The festive season is extra special for fans of darts as the PDC World Championship descends upon Alexandra Palace in North London.
Ally Pally is now in its thirteenth year of hosting the premier event in the oche sport, but the 2020 edition which starts on December 13 is set up to be another watershed in the history of the game.
Providing he qualifies, this will be the last tournament played by Dutch darts legend Raymond van Barneveld. Barney is beloved by fans but, like contemporary and fellow former champ Phil Taylor before him, he has chosen the grandest stage to bring the curtain down on his stellar career.
The sport of darts is in very good hands going forward despite the loss of big characters like The Power and now Van Barneveld. Fellow Dutch player and world number one Michael van Gerwen has won three of the last six PDC World Darts Championships, however, and sets the standard.
It comes as no surprise to see Mighty Mike at the head of darts betting on the World Championship with Betway as a hot 11/8 favourite as of October 21. Van Gerwen has clearly taken up the mantle from Taylor and eclipsed fellow Dutchman Barney with his exploits at Ally Pally, and that obviously makes him the one to beat.
His relative dominance of darts is behind that short price. In the last 12 months, Van Gerwen has won the previous World Championship, the World Grand Prix, Premier League and Masters all once again as well as the Champions League.
These are five of the 10 major events on the annual darts calendar. If Van Gerwen is winning half of them, then he's clearly as good as ever. He was the only player with an average score of over 100 in the Premier League again this year.
Former PDC world champion Rob Cross denied Taylor a fairytale end to his career when beating him in the final in 2018. Although his defence of the Ally Pally crown faltered in the fourth round last year, he has won a darts major in 2019 with success at the World Matchplay in Blackpool.
That has maintained Cross in second place on the PDC Order of Merit and world rankings behind Van Gerwen. The advantage of being the number two seed is that he's kept apart from Mighty Mike in the tournament brackets.
Cross contested the Premier League final with Van Gerwen earlier in the campaign but came up well short when beaten 11-5. It's hard on that evidence to see a different outcome if darts fans get one of the dream final scenarios that could play out at the World Championship.
Nonetheless, Cross was a relative unknown just two years ago, and his meteoric rise on the oche commands respect. Victory at the World Matchplay shows his Ally Pally triumph over Taylor was no fluke, and he's the man most likely to capitalise on a slip up from Van Gerwen at 8/1.
Two Scottish born darts stars, Peter Wright and two-time former world champ Gary Anderson, come next in the betting. Don't let seventh place in the PDC Order of Merit fool you; Snakebite Wright has enjoyed runs to the Masters semis and Champions League final this season.
The problem Wright faces is his record in majors when running into Van Gerwen. Snakebite has lost in seven finals to the Dutchman, including at the 2014 World Darts Championship here.
Winning the big one is tough for 9/1 chance Wright, but compatriot Anderson thus looks better value at slightly bigger odds. The Flying Scotsman knows what is required to be a world champion after back-to-back reigns in 2015 and 2016.
Anderson - currently third in the PDC Order of Merit - hasn't had the best of seasons. Matching three major wins from 2018 was always going to be tough, but his superior record at Ally Pally and ability to turn it on at the World Championship should not be ignored.
At 10/1, the Flying Scotsman represents a bit of each-way value as he's contested three of the last five finals. If he can recapture his best form, then Anderson has obvious claims of reaching the business end of the tournament.