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The 15th of December is the biggest date in the calendar for me. Yes, some people love Christmas, other people love their birthday, or New Year, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, St Andrew’s Day, St George’s Day, St David’s Day, St Patrick’s Day or whatever else you might have marked on your calendar, but around this time of year ever year I get excited because it’s the culmination of the darts season and we get the PDC World Championship, followed by the BDO World Championship. So, what better way to get into the festive spirit than with a preview of the 2017 PDC World Championship? 72 players will compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and on January 2nd, 20`7, one of them will walk away the PDC World Champion.
A Foregone Conclusion?
It’s safe to say that Michael van Gerwen is the man to beat, and has been for the past couple of years. He’s won the Premier League this year, three UK Open qualifiers before winning the actual tournament, beating Peter Wright in the final. He followed it up with a win at the World Matchplay, the World Grand Prix, the European Championship, then the Grand Slam of Darts and finally the Players Championship Finals. He also recorded the highest ever 3-dart average, putting in a 123.40 against Michael Smith in the Premier League. So, he is definitely the man to beat.
However, for a darts player who seemingly has the world at his feet, Michael van Gerwen only has one world championship to his name, which came in 2014. Why is that? Well, set play tends not to work in favour of the Dutchman. I mean you’re always in it in set play, whereas if MvG racks up 6 legs on the trot in leg play, he’s already bolted.
So, sure, MvG is the man to beat, but is he an odds-on shot? Not on your life. I wouldn’t be backing a man who has won one world championship while conquering all before him during that time. He’s available around 4/6 to win the PDC World Championship, which is no value at all, especially when you consider he’s come close a few times to an early exit, notably last year, when he needed a tie-break to see off Rene Eidams in the first round. He shouldn’t shorten too much, and he does have a decent draw, but come the business end, he’ll have some stiff competition and there are players who represent better value.
Threepeat For Ando?
So, who is the main threat for Michael van Gerwen? It surely has to be Gary Anderson, The Flying Scotsman, who is looking to win back-to-back-to-back world championships, having won the title in 2015 and 2016, beating Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis respectively.
However, Anderson hasn’t had the most prolific years this year. His most notable success came winning the 2016 World Championship, but part from that, he’s only made the World Grand Prix final, the rest of the year has been less than stellar. Anderson has been experimenting with glasses and it seems like they’ve been more of a hindrance than anything. However, eyesight issues aren’t to be overlooked and Anderson backers need to tread with caution. Sure, he comes good at thi time of year, but coming into both his world championship wins, Anderson had big wins under his belt, which is missing this year. He is the second favourite at around 6/1, but he has a bit of a tough draw and I can see a couple of potential banana skins for him en route to the final. 6/1 is short enough, and I wouldn’t be backing him.
The Wright Stuff?
The third seed, Peter Wright, is a true fan favourite. I have to admit, I enjoy watching him, as he’s a power scorer, and his game has come on leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. Add to this the fact he seems to have a cushy draw, and everything points to Peter Wright having a great time of things at the Ally Pally this year.
But here’s the thing, Wright can’t seem to get across the line when it counts. He’s been plagued by Michael van Gerwen, much in the way Terry Jenkins suffered at the hands of Phil Taylor. Wright’s ability to win at the highest level has been questioned by the likes of Wayne Mardle and other commentators, and I have to agree. Wright is a general 10/1 shot, and that’s about right. He seems likely to go deep, but come the quarter-finals, things look that little bit tougher, and that’s when Wright’s mettle. I can’t see the bridesmaid becoming the bride this year, but he could be the each-way bet to nothing., given his plum draw for the early rounds.
Power and Glory?
What preview would be complete without mentioning Phil Taylor? The Power is going for number 16 and he’s coming into this having reduced his workload for the year, playing fewer tournaments and only really going to the big ones. Well, what is bigger than this one? Taylor is coming into this as the fourth seed, having had a quiet year in terms of ranking tournaments. However, Taylor does have a big tournament win to his name, the inaugural Champions League of Darts tournament which was broadcast on the BBC. He also won the Austrian Darts Open, his only European Tour Event, but failed to do too much damage in the European Championship, making it to the quarter-finals, where he lost to Mensur Suljovic.
This might be Phil Taylor’s last hurrah, and I have to say that I think the decision to slow down has benefited him. His 11-5 demolition of Michael van Gerwen showed he hasn’t truly lost it, and although he’s struggling to close out legs at times, the class is still there. Taylor is currently around 9/1, and I like that value as an each-way bet. He’s seeded to meet Adrian Lewis in the quarter-finals, and has a kind draw to get there. The problem comes with MvG in the semi-finals, but Taylor has done it recently and I think he could do it again on the big stage. Plus, wouldn’t it be great to see the best player of all time win one more world championship?
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Best of the Rest
Looking at the draw, 8th seed Mensur Suljovic looks to have a nice draw, but would have to likely get past MvG to win his quarter. Raymond van Barneveld has found some form lately, abut his draw is truly awful, with Robbie Green, Alan Norris and Adrian Lewis likely to be facing him (Green definitely, as he’s his first opponent).
Benito van de Pas has been the one to watch over the past 12 months, and with one of the qualifiers his opponent in the first round, then Terry Jenkins or Josh Payne, before a potential meeting with Gary Anderson, there’s a lot to like about the youngster’s route to a deep run. Van de Pas is around 125/1 to win and while it seems unlikely, it’s a nice bit of value each-way.
And, of course, there’s Jelle Klaasen, who also seems to have a tidy raw, with Dave Chisnall looking a threat, but if he can find his A game, Klaasen will give as good as he gets and then some. That then leaves Gary Anderson in the quarter-finals potentially, and again, Klaasen won’t mind that. And then who does that leave him? Wade or Wright? Well, if he can get past Anderson, they won’t be an issue, surely? I’m not saying it’s a foregone conclusion, but at 50/1, Jelle Klaasen is another great each-way chance.
Phil Taylor to win 2017 World Championship @ 9/1
Jelle Klaasen to win 2017 World Championship (each-way) @ 50/1
Jelle Klaasen to win his 3rd quarter @ 7/1
Hopefully this has whet your appetite for the 2017 World Championship, and you’ll join us every day for our free darts betting tips.