And so here we are: the culmination of another wonderful PDC darts season. It’s that time again – time to check out the PDC World Darts Championship 2019 Betting Tips.
It’s been a year in which the darting world has had to rebuild following the retirement of Phil Taylor, and with Michael van Gerwen not the all-conquering force he once was there have been plenty of new faces in the winners’ enclosure over the past 12 months. In truth, it’s made for a far more entertaining spectacle for the neutral observer.
The traditional curtain-call comes at the World Championships – the first without The Power in the tournament’s history, and from December 13 to January 1, with some rest days in-between to coincide with Christmas and New Year celebrations, the famous Alexandra Palace will become a shrine to the very best tungsten tossers on the planet.
Will one of the more established names in the PDC have their name etched onto the Sid Waddell Trophy, or will somebody ‘do a Rob Cross’ and burst from the field seemingly from nowhere?
With £500,000 to the champion and a total prize pool of £2.5 million, the players won’t be short of motivation!
Tournament History & Format
We may be ‘mourning’ the loss of Taylor from darts’ undisputed greatest tournament, but there is still plenty to get excited about.
The 16-time world champion has left a legacy of such esteem that now 96 players will battle it out for the trophy in front of tens of thousands of fans full of festive cheer (and plenty else besides).
The field has increased in size from 72, with extra places handed out to Pro Tour achievers, players securing their places from various qualifiers around the world, and – in a progressive step – the best two women on the planet, who right now are Lisa Ashton and Anastasia Dobromyslova.
That means an increase in playing time – if your Christmas holidays start early, rejoice! – with a total of 28 afternoon and evening sessions and some 95 matches to be contested.
As ever, the top 32 seeds are parachuted into the second round, with the first round made up of the rest of the field in an open draw format. The preliminary round has been vanquished, and that means that all players will feature in a minimum of one best-of-five set contest, with the figure increasing for third and fourth round (best-of-seven), quarter finals (nine), semis (eleven) and, as ever, the final at an energy-sapping best-of-13 sets.
An incredible 29 different nationalities will be represented in the extended World Championships.
The host nation is the best represented with 34 entrants, although of those only Rob Cross, James Wade and Michael Smith are in the top 10 of the world rankings.
The Dutch charge will be led, as ever, by Michael van Gerwen, with Raymond van Barneveld playing in his penultimate World Championships prior to his recently-announced retirement at the end of the 2019 campaign.
Scotland has a powerful double-header in Gary Anderson and Peter Wright, amongst others, with the rest of the UK challenge inspired by recent Players’ Championship winner, the Northern Irishman Daryl Gurney, and the Grand Slam of Darts champion; the ever-controversial Gerwyn Price.
Every single continent has at least one representative jetting into London, although in truth we do still await a darting hero from Antarctica to emerge. Oceania will be represented by Aussies Simon Whitlock, former All Pally nine-dart hero Kyle Anderson and Paul Nicholson, plus qualifiers Raymond Smith and James Bailey, with a pair of Kiwis (Cody Harris and James Bailey) also in the mix.
There’s a South American (Diego Portela of Brazil), a selection of North Americans, an African (cult favourite Devon Petersen) and an Indian debutant (Nitin Kumar), as well as a strong Asian contingent headlined by the evergreen Paul Lim.
A final note for those not at Alexandra Palace. Alongside Taylor, Kevin Painter has been an ever-present figure at World Championships in both codes of the sport since 1997; he has failed to qualify. And after a year beset by injuries and legal problems, the supremely-talented Cory Cadby is also forced to miss out.
The Betting Favourites
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the PDC World Darts Championship 2019 Betting Tips. As you would expect, MVG is the favourite with the bookies; however, his odds have lengthened markedly after a fallow few months. Now, you can get an industry-best price of 6/4 with Betsson about Mighty Mike lifting a third World Championship trophy.
