Darts tournaments come thick and fast over the summer months, but none loom so heavily on the horizon as the PDC World Matchplay (21st-29th July). The prestigious event, now boasting a massive prize fund of £500,000, is set to return to the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, as Britain (hopefully) continues to bake in the July sunshine.
It will, of course, be the first tournament in over two decades that a certain Phil Taylor will not be contesting. The Power was one of the perennial betting favourites for the event, with punters cleaning up more often than not during his record sixteen victories. In light of that, we take a look at the betting for this year’s World Matchplay:
Even if Phil Taylor had put off his retirement, Michael Van Gerwen would still be regarded as the bookies favourite to land his third World Matchplay title. He would, however, probably have odds a little bigger than 4/5 (Betway, Paddy Power). The face that you can’t find odds better than evens for the phenomenal Dutchman shows how big a shadow he has cast over the world of darts. Van Gerwen is the man to beat, but punters won’t love those odds.
Because of Van Gerwen’s dominance and the bookies’ fear of yet another victory, the betting markets become a little skewed. This works in favour of the punter, because you can get big odds for excellent players who are more than capable of taking the tournament by storm. Two-time World Champion Gary Anderson, for example, is available at 15/2 with Sportingbet. Peter Wright, who is second only to Van Gerwen in the PDC Order of Merit and was runner-up last year, can be found at 10/1 with Betfair and some other major bookies.
While Van Gerwen is, of course, the most likely candidate for the trophy, it would be no surprise if either of those pair took the spoils. Indeed, many bookies will offer half the odds for a runners-up spot in the each-way markets, so you can still make an argument for a better profit, even if they were to come up short against Van Gerwen in the Final.
With the exception of Rob Cross (8/1 with several bookmakers), every other player aside from those mentioned above has been given odds of 25/1 or greater. It may seem like a longshot, but we have seen the shocks happen time and time again throughout the history of the big events in darts. Moreover, you can enjoy no deposit free spins online now and build up your bankroll to bet for free on the tournament.
Daryl Gurney is one that looks to be offering huge value, given odds of 33/1 by nearly all major bookmakers. The 32-year-old Northern Irishman, who was a semi finalist last year, is remarkably consistent in the big events and has odds that scream value in the each-way betting. Mensur Suljovic can also be found at 33/1 with some bookies. The veteran is having a kind of Indian Summer in his career and is certainly worth a look at those odds. And, a last word for Raymond Van Barneveld, who has never added the World Matchplay to his wonderful tournament CV. 50/1 (Sportingbet) says that “Barney” can right that wrong this summer.
(Bracket No. Matchplay seed)