The 2019/20 World Darts Championships commences on Friday with 96 of the world’s finest darts masters coming together to duke it out head-to-head for the most coveted prize in the game. With 28 sessions running through Christmas and into the New Year, only one player will be crowned World Champion and receive the lion’s share of the £2.5 million in prize money.
One year ago, world number one Michael van Gerwen confirmed his place as the greatest player of the modern era, when he won his third World Championship title. He’ll start his campaign for number four this week at the Alexandra Palace in London when he faces either Jelle Klaasen or Kevin Burness on the opening night of action.
MVG won seven TV titles during 2019 and has shown little sign of slowing down, although perhaps the gap between his best and the rest has closed slightly. MVG is understandably a short-priced favourite on Betfair, currently trading at $2.26, and it’s hard to argue with anyone who wants to take that price.
So who can stop the green juggernaut?
Gerwyn Price is on the second line of betting at $6.40 and as much as the “Ice Man” is disliked by fans, they also have to admire his fierce competitiveness on the oche. He’s continually improved and evolved his game year on year, and there’s no doubt that MVG doesn’t enjoy the intensity of the contest against Price. If they get to the final, then anything is possible for Price, but it’s a long road for him to get there, and Price can tend to have let down moments. Price is now the world #3, but he is yet to progress past the final 16 at a World Championship.
Peter Wright has recaptured some of his old form in the latter stages of the year, and he’ll enjoy being back on the World Championship stage, while Rob Cross, Gary Anderson and last year’s runner-up Michael Smith are always tough opponents.
One who might surprise at odds is Glen Durrant at $48 on the Betfair exchange. The three-time BDO World Champion has enjoyed his first year on the PDC tour and has the experience to do well in the pressure cooker of the World Championship.
As for the Australian hopes, Kyle Anderson is priced at $230, Simon Whitlock can be backed at $310 while 2019 Brisbane Darts Masters champion Damon Heta is $500. Unfortunately our most exciting young talent in Corey Cadby has struggled to regain his commitment to the game after returning to the UK earlier this year, and failed to qualify for the event.
It’s impossible to tip against MVG to win this event, as it really would take a major upset for something to stop him reaching his fourth World Championship title. But if you want something with a bit more value, consider Glen Durrant as a strong outside hope.
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