How the Bookies See it:
Michael van Gerwen
- Despite landing 14 titles this year, world No.1 Michael van Gerwen has failed to deliver in a couple of recent major tournaments. He was thrashed by Phil Taylor in the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay Championship in July, and did not even make it out of his group at the Champions League of Darts earlier in September.
- Scottish world No.3 Peter Wright also made an early exit from the Champions League of Darts, but he returned to form at the International Darts Open in Riesa, Germany, to clinch his tenth title of the year with a 6-5 victory over Kim Huybrechts in the final.
- Mensur Suljovic, a surprise winner of the Champions League of Darts, suffered a shock third-round defeat by Gerwyn Price in Riesa despite averaging over 100 in each of his matches. Suljovic had performed brilliantly at the Champions League of Darts to defy the odds, taking out second seed Gary Anderson 11-9 in the final.
The format of the World Grand Prix is very much to Van Gerwen’s liking and he has won the event on three previous occasions. Played over sets rather than legs, and having to start with a double, ensures there is even more opportunity for the superior class of ‘Mighty Mike’ to come to the fore. He is also in perhaps the easier half of the draw, with the out-of-form Adrian Lewis his highest-ranked rival in the top section.
However, Van Gerwen’s price of 5/6 on a tournament victory is hardly appealing to punters, so it may be worth considering an Each Way bet on someone from the bottom half of the draw. Anderson and man-of-the-moment Suljovic are both lurking as potential danger men, but odds of 8/1 on Wright look too good to miss. ‘Snakebite’ has never got past the last 16 of the World Grand Prix and there is a perception that maybe the double-start structure does not suit him, but he is far too good a player to have such a gap in his CV and will feel full of confidence following his latest tournament win in Germany. He will have to get past Stephen Bunting in the first round, then possibly Suljovic and Anderson just to reach the final, but his three-dart average is usually around the 100 mark and that sort of consistency makes him very hard to beat.
Sports.net’s top tip
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.