The 2017 World Darts Championship gets underway this December and darts betting fans are gearing up for two weeks of scintillating arrows action.
Who will win the World Darts Championship? Michael van Gerwen is seeking to reclaim the crown he first won in 2014, while Gary Anderson will hope to defend the title for a second successive year.
When is the World Darts Championship
The tournament begins on 15 December once all the qualifying rounds have been settled. However, there are eight preliminary round ties that will be weaved into the main event over the opening few days. Jamie Caven (29) v Kevin Painter is the first match up on the opening day of the tournament, with second seed Gary Anderson the big draw against Mark Frost.
The World Darts Championship final takes place on 2 January and could see Anderson take on Van Gerwen for the ultimate prize in the sport. There are three rounds before the quarter-finals, which take place on 30 December.
Round One games consist of best of five sets, with Round Two and Three being best of seven. The quarters are best of nine and the semis best of 11. The grand final will be best of 13 sets, so first to seven wins.
Previous World Darts Championship winners and records
Phil Taylor (14) holds the record for the most World Championship titles. Taylor has only lost four finals but he has not win the title since 2013. The Englishman lost out to Scot Gary Anderson in the 2015 final and crashed out in the third round last year.
After Taylor, three men (Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson and John Part) share two titles each. Anderson could therefore become the second-most successful player in this tournament if he wins in 2017. Anderson is 7.00 to win.
Only three other men (Raymond van Barneveld, Dennis Priestly and Michael van Gerwen) have ever won the world title. That is in part due to Taylor’s sheer dominate of the sport in the 1990s and 2000s. However, darts betting fans may not be too keen to side with Taylor this year.
There have been only nine nine-dart finishes in the World Darts Championship. Raymond van Barneveld threw the first two (2009 and 2010), while Gary Anderson threw the most recent in the 2016 semi-final against Jelle Klaasen.
However, the master at the oche remains Taylor when it comes to averages. No one has ever come close to surpassing his 111.21 average thrown in a second-round win over Shayne Burgess in 2002. Van Gerwen’s best average is 109.23 thrown last year.
World Darts Championship draw and match times
There are some big names in the First Round draw and sports betting fans are likely to be placing some smart combination bets on the favourites to increase the odds. Here are the big games in the opening rounds.
Gary Anderson (2) v Mark Frost: Third match on Thursday 15 December. Anderson 1.06 to win.
Peter Wright (3) v Hendriks/Parry: Fourth match on Friday 16 December.
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Snook/Viljanen: Fourth match in evening session, Saturday 17 December.
Phil Taylor (4) v Bowles/Platt: Fourth match in evening session, Sunday 18 December.
Adrian Lewis (5) v Magnus Caris: Third match on Monday 19 December. Lewis 1.06 to win.
Raymond van Barneveld (12) v Robbie Green: Third match one Tuesday 20 December. Van Barneveld 1.30 to win.
James Wade (6) v Ronny Huybrechts: Third match on Wednesday 21 December. Wade 1.12 to win.
Dave Chisnall (7) v Rowby-John Rodriguez: Third on Thursday 22 December. Chisnall 1.15 to win.
World Darts Championship best bets
Michael van Gerwen is 1.61 to win the World Darts Championship, which is a ridiculously narrow price. Van Gerwen is on top of his game right now, having smashed James Wade 16-8 in the final of the Grand Slam of Darts last month.
Van Gerwen has won eight PDC premier events in 2016 and has already been crowned world champion in the past. However, Gary Anderson at 7.00 to win a third straight world title is a great price in this knockout tournament.
All it needs is for Van Gerwen to have one off night — or for a competitor to play the match of his life — and the betting is blown wide open. Phil Taylor isn’t exactly having the best year of his career but he won the Unibet Champions League of Darts in September and reached the World Series of Darts semi-finals before losing 11-10 to Peter Wright.
Back Taylor at 10.00 to win a 15th world title and do be surprised if it comes in.