Phil Taylor looking for his eighth straight World Matchplay title
The world’s best darts players are in Blackpool this week for the 22nd World Matchplay. With £100,000 to the winner, it’s one of the sport’s biggest events and its history has been dominated by one man; Phil Taylor.
Can anyone stop The Power? Keep reading for our 2015 World Matchplay Darts betting preview.
As in previous years, the Matchplay adopts a simple knockout format from round one.
The top 16 in the PDC Order of Merit qualify as seeded players. The other 16 places are taken by the top 16 non-qualified players from the PDC ProTour Order of Merit.
Round one sees each of the 16 seeds meet an unseeded player over the best of 19 legs. The number of legs needed to win rises over the rounds with the final being decided over the best of 35 legs.
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The World Matchplay is now in its 22nd year and there have been just six different winners of the tournament during that time. Larry Butler, Colin Lloyd, Peter Evison and James Wade have each won the title once while Rod Harrington captured two titles in 1998 and 1999. The other fifteen tournaments have been won by one man; Phil Taylor.
The Power has been utterly dominant at this event in recent years, winning the last seven titles. He loves the venue, even hitting a nine-dart finish in the second round on the way to a 15th title in 2014. Not even his main rivals have been able to stop him at the Winter Gardens, with James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis all defeated in recent finals while world number one Michael van Gerwen was dispatched 18-9 last year.
Taylor has a tricky route to the final this year, with the in-form van Barneveld a potential round two opponent and world champion Gary Anderson waiting in the semi-finals. However, his record at this event is second to none and he should have no trouble seeing off John Henderson in the opening round at 3/50.
Michael van Gerwen has never won the Matchplay and looks to have a straightforward route to the final. He faces countryman Benito van der Pas in round one and we fully expect him to reach the latter stages. Mighty Mike is just 1/16 to reach round two.
Gary Anderson can complete a magnificent 2015 treble if he can win this week and add the Matchplay to his world and Premier League titles. The Scotsman is somehow still only the third seed but is many people’s favourite on current form. Last year’s semi-finalist is 1/11 to see off Steve Beaton in round one.
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The top three look to be utterly dominant at the moment and so can anyone cause an upset? James Wade has a good record at this tournament in recent years and could be one to follow. He won the event in 2007 and has been a beaten finalist on three occasions since and so the left-hander does like the format.
He reached the semi-finals of the European Darts Open last weekend although the sixth seed faces a possible match with Gary Anderson in the quarter finals. Wade is 1/4 to beat Kyle Anderson in round one.
Four of the seeds have been eliminated in round one in each of the last two years and there are some potential upsets this year. Simon Whitlock‘s form in 2015 has been mediocre and the Australian could well be defeated by Jelle Klaasen at 5/6. European Darts Open finalist Kim Huybrechts is 13/10 to beat Peter Wright while 9th seed Ian White is overpriced at 5/4 to defeat the unseeded Stephen Bunting.