The Christmas holidays wouldn’t be the Christmas holidays without some high quality darts for company. The 23rd PDC World Championships starts this week ahead of eighteen days of superb darts action at the Alexandra Palace.
Michael van Gerwen has won 18 PDC titles this year and is the man to beat while former champion Phil Taylor and current champ Gary Anderson look to be the Dutchman’s closest rivals. Keep reading for our preview of the first round of the 2016 PDC World Championship.
Big names all short prices in first round darts betting
There are a couple of big names on stage for the opening night of this year’s tournament including the reigning champion.
Gary Anderson is in action on Thursday night but he’ll have to wait for the outcome of the evening’s opening match to see who he will face in round one. Preliminary Round qualifiers Andy Boulton and Per Laursen go head to head in the tournament’s opening match and the experienced Dane looks good value at 7/5 to prevail. Anderson should comfortably defeat either, however.
Peter Wright reached the 2014 final and is also in action on the first night. Snakebite faces a tricky match against the 2014 PDC World Youth Champion Keegan Brown and while he should win at 1/4 this could be close.
Michael van Gerwen begins his campaign on Friday as he faces either Thanawat Gaweenuntawong or Rene Eidams in round one. After the draw, the world number one admitted he wasn’t familiar with either potential opponent.
He told Sky Sports: “To be fair I don’t know anything about them, but that could also be a very dangerous thing because we don’t know how they play. I need to make sure I am 200% focused and make sure that I am going to play really well in that game.”
There’s a terrific night of darts to look forward to on Saturday when fans get their first chance to see the 16-time champion. Phil Taylor begins his quest for a 17th title against either Keita Ono of Japan or Alex Tagarao of the Philippines with Ono the 1/2 favourite to meet the Power.
2010 finalist Simon Whitlock is 4/11 to overcome Ricky Evans before 15th seed Vincent van der Voort takes on 5/1 chance Loz Ryder of Australia.
Value in backing darts betting outsiders in ‘best of 5’ matches
Nine seeds went out in the opening round at Ally Pally last year and there could be one or two upsets this year.
Max Hopp put out 10th seed Mervyn King at this stage last year and we fancy the German to win his first round match against Benito van der Pas. The German won the 2015 World Youth Championship last month and looks great value at 13/10 to knock out the 24th seed.
Only four places separate 32nd seed John Henderson and Darren Webster in the world rankings and so there could be some value in backing Webster at 19/20 while Joe Murnan has beaten Premier League players this year and could see off Andy Hamilton at 23/20.
25 year old Jan Dekker had a successful career with the BDO, reaching the 2014 semi-final, but has found things much tougher since joining the PDC. The Dutchman has won some Challenge Tour events and plays by far the biggest match of his career when he faces two-time champion Adrian Lewis in round one.
Jackpot’s recent run to the Players Championship final suggested he was returning to form but Lewis has been hugely inconsistent in 2015, having only reached one major event final. It would be a huge upset if Dekker could manage to beat the former champion but in a best-of-5 sets encounter it could be worth a small punt at 5/1.
The 2016 PDC World Championships kicks off at the Alexandra Palace on Thursday 17th December as Andy Boulton takes on Per Laursen. See all the odds here https://www.betbright.com/darts
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.