World Darts Championship Betting Tips and Predictions
The 2018/19 World Darts Championship gets underway on Thursday December 13th, with all 16 days of action broadcast on Sky’s dedicated channel Sky Sports Darts. This year the World Championship is bigger than ever, with 96 competitors and total prize money of £2.5 million the competition will be fierce.
The highlight of the darting calendar, Alexandra Palace in London once again plays host to the event, and we have all the top players vying for the Sid Waddell trophy and £500,000 top prize. The expanded format sees the top 32 players from the PDC Order of Merit enter the competition at the second-round stage. The first-round features 32 qualifiers from the ProTour Order of Merit take on 32 qualifiers from around the globe.
The first and second round matches are played over a best of five set format, with three legs required to win one set. The third and fourth round matches are best of seven sets, the quarter-finals are best of nine sets and the semi-finals are best of 11 sets. The final, which takes place on January 1st, is a best of 13 set marathon.
This is the 26th edition of the World Championships, although only eight players have ever got their hands on the coveted trophy. Phil Taylor dominated the tournament for nearly two decades, winning the title 14 times between 1995 and 2013. Two-time winners include John Part, Adrian Lewis, Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson. There have also been three players who have a single title to their name; Dennis Priestley, Raymond van Barneveld and, to round off a sensational year 12 months ago, Rob Cross.
The Main Contenders
Two-time champion Michael van Gerwen comes into this tournament as the number one seed and favourite for the event, and despite a few concerns over his form, is still considered by many to be the man to beat. Last year, former electrician and Ally Pally debutant Rob Cross stunned the World of darts, with a scintillating display of arrows, beating Phil Taylor in the final to claim the title. Since that win, Cross has struggled to back that performance up but comes here as the second seed and aiming to follow in the footsteps of Adrian Lewis and Gary Anderson as back-to-back champions. Peter Wright is the third seed this year, and after having a difficult preparation last year, will be hoping to improve on his already impressive World Championship record. For many people Gary Anderson has been the player of the year, the fourth seed has recorded wins at the UK Open, World Matchplay, US Darts Masters and Champions League this year, and he’s second favourite with the bookies to round the year off with his third World title.
There are plenty of other players who will feel confident heading into this tournament, ninth seed James Wade has recently picked up the European Championship and World Series titles, whilst sixth seed Gerwyn Price won the Grand Slam of Darts in controversial fashion last month. Daryl Gurney is the fifth seed and may come here with even more confidence after picking up the Players Championship title in the last major event before the World’s, beating Michael van Gerwen in an enthralling final.
Other players who deserve a mention include Michael Smith, ‘Bully Boy’ reached the Premier League final earlier in the season and is the fourth favourite with the bookies. Mensur Suljovic is seeded seven for this tournament following a solid season including the German Masters title. Raymond van Barneveld recently announced his plans for retiring from the sport, seeded 17, the Dutchman will be hoping for another big performance in a tournament he won in 2007. At bigger odds, the World Youth Champion Dimitri van den Bergh, Simon Whitlock, Kryszstof Ratajski, Ian White and two-time winner Adrian Lewis are amongst a whole host of players who will feel they have a chance of going deep into the tournament.
(1) Michael van Gerwen v Alan Tabern/Raymond Smith
(32) Max Hopp v Danny Noppert/Royden Lam
(16) Adrian Lewis v Simon Stevenson/Ted Evetts
(17) Raymond van Barneveld v Matthew Edgar/Darius Labanauskas
(8) Simon Whitlock v Ryan Joyce/Anastasia Dobromyslova
(25) Alan Norris v Steve Lennon/James Bailey
(9) James Wade v Krzysztof Ratajski/Seigo Asada
(24) Jelle Klaasen v Keegan Brown/Karel Sedlacek
(5) Daryl Gurney v Ross Smith/Paul Lim
(28) Jamie Lewis v Martin Schindler/Cody Harris
(12) Dave Chisnall v Josh Payne/Jeff Smith
(21) Kim Huybrechts v Robert Thornton/Daniel Larsson
(4) Gary Anderson v Paul Nicholson/Kevin Burness
(29) Jermaine Wattimena v Michael Barnard/Jose De Sousa
(13) Darren Webster v Vincent van der Voort/Lourence Ilagan
(20) Steve Beaton v Chris Dobey/Boris Koltsov
(2) Rob Cross v Jeffrey de Zwaan/Nitin Kumar
(31) Cristo Reyes v Ricky Evans/Rowby-John Rodriguez
(15) Jonny Clayton v Dimitri Van den Bergh/Chuck Puleo
(18) Stephen Bunting v Luke Humphries/Adam Hunt
(7) Mensur Suljovic v Ryan Searle/Stephen Burton
(26) James Wilson v William O’Connor/Yordi Meeuwisse
(10) Michael Smith v Ron Meulenkamp/Diogo Portela
(23) John Henderson v Gabriel Clemens/Aden Kirk
(6) Gerwyn Price v Nathan Aspinall/Geert Nentjes
(27) Kyle Anderson v Jeffrey de Graaf/Noel Malicdem
(11) Ian White v Wayne Jones/Devon Petersen
(22) Steve West v Richard North/Robert Marijanovic
(3) Peter Wright v Toni Alcinas/Craig Ross
(30) Benito van de Pas v Mickey Mansell/Jim Long
(14) Joe Cullen v Brendan Dolan/Yuanjun Liu
(19) Mervyn King v Jan Dekker/Lisa Ashton
Peter WrightTo Win Outright (Each Way)
Peter Wright has had an indifferent season, but he’s expected to be well prepared for this event and primed for another good run at the World Championships. Last year Wright’s preparation was severely hampered as he recovered from treatment to gallstones, and it was no surprise that he suffered a second-round exit. However, in the four years before that he reached the quarter-finals twice, the semi-final once, and was runner-up to Michael van Gerwen in the 2014 final.
