in July when the World’s best throwers descend on the Winter Gardens in Blackpool for the PDC World Matchplay.
This is one of the last events to be won by the great Phil Taylor and in recognition of the Power’s contribution to the sport, the players will now be throwing for the Phil Taylor trophy. We’ve a strong field but it’s one that features a familiar name at the top.
Out in Front
Despite missing out on the PDC World Championship at the very start of 2018, it’s been another productive year for Michael Van Gerwen and the Dutchman is favourite to win the World Matchplay at odds of 8/11 with William Hill and Betway.
MVG won this event for two successive years in 2015 and 2016 and so far this year has added the Masters and the Premier League to his extensive trophy cabinet. With additional successes in minor tournaments throughout 2018, he is a worthy favourite but there are plenty of challengers in what is a strong field.
Current PDC World Champion Rob Cross is the man in second place in the outright betting and the man they call ‘Voltage is available at 7/1 with RedZoneSports and EnergyBet. Cross has so far failed to add a major trophy since winning that World Title but he continues to go deep in most tournaments and will remain a threat to the biggest players.
Gary Anderson is third favourite with most bookmakers and currently on offer at best industry odds of 8/1 with SportingBet. Like most of the field, The Flying Scotsman has yet to win an event that was largely dominated by Phil Taylor but 2018 has been a very productive year with a number of victories in minor tournaments.
Behind Cross and Anderson, we have a very small gap to Peter Wright who is quoted at 9/1 with EnergyBet and 188Bet. Snakebite Wright suffered a dip in form in the Premier League but has recovered to an extent and will attract plenty of interest at that 9/1 price.
Beyond the top four, the odds really start to move out.
One player in the field who does have a decent record in this event is James Wade who is on offer at 33/1 for the outright win with 10Bet and LVBet. The ‘Machine’ won the World Matchplay in 2007 and has been a runner up on five separate occasions – most recently to Van Gerwen in 2015.
Wade is said to have been away, working on his game and his efforts look to have paid off after he made it to the semi finals of the US Darts Masters at the weekend before losing a tight contest to Gary Anderson.
Also available at those same odds of 33/1 are Mensur Suljovic who can be claimed at that price with EnergyBet and Daryl Gurney who is available at 33/1 with EnergyBet and William Hill. Both men featured in this year’s Premier League so there is a threat there but neither is in the best of form right now.
Slightly further back is Michael Smith who will get some backing at a top price of 40/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral. While Bully Boy may not have won that Premier League trophy, he made it through to the last four although he’s yet to produce the big breakthrough that those Premier League efforts have threatened.
Also in the outside bunch are Adrian Lewis at a top price of 50/1 with BetFred and Raymond Barneveld at that same 50/1 with Boylesports. Moving into three figures, Simon Whitlock is listed at best odds of 100/1 with William Hill and Betway while Dave Chisnall is further back at a top price of 125/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral.
It would seem unlikely that any darter could come through to win from this point so let’s get straight on and see if we can pick a winner.
Of the players taking part in the 2018 renewal, only James Wade and Michael Van Gerwen have ever won it. Phil Taylor’s dominance was quite remarkable – even by his own high standards – and of the 24 World Matchplays ever held, The Power won 16 of them.
His retirement leaves things more open this year although MVG is the strongest player in the competition and an obvious favourite to take his third title. 32 players take part in the tournament and it’s a lengthy battle from the very start. The first round is the best of 19 legs so there are fewer chances for shock results and that naturally plays into the hands of the favourites.
Form and class usually deliver so while James Wade is just starting to hint at a comeback, we don’t expect anyone outside of the top three favourites to come through and take this title. Michael Van Gerwen has a clear lead in the markets, as he always does, and while the Dutchman hasn’t quite dominated the darting year as he has done in the past, he can always reserve his best for the bigger tournaments.
Talking of form, if we look back to our most recent tournament, the US Masters, Gary Anderson continued his fine year with a win over Rob Cross in the final. Anderson didn’t come up against Van Gerwen in that competition but he was impressive in his finishing in particular and we think he’s good value for the World Matchplay at that 8/1 price.
Our second tip on Michael Smith is more of a punt, even as an Each Way suggestion but if Bully Boy can rediscover the form shown in this season’s Premier League, he has every chance of delivering a tidy profit at the end of this tournament.
Best Bets for BetVictor World Matchplay 2018:
- Gary Anderson to win at 8/1 with SportingBet
- Michael Smith Each Way at 40/1 with Ladbrokes