It’s that wonderful time of year when the PDC World Championship comes back into our lives once again. The festive feast of arrows beginnings on Tuesday December 15 and runs all the way to the 2021 final on Sunday January 03.
Thankfully, we will have some fans in attendance to hum along to the Planet Funk classic Chase The Sun, as 96 players will take to the oche in a battle for £500,000 in prize money and the all-important title of ‘world champion’. But, the question is, who will be holding the glorious Sid Waddell Trophy aloft at the end of it all? We’ve had a look through the markets to see if we can hit a bullseye for you!
It may have been an up-and-down year for Gerwyn ‘The Iceman’ Price, but don’t sleep on the Welsh darting sensation. Although he initially toiled after making the switch from Rugby League, the muscle-bound arrower is now one of the most consistent winners on the PDC Tour.
Price now knows how to win big TV events and has three major PDC titles to his name, including this year’s World Grand Prix and he also picked up the 2020 World Cup of Darts alongside his countryman Jonny Clayton. He was a semi-finalist in this event last year (where he was beaten by eventual winner Peter Wright), but The Iceman has all the tools the chisel out a victory on grandest stage of them all this time around.
Of course, if you’re wondering who the favourite is, you mustn’t know your darts at all! Don’t worry, we are here to clue you in. It’s ‘The Green Machine’ Michael van Gerwen! Under normal circumstances we would be talking about Mighty Mike being an almost unbackable frontrunner for the tournament he’s captured three times in this career (2014, 2017, 2019). But, MVG has been uncharacteristically off the boil in 2020.
Van Gerwen recently saw off a game Mervyn King in the Players Championship Finals and picked the UK Open back in early March, but they are the only big competitions the Dutch man has added to his bulging trophy cabinet this year. However, if Van Gerwen finds his ‘A’ game no one on Planet Darts can live with him, so don’t let us put you off backing the great MVG.
What of the defending champion you ask? Peter Wright’s 2020 victory at Alexandra Palace will go down as one of those feelgood sporting moments you were glad to be alive to witness, as he finally took down his archnemesis Michael van Gerwen in a major final after so many close calls. Wright’s struggles with consistency have plagued him this year though, and that makes it hard to have confidence in the Scot to make it two wins on the spin.
There are a few dangerous men available at decent odds you should be keeping an eye on before and during the event. Dimitri van den Bergh is certainly one of those players, and it’s been a breakthrough year for the likeable Belgian. He may find it tough to boogie thanks to knee injury, but he’ll have been dancing on the inside after scoring his first major at the World Matchplay this year. Don’t say you haven’t been warned about him!
Our next one to watch is a familiar name, it’s James Wade. It had looked like some of the sport’s fresh faces had passed the nine-time major winner by in recent years. But, he’s had a resurgence of late and made the finals of the European Championship and the Grand Slam of Darts recently, showing he’s definitely a darter to be feared in the draw.
In that Grand Slam of Darts final, Wade was upset by an outsider no one in the tournament saw coming. José de Sousa, may have his troubles with keeping count, but he was so good in Coventry that didn’t matter. The Special One (named after another Portuguese sports star we all know and love) shocked Krzysztof Ratajski, Dave Chisnall, Michael Smith, Simon Whitlock and Wade on the way to his first major – and no one will want to draw him at Ally Pally.
Don’t forget you can have an each-way punt on the outright market, and we found a few names at big prices that might make it all the way to the final. Simon Whitlock is well worth a small stake flutter as he seems to be oozing with confidence at present. Whitlock pulled off an astounding victory over Michael van Gerwen at the Grand Slam recently and hit 20 180s in the match to do it, so he’s well worth a sniff.
You may not know much about Dirk van Duijvenbode, but it’s only a matter of time. The Dutch man exploded onto the PDC scene to make it to the World Grand Prix earlier in the year and showed he’s capable of taking down the sport’s biggest names, he could do it again here at a tasty each-way price.
Lastly, it might pay to back a man looking in regal form on the eve of the tournament and Mervyn King fits that bill perfectly. King was very unlucky not to grab the Players Championship Finals at the end of November, losing out to MVG in the final by a single leg. He also scored some moral boosting wins over higher-ranked operators on the way to that final, The King could be time his run to perfection for the 2021 World Championships.
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