The set-play format seems to suit ‘Snakebite’, and he reached the final of the World Grand Prix this year, the other big tournament that uses the ‘set’ play format. Although the end to Wright’s season was disappointing, he did win the Melbourne Masters, reach the final of the Champions League and the semi-final of the World Matchplay so his season hasn’t been a complete disaster.
The other key reason to back Wright is the favourable draw he has received. With the two favourites, Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson, both drawn in the top half of the draw, Wright’s position in the bottom half immediately appeals. Wright will face the winner of Toni Alcinas and Craig Ross in the second-round, with either Benito van de Pas or Mickey Mansell waiting in round three. Wright should be confident of winning those first two matches, which sees him into the fourth-round and a potential clash with Joe Cullen. The Scotsman has a decent record against ‘The Rockstar’, comfortably winning both of their meetings this season. It’s dangerous to look too far forward into the tournament, but a match against Gerwyn Price, Ian White or Kyle Anderson could await in the quarter-finals and then Rob Cross, Mensur Suljovic or Michael Smith are his seeded semi-final opponents.
The main concern over Wright this season has been his constant tinkering with his darts. Fans of ‘Snakebite’ will be hoping that he’s used the weeks before the World Championship to finally decide upon his preferred set-up, because there’s no-one in the bottom half of the draw that should beat Wright if he’s on-song.
Daryl GurneyTo Win Outright (Each way)
There will be few players arriving at Ally Pally with the same high levels of confidence that Daryl Gurney has right now. The Northern Irishman won the last big tournament before the World Championship, the Players Championship, beating Michael van Gerwen in the final. That tournament win bodes well for ‘Superchin’, with four of the last six winners going on to win the World Championships.
Gurney also has experience of going deep in the World Championship, reaching the quarter-finals two years ago. As already mentioned, a good record at the World Grand Prix seems important for a deep run at the World’s; Gurney won that event in 2017 as well as reaching the quarter-finals and semi-finals in 2016 and 2018 respectively.
Daryl Gurney will face the winner of Ross Smith and Paul Lim in the second-round, with Jamie Lewis a potential third-round opponent. Gurney doesn’t have the easiest quarter, with players such as Dave Chisnall, Josh Payne and Kim Huybrechts possible opponents in the early stages of the tournament. However it’s the quarter-finals where things get interesting for ‘Superchin’, with Gary Anderson a likely opponent in the last eight. This may not be as bad as it initially sounds, Gurney has had the better of Anderson in their last two meetings, and has only lost once to the Scotsman in their last seven TV contests. It could be van Gerwen in the semi-finals, but with the Dutchman at about 5/4 to win the title, Anderson at about 100/30 and Gurney at 33/1, the value lies with the in-form Northern Irishman.
James WilsonTo Win Quarter 3
The third quarter of the draw seems to be the most open, with Rob Cross, Jonny Clayton, Stephen Bunting, Dimitri van den Bergh, Mensur Suljovic and Michael Smith all amongst the favourites; however, at 40/1 the value may lie with James Wilson.
Wilson’s form may not look spectacular, but he did put in an eye-catching display at the World Grand Prix, where he saw off Simon Whitlock and Adrian Lewis before losing in a final set decider to Peter Wright. His end of season form may look disappointing also, but he did get comfortable wins over in-form players Jonny Clayton and Dimitri van den Bergh in the European Championship and Players Championship respectively. Wilson also reached the final of the German Darts Championship in September, beating Mensur Suljovic in the semi-finals, before losing to Michael van Gerwen 8-6 in a close final.
We saw last year, with Jamie Lewis, that unfancied players can go deep in the World Championship and in an open looking section of the draw, James Wilson could be the surprise package of the tournament this year.