It might seem like a long time away as you look out your window to (hopefully) see sunny blue skies, but it’s just 200 days until we see the cold winter nights made brighter by the PDC World Championship. Darts fans will make the annual pilgrimage to the “Ally Pally”, and, as is tradition, there will be no end of Santa Claus costumes, adult Teletubbies and whatever else is in vogue for the panto-like fancy dress season of darts.
s it stands, Michael Van Gerwen is the clear favourite to take his fourth world title, coming in at around 6/4 with most betting sites. It’s hard to argue with Van Gerwen’s status as favourite. After all, the Dutchman is far ahead of his rivals on the PDC Order of Merit Standings, with almost double the prize money of his closest competitor, Peter Wright.
But being the favourite and winning a World Championship are often not one and the same. Statistically speaking, Van Gerwen is more likely to lose than win. Even if we omit his early years in the tournament (2008-2012), “Mighty Mike” is three for seven for world titles at the Ally Pally. That makes the price of 6/4 look a little small when you consider it that way.
Can we find a little more value further down the markets? Sure. We’ve had a look at the latest darts odds for the available markets and come up with the three players below. They might not inspire the same level of confidence as MVG does in his backers, but they have the quality to spring a surprise. And, it’s worth remembering that each-way betting is always an option.
Gurney may have had a bit of a comedown from the heights of 2017 when he was consistently making the quarter-finals or better in televised ranking events, but he looked back in good form at the UK Open back in March. Yes, he received a bit of a schooling from Van Gerwen when losing the semi-final 11-3, but Gurney is considered something of a late bloomer and can still improve. Indeed, if he shows that 2017 form, nobody will want to face him. Gurney is ranked sixth in the world and is a former World Grand Prix and Players Championship winner, and that price of 40/1 doesn’t reflect that.
“Bully Boy” has yet to win a major ranking event, but it’s worth remembering that he is still only in his 20s. Phil Taylor, for example, won his first World Championship aged 35. Anyway, when looking at the chances of success for a younger player, what you want to see is steady progress. We can clearly see that with Smith, who made his first World Championship Final in 2019. He’ll be better for that experience (he lost 7-3 to Van Gerwen), and he has all the goods to make it to a few finals over the next decade. He looks like a sound each-way bet.
Like Smith, Aspinall is in his 20s. And, just like Smith, we see clear progress in his career, especially in 2019 and early 2020. The highlight of his fledgeling career is undoubtedly the 2019 UK Open victory, but we should not overlook his two performances at the World Championship this year and last. Reaching the semi-final both times, Aspinall looked unfazed by the pressure. For some, it’s a question of when, and not if, he wins a World Championship. 16/1 looks, once again, a decent each-way bet for a player who is proving to be ultra-consistent.