Tue, Dec 20, 4:20pm by Senior Writer
That most wonderful of British Christmas traditions, the PDC World Darts Championships, is currently gracing our screens, and while the champion won’t be crowned until the New Year, we have a long odds-on favourite.
Dutchman Michael Van Gerwen is in imperious form having won 43 tournaments in the past two years. He won six of ten European Tour events, five Players Championships and two World Series tournaments in 2016 and it’s little wonder he is currently $1.67 for the 2017 world title.
The only black mark on his 2016 campaign was his failure to win the world title early in the year. He was knocked out in a major shock by compatriot Raymond Van Barneveld in the third round.
His only victory in the tournament came back in 2014, and there is undoubtedly a sense of unfinished business about his previous performances at Alexandra Palace.
He opened his campaign with a thoroughly dominant win over Kim Viljanen and meets Cristo Reyes in the next round, but doesn’t play again until Wednesday December 28 (AEDT). His is $1.01 to win that match with Reyes at $15.
Also through to the second round is a name most sports fans will be familiar with, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor. Taylor is widely regarded as the finest darts player of all time having won this tournament an extraordinary 14 times.
Taylor defeated Australia’s David Platt in the opening round and now faces English compatriot Kevin Painter in the next round. The Power is $1.05 to win that match-up with Painter at $8, while Taylor is $10 third favourite to win this for a 15th time.
Second pick at $6.50 is two-time defending champion Gary Anderson from Scotland. Anderson defeated Taylor 7-6 in the 2015 final and Adrian Lewis 7-5 in last year’s decider. He opened with a 3-0 win over Mark Frost and next plays Andrew Gliding. That match-up will take place at 7:30am Christmas Eve (AEDT) with Anderson at $1.05 and Gliding at $8.
With the two other Aussies, Corey Cadby and Platt, already eliminated, Australian interest again centres on Simon ‘The Wizard’ Whitlock. Whitlock’s first-up match-up is against either Boris Koltsov or Dragutin Horvat on Wednesday morning AEDT.
Ranked 17 in the Order of Merit, Whitlock is $1.05 to beat whoever his opponent is in the first round. While Darren Webster awaits in the second round, Whitlock’s likely third round opponent would be van Gerwen.
That makes it unlikely The Wizard will be claiming his first world championship, having finished runner-up to Power in 2010. He is $151 win the title with Sportsbet.
PDC World Championship 2017 Markets (Sportsbet)
Michael van Gerwen $1.67
Gary Anderson $6.50
Phil Taylor $10
Peter Wright $11
Adrian Lewis $26
Dave Chisnall $34
James Wade $34
Raymond van Barneveld $41
Jelle Klaasen $67
Michael Smith $81
Mensur Suljovic $126
Simon Whitlock $151
Kim Huybrechts $151
Benito van de Pas $151
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