Champions League of Darts: Odds and Betting Preview

champions leagueAfter a number of players chose to sit out the International Open at the weekend, the tournament got an unlikely winner in Gerwyn Price. It was good to see the Welshman recover after a mixed run of form since the start of the year but we’re pleased to see a more competitive entry for this week’s tournament.

The PDC circuit moves from Germany to the UK and it’s down to Brighton for the third annual running of the Champions League of Darts. It’s a smaller field in this format but a much stronger one with Van Gerwen, Anderson and Cross making a welcome return to the Oche.

History and Format

This is one of the more recent events on tour with the Champions League of darts being first held in 2016 at the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena. The inaugural tournament was won by the great Phil Taylor and a year later we were in Cardiff again to see Mensur Suljovic take the title.

The Austrian is back in 2018 to defend his crown at a new venue – the Brighton Centre – but ‘The Gentle’ is merely fifth favourite for success this time around.

Only eight players take part in the tournament and they are selected from the PDC Order of Merit. The eight are split into two groups of four who will play each other on a Round Robin basis before the top two in each section progress to the semi finals.

During the Groups, the games are played as a best of 19 leg contest while in the semi finals and the final itself, it’s a race to 11. That’s the simple format so who is descending on Brighton to do battle from Saturday to Sunday – 22nd to 23rd September this weekend?

Man to Beat

Among those returning to darts this week is Michael Van Gerwen and it’s no surprise to see the Dutchman take his customary place at the top of the outright betting. MVG was the losing finalist to Phil Taylor in 2016 but he’s the clear favourite for this year’s renewal at best odds of 10/11 with William Hill and 888Sport.

Mighty Mike has enjoyed that rest and despite the fact that he has lost unexpectedly at times this season, he’s the best darter on show and a worthy favourite.

Chasing Throwers

Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson

Gary Anderson is also back following a much longer break and you can pick up the Flying Scotsman at a top price of 9/2 with BetFred and SportingBet for the win. Anderson also has a runners up medal in this event having lost to Suljovic last year but he got his revenge on the Austrian by beating The Gentle in the final of the World Matchplay back in July.

Our third favourite this week is current PDC World Champion Rob Cross who is on offer at best odds of 6/1 with William Hill and BetBright. ‘Voltage’ hasn’t been at his best since claiming that world title on New Year’s Day but supporters would have been delighted to see him lift the Brisbane Masters last month.

Moving through the field, Peter Wright is available at 15/2 with Betway and SportingBet and then we come to reigning champion Mensur Suljovic at 12/1 with Ladbrokes and Black Type. Both men have enjoyed some success this season and Wright is our most recent winner, having taken out the Melbourne Masters in August.

Outside Punts

We only have eight throwers taking part this week so it’s debatable whether there any real outsiders but behind Suljovic, the prices really start to move out. We have just three more players to consider and they are Dave Chisnall at 33/1 with Coral and BetBright, Daryl Gurney at a best of 40/1 with 10Bet and SportPesa and then bringing up the rear is Simon Whitlock at 66/1 with Ladbrokes and Black Type.

There could be some interest in Wizard Whitlock after he reached the final of the International Open last Sunday but the Australian was one of a number of darters to take advantage of a weakened field. We think that Whitlock should at least be ahead of Chizzy and Gurney who have done very little this year but it’s unlikely that any of these three will win it.

Verdict

Simon Whitlock
Simon Whitlock

The Round Robin format in the early stages of the Champions League of Darts tends to rule out the outside bets. There is potential for one upset in this stage but with throwers playing three games ahead of the knockouts, the better players should come through to the latter stages.

At that point there could be potential for an upset and while we’ve recently backed Michael Van Gerwen to success at an odds on price, he’s not tempting us this week. From this point onwards, it’s all about finding form in the tournaments that lead up to the World Championships in December and many of the contenders are coming in ‘cold’ after missing at least one event prior to this.

It’s a tough call but the one man who should be fully rested is Gary Anderson who has been away from the Oche longer than most. Those spells out of the sport can lead to mixed results when making the comeback but the Flying Scotsman has the temperament and the quality to come through and deliver at what looks to be a reasonable 9/2 price.

Best Bets for Champions League of Darts 2018: