DARTS expert Mark Stinchombe (@MarkStinchcombe) analyses the outright market ahead of the World Championship this festive season.
World Darts Championship | 15 December 2016 – 2 January 2017 | Sky Sports
The all-conquering world number one and number one seed Michael van Gerwen enters the 2017 World Championships in the first quarter of the draw. He's just 1/6 to prevail in his section and there looks to be very little that could worry him.
After facing a qualifier in the 1st Round, his mini section will most likely culminate against Simon Whitlock according to the betting, against whom he's won 13 of their last 14 matches.
A potential quarter-final will most likely feature Mensur Suljovic, Robert Thornton or Daryl Gurney but none will hold any fear for the Dutchman.
Suljovic has come on leaps and bounds the last 18 months, beating reigning back-to-back World Champion Gary Anderson at the Matchplay last year and reaching his first PDC semi-final at the Grand Prix. This year he won his first PDC European Tour event in Germany in September.
However, against the better players, his unorthodox style doesn't always match up well, as shown by his recent 11-1 defeat to MVG and 4-0 to Adrian Lewis here last year.
Robert Thornton has had a torrid 12 months since winning the Grand Prix and Daryl Gurney has only recently recovered from broken hand after a promising spell this time a year ago.
Verdict: Michael van Gerwen
Quarter two's first section looks to be highly contested, with Adrian Lewis, Joe Cullen, Corey Cadby, Raymond van Barneveld, Robbie Green and Alan Norris!
Here we have a two-time World Champion, the recently crowned World Youth champion, a five-time World Champion, a quarter-finalist from last year and two players enjoying their best year on the tour. I wouldn't be surprised to see an upset or two here, and will look to the match betting to take advantage. T
he other part of section two seems Phil Taylor's to lose with Kim Huybrechts looking the biggest danger. They met at the same stage two years ago where Taylor won 4-3 to make it 10 wins out of 11 in their head-to-head.
‘The Power’ hates ‘The Hurricane’s’ over the top celebrations and always seems to raise his game that extra bit to put him in his place. Taylor is best-priced evens (Bwin) to win the quarter and that's value if there are any upsets.
At 1/33 v Bowles or Platt, he'll be at biggest 1/12 v Painter/Caven, 1/5 v Huybrechts, before 4/11 for a place in the semi's – roughly 4/5.
Verdict: Phil Taylor
Quarter three looks wide open to me, one of the reasons being Gary Anderson's recent switch to a new design of dart and the wearing of glasses.
The results have been mixed, semi's at the Grand Slam but sandwiched between three early exits at odds of 1/10, 2/9 and 1/2. His section looks kind but over a short format in the early stages he could be surprised like recently.
The other part of Q3 houses the main contenders in Dave Chisnall and Jelle Klaasen. Both are power scorers but ‘Chizzy’ has always under-performed at the Worlds and has a tendency to feel the pressure.
Semi-finalist last year where he was whitewashed by Anderson, Klaasen hasn't really kicked on this year and has been fairly inconsistent. For me Chris Dobey is a real dark horse in this section at 50/1 (Bet365).
Third on the list of Pro Tour qualifiers, he's produced some excellent floor performances this year, beating all of Anderson, Adrian Lewis, Chisnall and James Wade culminating in making the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam last month.
10/11 to beat Justin Pipe, a 2nd Round clash against Chizzy would hold no fear having beaten him twice in three of their meetings this year, the first coming at odds of just 12/5.
Dobey would be no bigger than 7/4 in a potential 3rd Round, and thus definitely offers value at 50s in this quarter, especially if Gary Anderson crashes out early on.
Verdict: Chris Dobey
Peter ‘Snakebite' Wright is the number three seed and the main contender in quarter four. However, like some other sections, a lot of the competitors in Michael Smith, Mervyn King, Ian White and Gerwyn Price have had inconsistent years.
The main threat here has to be recent Grand Slam runner-up ‘The Machine’ James Wade, and a potential quarter-final looks a tasty encounter. Wright has won five of their last six meetings however, which goes some way to explain why he's even-money favourite.
Verdict: Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen is the overwhelming favourite (3/4 Betfair) to win the tournament and it's hard to argue with his favouritism given he's swept up 12 of the last 14 TV ranking tournaments and 25 tournaments this year alone.
However, the World's is a tournament fairly unlike any other, with it's set-play and long format, and if it's a style that MVG is susceptible to it's this one, having won just one World Championship.
Two of those TV competitions he failed to claim were set format and that was despite winning more legs in both matches. He was evens to win here last year and was halted at the 3rd Round despite averaging 105.78 which just goes to show how hard it is to lift the Sid Waddell trophy.
Van Gerwen has shown signs of weakness this year as well, losing twice to Phil Taylor in the Champions League of Darts, winning just two of the six World Series events, uncharacteristically throwing away a seemingly title winning lead v Anderson in one, and missing double after double in the World Cup final.
All in all, there are more cons than pro's when entertaining the 3/4 on offer.
The reigning two-time back-to-back World Champion Gary Anderson is 13/2 (Boylesports) second favourite but I've already alluded to his change in setup, and it's very difficult to assess his true odds with such a small set of data.
Currently he's nowhere near the consistent standard needed to win at the prices so he's one to swerve for me.
Other than James Wade (40/1 888) in May, who beat MVG and Anderson along the way to winning the HappyBet European Darts Matchplay, Phil Taylor (11/1 Betfred) is the only player who's won a notable tournament, taking the Champions League (two MVG defeats), Sydney Masters and World Cup alongside Adrian Lewis for England.
At 11/1 he's the biggest price he's ever been for a World Championships, over double the odds of last year! He's not playing that badly, a few D8 and D16's missed at crucial times, but overall the standard of darts has never been higher and the Power is still recording 100+ averages in defeats.
Taylor has actually won four of his last five meetings with van Gerwen since the summer, with the last three being over distances of at least best of 19 legs. If they both reach the semi's, Taylor will not be 11/2 to beat him, making the 11/1 cracking each-way value, in my opinion.
2014 runner-up Peter Wright (12/1 Betfair) has never won a TV tournament yet is shorter than Taylor in places! He's playing well at the moment but none more than his previous best, and there appears to be a huge overreaction in the prices.
Wright has got a decent draw though, and that is reflected in his odds of 3/1 (Coral) to reach the final. I do think it's worth getting the Scot onside though as I've said for a long time if he stops tinkering around with his darts and plays to his best, it takes a very good performance to beat him.
My play here is to back him to hit the most tournament 180s at 10/1 (Ladbrokes) each-way, much improved on the 3s above. He hit the joint-second most in the Premier League this year, the forth-most at the Ally Pally last year when making the quarters and has been racking them up in recent tournaments.
World Darts Championship – Phil Taylor to win Quarter 2 (1/1 Bwin)
World Darts Championship – Chris Dobey to win Quarter 3 (50/1 Bet365)
World Darts Championship – Phil Taylor to win outright (11/1 each-way Betfred)
World Darts Championship – Peter Wright to hit the most 180s (10/1 each-way Ladbrokes)