2018 PDC World Darts Championship - An In-Depth Betting Preview 2018 PDC World Darts Championship In-Depth Betting Preview
We are back, back in a bigger and better way than ever before. The prize fund has been enhanced to an eye-watering £1,800,000 with a £400,000 portion of this going to the eventual winner on January 1st, 2018. With the 72-man field as ever, we have more nations being represented than ever before this year with 24, including the first ever Brazilian to qualify for a World Championship - Diogo Portela.
Let's take a look at a couple of players more in-depth, with a little statistical insight to kick.
Michael van Gerwen - the reigning champion with two world titles to his name, the Dutchman certainly looks the man to beat and the odds will agree with me here. A market-best price of 8/11 is on offer for the Dutchman the shortest ever for a World Champion. Some bookmakers are offering 4/6, with Unibet & 888sport strangely offering 3/10 (1.30), yet still not offering a market-best price on any other of the players. I’m not going to advise for anyone to take this but it’s certainly not unwise to, he warrants 8/11 if not as short as 8/13, it’s his to lose.
In the most recent PDC tournament, the Players Championship Finals, when aiming for T20 - MvG amassed an unbelievable 49.8% success rate. To put this into perspective of his superiority at the moment, Johnny Clayton whom he faced in the final, sat on a 38.9% T20 percentage. He is on hot-form and these sort of stats build for a consistent 100+ average, every match from the prolific arrows-man.
MvG reigns supreme when it comes to records at the Alexandra Palace, the home of the WDC. One of his records at the forefront of this impressiveness is his smashing of the highest average with an incredible 114.05 in his victory against fellow Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld. Another cool record he dons is his best TV set average of 133.91, which he set as a teenager back in 2007, this was also at the Alexandra Palace. Incredible.
The high riser of the year is Daryl Gurney. Not as high as others in terms of rises in the rank, with Jonny Clayton rising 28 places this year, but in that of the sheer quality of his progression this year. Daryl started the year ranked 23 in the order of merit, he now sit's as the worlds number 4. Ahead of Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis, Raymond van Barneveld and many other notable names.
Rob Cross - The Kent-born sensation is taking the darts stage by storm this year, appearing from what seemed to be nowhere, he is now being tipped by many to be a future No.1 and who knows, maybe, just maybe, that year may be this year.
The strongest against throw in most of the recent tournaments, he betters Van Gerwen’s average against throw but his own throw seems to be his only current weakness (if at all it is one) - something I am sure he is working hard on nonetheless. Cross will gift us some value against throw in-play, he regularly averages into the 110's when throwing second. Even some of the best players out there struggle to hold throw against him, he piles pressure on and has no problem seeing off the checkouts. The 7/4 for him to win the 2nd Quarter (PaddyPower, BetVictor, bWin etc.) is something that may be worth a couple of pounds, the biggest threats being Gurney and Suljovic. I see Cross' quality as a shade above these, and that should prevail over the set-game format we have in the Worlds.
So with regards to the 114.05 average MvG dons in the WDC, I think there is one spot of value - he is completely able to re-enact this form on his day and the WDC is a great platform for him to do so. This bet also gives scope for any other player to go over 108.5, there are a few players who could do this. Cross & Anderson would be the most likely of the others, in my opinion, and this sort of average isn't out of their abilities but it's a tall ask. MvG can produce this regularly on his day. Raymond van Barneveld also beat this average (in the same Semi-Final against MvG as a matter of fact), amassing a very respectable 109.34. Michael van Gerwen, on a separate occasion got a 107.79 and Gary Anderson the Scot managed a more than respectable 107.68. This 108.5 is there for the taking, players up their game for this tournament and it will show in the averages in the latter stages.
Last year we saw 708 180's in the tournament. The tournament 180 line is set at 685.5, but I'm a little wary of it - I think it's a good line although there definitely is a hint of value. I think we will see around 690-700 this time around, but if a big hitter gets knocked out too early we may have trouble. The sheer amount of 180's last year in the Semi-Finals and the Final made this total seem a lot rosier than it was set to be. On the flipside, no reason to believe the Semi’s and Final this year will not reproduce the same power scoring – the quality is as good, if not better. It’s a kind line, and If you are a Darts neutral it’s a great market to put your interest in. To put it simply, you would be cheering on 686 180’s throughout the tournament, every match inclusive. Every time you hear Russ Bray or John McDonald (or any other!) roar the infamous ‘180’ to the crowd, you are one closer to collecting some winnings come the New Year.
BETFRED - Highest Match Average - Over 108.5 @ 5/6
PaddyPower, BetVictor, bWin & more- Rob Cross to Win the 2nd Quarter @ 7/4
Let's delve into a couple snippets of potential value in the first round.
- James 'The Jammie Dodger' Wilson sits ranked 32 in the world, and scores powerfully even on the big stage. He has been performing well of late, Last 32 in the Grand Slam of Darts, Last 64 of the PCF and very recently reaching the Final of the PDPA Tour, losing to a mightily in-form Johnny Clayton. I have no quarries over his maximum producing ability, hence the 180 tip but I am also going to put my neck on the line and suggest he shouldn't be the outsider here against his Polish opponent in that of Krzysztof Ratajski. Kryzystof sits 77th in the PDC rankings, having a great couple of years - but he fluctuates between the PDC & BDO competitions. He didn't make the WDC in 2017 and was only playing at a very local and unprofessional level in 2017. James has the experience on the big stage, and he can outscore Krzysztof in my humble opinion.
- Jelle Klaasen has somewhat recently undergone surgery, and is now back to his maximum finding best. Producing one of the games of the tournament at Minehead, recently. Rattling in 6 180's in just 10 legs, and reproducing a similar maximum finding quality in his next match in Rd 2. He is a real sight to behold when in full-speed. I fancy Jelle to produce some of his best in the early stages here, so let's look at the value in his Round 1 match versus fellow Dutchman Jan Dekker.
As far as the Michael Smith v Steve Lennon match is concerned, the reason I sense a hint of value here in the maximum market is Smith is slowly entering a more professional mindset, but still has tendencies to enter his old ways. In layman’s terms, he can fire the maximums like no other and rattle winning legs off in record speeds – but will give away legs and huge chances quite often, this makes for an extended length of match and gives us plenty of time to get that 9 maximums. Steve will have no problem chipping in with 3-4+, I should imagine.
First Round Tips
We have a juicy amount here, being such a large tournament so keep the bets smaller on each match bet. We need to account for nerves also, of the players, not of us, that is.
Thursday (Dec 14th) - James Wilson Over 4.5 180's vs Krzysztof Ratajski @ ca 8/11 & James Wilson to WIN vs Krzysztof Ratajski @ EVS.
Saturday (16th) - Jelle Klaasen Over 4.5 180's vs Jan Dekker - @ ca. 5/6.
Wednesday (20th) - Michael Smith v Steve Lennon - Over 8.5 Match 180's @ 5/6.
Expect more tips, match previews etc. to come. I enjoy the darts and there's profit to be made - happy to try answer any questions also, it's a confusing sport at times with some interesting markets. It is very easy once you understand though. More than happy to help all!