Mighty Mike can rule the world

We are now in touching distance of the greatest tournament in darts and excitement is growing around the world for the extravaganza of sporting excellence that lasts nearly three weeks at the Alexandra Palace.

Things kick off on Friday 14th and will come to a conclusion on the evening of New Year’s Day when all 72 men who are travelling to London this Christmas will be hoping to be lifting the new Sid Waddell trophy.

There will be more shocks than ever along the way as the standard of players continues to rocket around the globe and no one is safe wherever they stand in the rankings.

The man expected to avoid the bites of the underdogs better than any is the world number one and 15 time champion of the world Phil Taylor; and when you describe him in those terms it is tempting to think it is pretty obvious that the Power will have his hands on the trophy yet again.

The great man has more doubters now than he has ever had in his illustrious career though and his last two World Championship performances have rattled many people’s confidence in him. A quarter-final exit to Mark Webster in 2011 and a second round defeat to Dave Chisnall last year meant that it was the first two year spell without Taylor in the final since the PDC began.

There was plenty of talk of the Power having well and truly run out but of course he has proved them wrong by winning the Premier League, World Matchplay, Championship League and Players Championship Finals since that defeat to Chizzy last December. Still some criticise and it is true that he is not quite as dominant as he had been in the past, but his status at the top of the darting tree is still unquestioned at this stage. The Power is priced most generously at 2/1 with the likes of Paddy Power and Ladbrokes and there will be plenty taking that price especially when he is 7/4 in many other places.

The man who is most likely to start questioning Taylor’s status as world number one in the near future is Michael van Gerwen and it is he who is directly behind him in the odds at best price 5/1 with Sportingbet and Blue Square. MVG has been in terrifying form over the last few months and after a number of wins on the floor, his victory at the Grand Prix really brought him to the world’s attention. He then reached the final of the Grand Slam and if he had done so again at the Players Championship Finals then Mighty Mike Mania would have reached Beatles proportions, but his early exit to Andy Hamilton has just tempered things a little.

He has beaten Taylor twice in recent times though, at the Grand Slam and in the final of a Pro Tour event in Barnsley so he will hold no fears if he is to face the Power, which, given the draw, would not be till the final which I’m sure many are hoping for. He certainly has the game and has proven himself on the big stage of late, but he has never been past a world championship quarter-final so this inexperience could cost him later in the competition.

The man who you cannot write off but it is very tempting to do so is the reigning and defending champion Adrian Lewis. Jackpot has shown precious little form on the oche since he won the world title for a second time a year ago, but his past performances at the Ally Pally have to mean that he is a contender. Certainly the bookmakers are not keen to write him off completely as he is third favourite at 12/1. This looks an incredible price given what he has achieved here before, but he inspires such little confidence in other competitions that there won’t be many piling in. He has also become a father for the first time very recently so whether his practice routine has been at its best has to be brought into question.

After Jackpot we have a trio of high quality players that all have pedigree on the world championship stage and on their day can destroy anybody on the oche. These men are Simon Whitlock, Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld with odds ranging from 14/1 to 18/1. After Barney’s Grand Slam win there were many suggesting he could have a serious tilt at the world title for the first time in a few years but his first round exit at the Players Championship Finals has cooled expectation again.

Whitlock has won the European Championship this year and was in the semis of the Players Championship Finals just over a week ago so his form is good and as he showed in 2010 and again last year he can be absolutely dominant on the Alexandra Palace stage. Gary Anderson did the same in the intervening year as he romped to the final and although he has only shone in fits and starts this year could easily hit his unstoppable best form in time for the big one.

After this group we are looking at outsiders, which unfortunately includes James Wade who due to recent form and health issues really can’t be considered a contender at 20/1. Rob Thornton looks a good outside bet at 50/1 with Boylesports even though he is in Taylor’s quarter as the Thorn has already beaten the Power in major competition twice this year. Justin Pipe can rarely be ruled out either as he continues to improve his performances on the big stage; he is a nailed on major winner at some point in his career and at 66/1 with Boyle Sports, he could be a good punt.

There is an awful long way to go and plenty of favourites will fall over the competition, some at the first hurdle and picking a winner this year could be tougher than ever from the outset. There is quality throughout the field, but outside of the top two it does seem like picking a name out of a hat to an extent. So that leaves Taylor and van Gerwen and given the Dutchman’s recent record over the Power, it has to be MVG.

Recommended Bet:

Michael van Gerwen to win @ 5/1 with Sportingbet

Written By:- Phil Haigh (About our Authors)
Posted on:- 12/12/2012 - 14:59 PM
Filed in:- PDC World Championship Betting News, Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson, Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld , Simon Whitlock

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