Taylor will prove he is still King of the world
As ever at the start of a PDC Word Championship the question is; is there any reason why Phil Taylor will not win it? And ahead of the 2014 edition there is little to suggest that he will not be crowned world champion for a 17th time.
The Power is a best price of just 10/11 with Sky Bet to get his hands on the trophy yet again and having won the World Matchplay, Grand Prix, UK Open, Grand Slam and Championship League amongst others this year that price comes of little surprise.
Even in Taylor’s defeats, most notably in the finals of the Premier League and the Players Championship he was still outstanding and it took sublime performances to beat him.
One of the doubts over Taylor’s ability to defend his world title is the man that defeated him in both those finals, the world number two, Michael van Gerwen. MVG has had a funny year, starting it in blistering form, dropping off fairly substantially, but then returning just in time to win the Players Championship at the start of this month.
We all know he can beat Taylor on the big stage and with him coming into form again he will certainly be a force and at 4/1 with Bet Victor there will be plenty backing him, especially over in the Netherlands.
For most onlookers, including the bookmakers, there are only three men who have a real chance this time around at the Ally Pally; the aforementioned pair and Adrian Lewis. Jackpot has had a very decent season, winning the European Championship and reaching the final of the Matchplay. He has been involved in some of the matches of the year and could well be in another with him scheduled to meet MVG in the semis.
Lewis is 6/1 with Ladbrokes for his third world title and whilst that looks a good price given his form and record in the competition, it is that clash with van Gerwen that will put people off. MVG ousted Jackpot 12 months ago at the quarter-final stage and knocked him out of the recent Players Championship as well. Lewis has got the better of his foe a number of times as well this year though which makes it such a difficult one to call and both men unappealing to back.
The peripheral contenders are the likes of James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld and Gary Anderson but all three are in the same side of the draw as both Lewis and MVG meaning their chances are severely damaged. Therefore, the each-way value may come from Taylor’s half of the draw in the hope that the Power suffers a surprise early defeat as he has done twice in the last three years.
That value bet could well be Robert Thornton who is now a consistent performer right at the top of the game as he proved when reaching the final of the Grand Slam. The Thorn has never had a great run at either version of the Worlds but he is certainly due one and at 66/1 with Betfred he could be a great bet.
In the outright betting though there is no getting away from Taylor. He is still clearly the best player in the field and the draw has been kind to him. It would be a huge shock if he does not make the final and it is very rare he loses in the biggest match in the sort.
Phil Taylor to win @ 10/11 with Sky Bet
Robert Thornton to win (E/W) @ 66/1 with Betfred
• MVG must hit the heights to beat Wright
• Lewis to get the better of MVG
• Wade and Lewis set for another classic
• Newton can out-180 Wright
• Saturday afternoon to be a 180-fest
• Whitlock and Painter to fire in the maximums
• Pipe to win dance-off with Petersen
• Jackpot and Dutch Destroyer to turn on the style
• Part no pushover for Newton
• Painter and Nicholson to go all the way
• Taylor bullied and beaten by Smith
• Burnett can push the Hammer in round two
• Barney and Caven could produce classic
• Webster in trouble against Suljovic
• Bomber Brown to destroy Smith
• MVG and Whitlock to stroll through
• Baxter to be swamped by Evans
• Caven to out Klaas Jelle
• Nicholson and Kellett could go all the way
• Walsh in trouble against Komula
• Wright and Cullen can steal the show