One of the biggest events of the British sporting calendar takes place between December 15 – January 3. The World Darts Championship! It’s something that you need to know about and gamble on!
PDC World Darts Championship is held at London’s Alexandra Palace. The combination of world class sport with dancing girls, walk on music, nicknames, a crazy crowd and a global field of 96 Dartists make this a feast of entertainment.
Unfortunately, COVID restrictions means spectators will be limited to 1000. However, even that won’t put a dampener on what is always a holiday highlight. The event is gaining global popularity rapidly. Qualifiers from all 4 corners of the world compete here. In addition, from 2019, female competitors were permitted entry. Fallon Sherrock famously shattered the glass ceiling last year.
World Darts Championship Format
The top 32 world ranked players receive a bye into round 2 and are seeded. The 32 highest ranked players from the Pro Tour Order of Merit take their place in round 1, and will play 32 players from worldwide qualifying events. The draw is split into 4 brackets, meaning that it is pre-determined as the tournament progresses.
Matches are played to set format, 3 legs are needed to win a set. A leg requires the players to score 501 points, finishing either on a double or on the bullseye. As the tournament progresses, matches lengthen from best of 5 sets in round 1 building up to best of 13 sets in the final.
How To Bet
Alongside your standard outright tournament bets, darts is an all-you-can-bet-degen-buffet of a sport. Here are some of the markets, but there are plenty more.
Handicap – players receive a set handicap to level out a lopsided match-up.
Most 180s – 180 is the maximum 3 dart score (3 x treble 20) You can play this as a tournament long bet, or pick a player in an individual match to hit more than his opponent. You need a player to get hot and score heavy. Study the stats, the clues are there.
Highest checkout – Players need to finish a leg on the bullseye or a double, and a big number combination finish is one of the best things in darts. This market is an under/over so pay your money and take your choice.
3 dart average – another under/over. Heavy scoring players can see their average ravaged by poor finishing, and vice versa. Do your fancy your player to get on a heater or freeze on that big stage?
9 dart finish – the perfect game, 501 to zero in 9 darts. This is the equivalent of your golf hole-in-one bet. A successful 9 darter in the tournament is 11/10.
Analysis and Picks
Michael van Gerwen – 5/2 Mighty Mike looked like dominating the world of darts for a generation when first claiming this crown in 2014. The Dutchman already has 3 world titles to his name. However, he’s not had a great year, and he is vulnerable despite being in the easier half of the draw.
Gerwyn ‘Iceman’ Price – 7/2 Losing semi-finalist in 2020, his 2 time Grand Slam of Darts wins means that he will be a popular choice. Price doesn’t rise too far above the massed ranks of top players in my opinion, 7/2 is too short.
Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright – 9/2 (pictured) If you don’t know what this bloke looks like, look him up. The Scotsman is the reigning champ, and course form speaks to me here. He scores heavily (2nd fav in the 180s market) which leaves him well positioned if his finishing holds up. He’s not scared to mix it up on stage either, the 2020 semi with Gerwyn Price was a bad tempered affair and the two could meet at the same stage this time around. He’s my idea of the winner.
Michael ‘Bully Boy’ Smith – 14/1 The 2013 under 21 World Champ scores heavily, regularly filling the lipstick. 2 years ago he reached the final but was soundly beaten by MVG. He’s been in decent form in a truncated 2020 season, missing 3 match darts to win the Masters and hitting a 9 darter in the Premier League in February.
Jose de Sousa ‘The Special One’ – 14/1 The Portuguese sprung a surprise when he won the 2020 Grand Slam of Darts but has only qualified for this event once, in 2012. His recent win was great for world darts, but has made his price prohibitive here.
Dave ‘Chizzy Rascal’ Chisnall – 16/1 There’s a lot to like about Chizzy Rascal. 2 quarter final appearances demonstrate his ability to compete, but also speak to his limitations. He’s a player that can thrive on momentum, so if he looks hot early, snap up a price.
Gary ‘The Flying Scotsman’ Anderson -28/1 Anderson is one of darts greats. He won back to back World Championships in 2015 and 2016, and has dozens of other titles to his name. Anderson is plagued by back problems, but reckons a specialist has sorted it so he’s here for a tilt at this. Think Tiger Woods, Augusta. Get on.
Devon ‘The African Warrior’ Petersen – 28/1 Popular for busting a move on stage to Waka Waka by Shakira, the South African comes here with a live chance. Petersen is often thereabouts without threatening the winners circle. Although he has struggled with the big stage at the Ally Pally, I think he has a good run in him.
There are 96 players competing and I’ve got stuff to do so we’ll keep this brief. There is plenty of value to be found. Just 21 players trading at 100/1 or below. Ryan ‘Heavy Metal’ Searle has beaten van Gerwen this season and is up to 38 in the world. 150/1 is too big. Damon ‘The Heat’ Heta looks to have a favourable draw, with the American Danny Baggish to overcome followed by the out of form Adrian Lewis. At 66/1 and with an easy looking path into round 3 he’s worth a look.
World Darts Championship Picks
Peter Wright 9/2
Gary Anderson 28/1
Damon Heta 66/1
Ryan Searle 150/1
Most Tournament 180’s
Michael Smith 6/1
Tournament 9 dart finish
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