How the Bookies See it:
Michael van Gerwen
|Name The Finalists||
Anderson v Van Gerwen
Wright v Van Gerwen
Taylor v Van Gerwen
|Nine Dart Finish||
- No.1 seed Michael van Gerwen, the 2017 champion, topped the stats in round one as he recorded an average of 106.17 in his 3-1 victory over fellow Dutchman Christian Kist. However, ‘Mighty Mike’ has not quite been as all-conquering this year as he was in 2016, suffering surprise early exits in the World Matchplay Championship, Champions League of Darts and World Grand Prix.
- Second seed Peter Wright was solid rather than spectacular in his 3-1 win against Diogo Portela, posting an average of 97.90. ‘Snakebite’ had only confirmed his participation in the tournament days before it started after suffering with gallstones, and has admitted he is still not fully fit.
- Third seed Gary Anderson and sixth seed Phil Taylor are on a collision course for a quarter-final showdown after cruising through their opening matches. They are both in a section of the draw where the other seeds have been cleared out, including James Wade and Benito van de Pas.
- Fourth seed Daryl Gurney, fresh from winning the World Grand Prix, averaged over 100 in his 3-1 success against Ronny Huybrechts. Mensur Suljovic, the No.5 seed and winner of the Champions League of Darts, also cruised to a 3-0 victory over Kevin Painter in his first round match.
As the matches get longer, the challenge of trying to topple Michael van Gerwen becomes increasingly hard. ‘The Green Machine’ consistently throws arrows which nobody else can really match, and there are few other players in his half of the draw to worry about. Raymond van Barneveld is always a threat, while Daryl Gurney is a man on the rise following his success at the World Grand Prix. However, it is hard to see anyone stopping Van Gerwen from reaching the final, and the bookies are rating him as odds-on to retain his trophy.
The best bet could be an Each Way punt on a player in the bottom half of the draw, and the romantic choice would be on Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor. Competing in the World Championships for the final time before retirement, the 16-time winner’s first big test is likely to be against the ‘Flying Scotsman’ Gary Anderson in the quarter-finals. Taylor would be the underdog for such a clash but he has shown this year, most notably in the World Matchplay, that he is still capable of putting the new brigade in their place. A semi-final against an underpar Peter Wright would be nothing to fear and if he did have to face Van Gerwen in the final then the crowd would be fervently behind Taylor on his farewell night.
Sports.net’s Top Tip
Phil Taylor to win the World Championships
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.