Whitlock can claim Group One win
The Championship League begins on Tuesday at Crondon Park in Essex with the top eight players in the world battling it out over what is set to be a high quality day of action in the internet-streamed tournament.
Phil Taylor returns to action after taking four tournaments off and there is no surprise that he is the clear favourite after winning the Sydney Darts Masters and the World Matchplay in the last two competitions he competed in.
The Power is 11/5 with Coral to win the event as a whole but more importantly for Tuesday he is a best price of 15/8 with Sporting Bet to emerge victorious from Group One. Seen as he has not lost a match in over two months this looks a good bet but nothing is guaranteed in this unique tournament.
Taylor reached the knockout stages of each of the first three groups last year but did not make it through to the winners’ group until the fourth with the lower lights of Wes Newton, Justin Pipe and Ronnie Baxter all beating him to the final round.
The bookies expect Michael van Gerwen to challenge him for top spot in Group One as the Dutchman is 5/2 with Bet365 to come through the round on Tuesday. Mighty Mike has not been having a good time of it of late though with a string of surprise defeats. With Taylor not competing in any of the last four tournaments MVG was expected to dominate but he failed to win a single one and there is no doubt that his form has seriously dipped over the last three months or so.
One man that does seem to be coming into form though is Simon Whitlock who, although he has not lifted a trophy in September, he has regularly been reaching the final four of events and could be ready to push that bit further and claim glory in Essex.
The Aussie finished runner-up in last year’s Championship League and when he is playing well he is capable of unstoppable performances in floor tournaments. He looks a very big price at 10/1 with Bet365 to win Group One on Tuesday and is certainly worth backing.
At the other end of the table it is Wes Newton and Andy Hamilton that are favourites for immediate elimination at evens and 11/10 with Sporting Bet respectively. The Hammer went out in Group One last year and he looks a good bet to do the same again but Newton is not worth backing at that price. The likes of Adrian Lewis and James Wade who are wholly unreliable in floor events are much better value at 3/1 with William Hill and 5/2 with Sky Bet respectively.