- Michael van Gerwen is so far out in front as world No.1 that he has looked in a league of his own at times over the past couple of years. He has dominated the darting world in 2016, winning the World Matchplay, the Grand Slam of Darts and a host of other big events, whilst notching some staggering three-dart averages along the way.
- Gary Anderson is the reigning world champion, having defended the title he first won in 2015 with a thrilling 7-5 victory over Adrian Lewis at the start of the year. He has had another impressive campaign, and remains second in the world rankings behind Van Gerwen.
- Peter Wright has surged up to third in the rankings on the back of a consistent season, although he has never won a major televised title. No.4 seed Phil Taylor, by contrast, has won more than his fair share and the 16-time world champion showed there was life in the old dog yet when he beat Van Gerwen in stunning style to win the inaugural Champions League of Darts in September.
Michael van Gerwen has an ability to hit nine-darters as if he is shelling peas and will be almost impossible to stop if he plays his best, but the brilliant Dutchman has only won the world title once and seems to struggle with the format of the matches when they are played over sets rather than legs. At an odds-on price going into the tournament and with former champions such as Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld in his half of the draw, it may be best to consider other potential winners.
Taylor, Lewis and Barney are all in the same section of the draw - the ‘quarter of death’ - and it is the bottom half which may therefore be easier to navigate. Gary Anderson could meet the dangerous Dave Chisnall in the quarter-finals, but would avoid James Wade or Peter Wright until the semi-finals and as such looks a good bet to reach the final. He can be backed at 6/1 to win the title, and an each-way bet is probably the shrewdest move in case he comes up against a rampant Van Gerwen or Taylor in the final.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Each Way on Gary Anderson to win the PDC World Championship - 6/1
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.