The Unibet Grand Prix of Darts gets underway in Dublin this October and have we got a show for you!
This is knockout darts at its finest. No messing around, just head-to-head matches right up to the final.
The PDC’s top 16 players plus 16 other hopefuls will descend on Dublin to compete for the €460,000 prize fund on offer at the Citywest Hotel.
Eight of the players are fresh off their battle in the Unibet Champions League of Darts in Cardiff. That weekend showcased the world’s top players at their best and darts betting fans can expect the same pinpoint expertise to be on show in Ireland.
Robert Thornton is defending Unibet Grand Prix of Darts champion but Phil Taylor has hit form at just the right time. Meanwhile, Michael van Gerwen is looking for revenge and James Wade could reignite his previous success in this tournament.
Let’s take a look at the favourites to win in Ireland.
Phil Taylor: 5.00 to win
Taylor, the 11-time World Grand Prix champion, is the man of the moment. He smashed Michael van Gerwen 11-5 in the Unibet Champions League of Darts final last weekend and is already plotting another trophy to add to his 2016 collection.
Taylor used to dominate the World Grand Prix but he is now seeking his first win in this tournament since 2013. Since he beat Dave Chisnall 6-0 in the final three years ago, Taylor has fallen at the quarter-final (2014) and first round (2015) stages of this tournament.
But the 56-year-old is undoubtably back at his best. He is 5.00 to win the Grand Prix, which is a great price considering his form.
Michael van Gerwen: 2.10 favourite to win
It was a stunned Michael van Gerwen who left the oche in Cardiff on Sunday night after being convincingly outplayed by Taylor. Dutchman Van Gerwen was the clear favourite to win the inaugural Champions League but he twice lost to his nemesis — first in the group stage and then in the all-important final.
The defeats were a shock considering Van Gerwen won the Players Championship earlier that week and had just claimed his sixth European Darts Tour trophy at the Grand Prix in Sindelfingen.
So what do we make of Van Gerwen’s chances in Dublin? The two-time World Grand Prix winner has a good opening opponent in Steve Beaton (who he should beat comfortably) but, crucially, is in Taylor’s side of the draw. These guys will likely clash in the semi-final and it’s a 50/50 for who will win that clash. Considering Taylor is 5.00 to win the World Grand Prix compared to Van Gerwen’s 2.10, you’re better siding with the Englishman.
Gary Anderson: 7.00 to win
While Van Gerwen and Taylor do battle in the top half of the draw, Gary Anderson can concentrate on reaching the final in the lower half. The Scot is having an inconsistent second half to the year, having enjoyed some success in the World Series events during the summer months.
Anderson has never reached the Grand Prix final but this could be his year. He demolished his group competitors in the Champions League last weekend before falling to Van Gerwen, who he cannot reach until the final in Dublin.
Anderson’s closest rival this week, Adrian Lewis, was dispatched with ease 10-5 in Cardiff. Anderson should have no problem at least reaching the semis here and at 7.00 is a tasty price to go all the way.
First-round bets: Play safe and the top seeds
The Unibet Grand Prix of Darts first round could throw up some interesting results but if you’re seeking a safe bet at good odds then a combination bet may be the best option. The top seeds on the PDC Tour should all go through here, but let’s not be silly with an eight-fold bet. No, a strong four-way combination should get your tournament off to a good start.
Van Gerwen is 1.12 to beat Beaton in the first round. Combine that with Taylor (1.11) to edge out Steve West and Anderson (1.20) to dispatch of Jamie Caven and the odds are increasing. Adding Adrian Lewis at 1.53 to beat Jelle Klaassen could prove to be your weak link. But Lewis is a composed darts player and worth backing.
€10 on this top-four seed combination bet for the first round earns €19.02, which is a good profit considering the strength of the seeds.