2019 PDC Darts World Championship Preview
December 11, 2018
The festive season is upon us, but for darts fans, Christmas is coming early. Yep, the PDC World Championship starts again this week with the sports’ biggest stars all vying for darts’ most coveted trophy.
The tournament always throws up some headline-worthy news so expect plenty of thrills, shocks and upsets. For now, let’s have a look at the format and history of one of dart’s greatest events.
There have been a few changes this time around, with even bigger action thanks to a roster increase from 72 to 96. That’s 24 more players vying for the crown including Lisa Ashton and Anastasia Dobromyslova, the first female competitors in the tournament since 2009. The event will last for 28 afternoon and evening sessions, which is six more than last year, and there will be a total of 95 matches taking place over the 20-day duration.
The competition has seen some great match-ups since its inception, but this year something has changed; it’s the first-time darts legend Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor won’t be gracing the stage with his presence. The icon has been the face of the World Championship since the PDC’s inception and has won it 12 more times than anyone else – an insane record. He lost out last year to Rob Cross in a sensational upset that ruined Taylor’s fairy-tale ending. It was a reminder of the shocks that can happen in this competition and that darts has no room for sentiment.
That’s the format and history covered, so now let’s take a look at the favourites in the 2019 Darts World Championship betting odds.
While the promise of more great darts on the telly whilst you’re eating your Christmas dinner is a wonderful prospect, it’s the big dogs that are the main attraction. The top contenders will join the rest of the pack a little later down the line, but they’ll still have a gruelling half month and six other players standing in their way.
There are two men who tower above the rest in the odds this year; Michael van Gerwen and, in the Dutchman’s opinion, the only man who stands a chance of beating him, Gary Anderson. Both will be hoping to lift the trophy for a third time, becoming only the second player in the tournament’s history to do so after Phil Taylor.
Michael van Gerwen is the best darts player in the world and the current ranked World Number one, but you wouldn’t think it looking at the press surrounding the Dutchman going into the competition. Pundits and fans alike seem to agree that he’s begun to show cracks in his game and a few slip-ups in some major finals will do nothing to dissuade this. Perhaps this is just the price of being the best though, you can’t expect him to win every trophy.
With that said, it’s not like he’s done badly on that front having won The Masters, Premier League and World Grand Prix. It’s a strange situation. Talent-wise, there’s little doubt that he’s the best in the world and on his day, he can demolish anyone. However, his top form has become rarer as of late and he has allowed a certain level of sloppiness to creep into his game. Maybe it’s complacency for a man who has grown used to winning or maybe this is the start of a more serious decline. On the other hand, a win here will help cast the doubts aside and repair his reputation.
Anderson has been the biggest thorn in Van Gerwen’s side in recent years. The Scot has consistently held back the World Number One and has pipped him to a few major PDC titles. He’s won a treble of honours himself this year – the UK Matchplay, the World Matchplay and the Champions League of Darts and looked to be on top form heading into this one. The major advantage he has is that he is kryptonite to arguably the only man in the world who’s better than him.
The Best of the Rest
Despite Van Gerwen and Anderson being the two most decorated players this year, they certainly aren’t lacking quality in opposition. In fact, some of the other names have already caused a fair bit of misery to Van Gerwen and Anderson.
Daryl Gurney is one such man, having stunned the world to beat Van Gerwen in the Players Championship Final. While his overall form hasn’t been incredible this season, winning a title against the world number one so recently will do wonder for Gurney’s confidence but also shows that on his day, he can go toe to toe with the best.
James Wade and Gerwyn Price are two others that have won major PDC titles this year and will be looking to carry that form into the tournament. Wade has won both the World Series of Darts Finals and the European Championship and has begun to look dangerous in the Oche again. He had to beat a wealth of players to get the two titles, including the likes of Mensur Suljović and Simon Whitlock. Wade will have to reach the same level of consistency if he wants to replicate that success.
Gerwyn ‘the Iceman’ Price has shown great resilience this year, especially in his winning run in the Grand Slam of Darts. He had to come from behind in the quarter-final, semi-final and the final itself against Simon Whitlock, Mensur Suljović and Gary Anderson respectively. His loud on-stage persona caused a lot of controversies and, at times, he seems all too pleased to play the part of pantomime villain. However, he might be exactly the personality that’s needed to beat some of the bigger boys, it was clear in his final against Anderson that his antics were affecting his opponent’s game. This mental advantage is exactly the kind of thing he’ll need to utilise if he is to go all the way.
It’s hard to pick a name from the wealth of talent on display here and the frequent upsets seen in the World Championships make it an even more difficult task. However, I think one man will want this more than any other; Michael Van Gerwen. He’s been fiery in the press conferences and keen to assert his position as top dog to the press, but talking isn’t the best way to solidify that. Winning is. When the best player in the world goes into a competition with a point to prove, you’d think there’s only one outcome.
Here’s where you can find all the bookmakers offering 2019 Darts World Championship betting odds
Cyrus has been writing about sports and many other topics for major publications over the past five years. Now working in digital marketing, he spends his days arguing over football and dreaming of his beloved Manchester City winning the champions league.