Gary Anderson (7/2 with TonyBet) is a mouth-watering proposition. However, as we will discuss more later on, he finds himself in the same half of the draw as Van Gerwen.
Peter Wright (11/1 with Betfred) has drifted in following a kind draw, while Michael Smith has been another big mover; keen-eyed punters can still get a handsome 27/1 with TonyBet about the Bully Boy.
The defending champion Rob Cross is only considered an outsider with the sportsbooks at 22/1 (Ladbrokes); meanwhile Mensur Suljovic’s stock has fallen of late and he’s now available at 25/1 with William Hill.
There are plenty of lively outsiders in a tournament of this size, with Daryl Gurney, who won the most recent PDC major, commanding respect at 33/1 with Unibet.
James Wade, a nine-time major champion but yet to taste glory at Alexandra Palace, is available at 40/1 with BetBright. His old nemesis Adrian Lewis – a two-time world champion – is an intriguing prospect at 80/1 (Bet365).
Others of note down the listings include Gerwyn Price (40/1 with 888sport); former world finalist Simon Whitlock (80/1 with Coral) and five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld (66/1 with Royal Panda).
There’s one item of note that has to be explained right away.
At the moment, Michael van Gerwen is ranked number one in the world and Gary Anderson is four. That means that despite being the best two players on planet darts by some margin, they are on a collision course to meet in the semi-finals at Ally Pally; one, if not both, will miss out on a final place.
What does that mean for punters? Clearly, our value is to be had in the bottom half of the draw away from that fearsome duo.
Now, it’s a process of elimination. Rob Cross, out-of-form this year and with the potential of facing the dangerous Jeffrey de Zwaan as early as the second round, holds little appeal.
One dark horse we were keeping an eye on is Jonny Clayton, who beat MVG at the Grand Slam of Darts and reached the last eight of the Players’ Championships before losing to Anderson. His record at Alexandra Palace is not great, however, and a potential second round clash with Dimitri van den Bergh – and a possible third-round tie with in-form Stephen Bunting – is enough to put us off.
Peter Wright’s draw is almost dream-like given this event is the peak of the sport. A potential route to the last eight of Alcinas, Van der Pas and then Joe Cullen, who has only gone past the first round once in eight attempts, before a last 16 clash with possibly Price or Ian White, is the stuff of legend. We’ll be backing Snakebite to win this bottom quarter.
But has the Scot got the mental strength to win the whole thing? He has shown frailty in major finals before, and this being the pinnacle of the sport you would have to suggest, cruelly, that Wright may be the bridesmaid once more.
Which brings us to Michael Smith, who on his day can beat absolutely anybody. The set format should suit a guy known for occasional vulnerability on the doubles – a set lost is not the end of the World(s), and a comfy potential draw of Meulenkamp-Henderson-Suljovic-Cross is as good as you can hope for in your quarter of this majestic tournament.
However, this is not an easy event to bet on. We expect Van Gerwen and Gary Anderson to reach their semi-final, and whoever has their hand raised in glory there they will be a red-hot favourite in the final.
And so perhaps the sensible betting play is to try something a little bit different. Take a look at bet365’s ‘forecast the finalists’ market, where you can play Van Gerwen & Smith at 10/1 and Anderson & Smith at 16/1. Dutch those together and you will enjoy a handsome profit no matter what the final pairing may be.
Finally, if you’re looking for some pre-Christmas spending, here’s a match double that might just come up with the goods. Darius Labanauskas has plied his trade on the Nordic & Baltic section of the PDC Tour and finished inside the top-two to secure his place at Alexandra Palace. The former Lakeside quarter-finalist has the game to beat Matt Edgar in the opening round.
And Raymond Smith impressed in the World Series of Darts, routing his namesake Michael 6-1 in the first round of the Brisbane Masters with a 98 average, and won five events on the Dartplayers Australia Tour in 2018. His Ally Pally opponent, Alan Tabern, has had a tough year on the main tour.