Players Championship Finals: Odds and Betting Preview
We’re getting ever closer to the high point of the darts season and with the World Championships just around the corner, another PDC Major is upon us this weekend. The Players Championship finals go off in Minehead and with the best darters looking for form ahead of the big one, we have another strong field heading to the West of England this week.
Gerwyn Price is our most recent winner on the circuit while Michael Van Gerwen is our defending champion so let’s quickly look to the history of this tournament before considering our list of runners and riders.
History and Format
The very first Players Championship Finals series was held in 2009 and the winner of that first event was the great Phil Taylor. The Power went on to claim three titles but the most successful player in the history of this event is Michael Van Gerwen who has four trophies, including three in a row from 2015.
The other three editions of this tournament have been won by Gary Anderson, Kevin Painter and that Australian Geordie Paul Nicholson.
The event brings in the top 64 players from the 22 Players Championships across the year and they are split into four sections. Games are played as a straight knockout and in the first and second rounds, it’s the best of 11 legs. The third round and the quarter finals are best of 19 while in the semis and the final itself, it’s a race to 11 legs to determine the winner.
This year, the tournament will open on Friday November 23rd and run right across the weekend to the final on Sunday November 25.
That’s how it works so who is in the frame for 2018?
Out in Front
Michael Van Gerwen is our clear favourite this week but his inability to get over the line in recent tournaments means that the Dutchman is odds against for the Players Championship Finals. Mighty Mike is at 6/5 with most bookies but elsewhere he can be picked up at a current best of 5/4 with Boylesports.
2018 has seen MVG claim three PDC Major titles and while that would be a decent haul for most players, it’s fairly modest by his own high standards. He remains the best thrower on show here and although that relative lack of success should make punters wary, Van Gerwen has, at least, climbed above that Even Money mark.
Gary Anderson allowed himself to get rattled on his way to the final of the Grand Slam of Darts and the Flying Scotsman lost patience with eventual champion Gerwyn Price. It’s out of character to see Anderson react in that way and he needs a calmer performance at Minehead to deliver at his top price of 4/1 with BetFred in the outrights.
Behind Anderson the market starts to move out a little with his fellow Scot Peter Wright landing as third favourite at a top price of 9/1 with BetFred and Boylesports. Snakebite Wright started the year with an uncharacteristically poor performance in the Premier League but has since got close to his best without actually getting over the line in PDC Majors.
Those are the chasing darters and from there, the bookmakers are offering little hope for the rest of the field.
Rob Cross may be the reigning PDC World Champion but he’s rarely shown the same form since taking the title at Alexandra Palace at the start of the year. Voltage has continued to fall down the markets and for the Players Championship Finals, Cross heads up the outsiders at best odds of 25/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral.
A host of throwers join him at that same 25/1 top price and they include James Wade with Boylesports, Mensur Suljovic with SportingBet and Michael Smith with BetFred. Of those three, Wade has made a remarkable comeback towards the end of 2018 but Suljovic has been more consistent throughout the year and is worth a look as an Each Way punt at the very least.
We then continue to drift until we find last weekend’s winner Gerwyn Price at best odds of 33/1 with Coral and SportingBet while Adrian Lewis and Daryl Gurney can both be picked up at that same 33/1 top price with Boylesports. Other names to mention in this section include recent winner on tour Ian ‘Diamond’ White at a best of 50/1 with Boylesports while Simon Whitlock is out at a top price of 66/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral.
There are 64 players here and we can’t mention them all but some distant options to consider might include Dimitri Van Den Bergh, who completed a memorable nine-darter last week, and can be claimed at a best of 66/1 with Coral.
The competition comes with a relatively long format, even from the very first round, so there is less scope for real shocks at each stage. That could leave a number of punters to get behind the obvious choice but Michael Van Gerwen is far from dominant this year and that marginal odds against price just isn’t tempting us.
We’ve also seen that back to back wins remain rare although James Wade recently made a notable exception to that rule. Form is, therefore, tricky to maintain but we’ve seen enough quality from Gerwyn Price to suggest an Each Way bet on the Ice Man is a good place to start.
It would be good to see Price cut out the antics but he clearly rattled Gary Anderson on Sunday and that’s a reason to avoid the Flying Scotsman this week. In a tough market to call, we’re looking for consistency and while Gerwyn is the man with the current form, Mensur Suljovic is the better player across the whole season. Once again, it’s a week where Each Way bets could be the way to go and the Austrian offers decent value for an E/W punt at that 25/1 figure.
Best Bets for Players Championship Finals 2018:
- Mensur Suljovic Each Way at 25/1 with Ladbrokes
- Gerwyn Price Each Way at 33/1 with Coral