We’re on the eve of the World Championship, 96 players, 28 sessions, and a million pints of your favourite bevvy shared out between 80,000 wild fans at the Ally Pally, and it’s wide open this year in my view. It’s going to be fantastic this year, it’s like a cross between Munich’s Oktoberfest and the best fancy dress party you’ve ever seen!
Plenty are saying it’s a two-horse race, between Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price, but I think there’s a few others who can get in the mix this year. Here are the frontrunners…
He’s a short-priced favourite, and he’s been in excellent form this year. He’s has won a lot – seven of the televised titles, including the Champions League, the Premier League and the World Grand Prix. He’s the World number one, and a three-time world champion, but he’s there to be taken down at 5/4.
He hasn’t had everything his own way. He was beaten in the final of the Grand Slam by Price and that’ll give him encouragement heading into this tournament.
MVG does have one of the easier draws to the quarter-finals. The only real threat I can see to him is James Wade (40/1) in the opening rounds.
Everyone’s talking about a Price v Van Gerwen final – that’s 4/1 at the moment and I wouldn’t put you off that as both are playing terrific darts. Gerwyn’s started to the crowd back on his side recently. They didn’t like him after his bust-up with Gary Anderson in the Grand Slam final last year but he’s winning people over with his play this year.
He’s a former rugby union and league player and he’s bringing the winning mentality from those sports into darts.
Gerwyn Price will cause major problems this year and is 5/4 to make it out of the fourth quarter of the draw.
You couldn’t rule out Rob Cross, he won the Matchplay this year even though his form hasn’t been great.
He is in a tough quarter of the draw though. There’s Peter Wright and Dave Chisnall, and Jermaine Wattimena has been playing well too.
Rob could come through that section, but I’d back Dave Chisnall at 9/2 to make the semi-finals for the value.
He’s not been practising as hard this year after his back injury, he’s getting older too and had his two titles, He’ll still have the odd burst of brilliance, but he’s not as consistent as he was.
Anderson, Nathan Aspinall, Michael Smith and Adrian Lewis are in the remaining quarter, and I fancy Aspinall to cause some upsets and possibly even reach the final.
He’s in great form and is a massive price at 40/1 to win it all – and he’s 11/2 to win the second quarter of the draw.