THE 2018 Players Championship Finals will be the eleventh edition of the PDC darts tournament, the Players Championship Finals, which will see for the top 64 players from the 22 Players Championship events of 2018 taking part.

The tournament will take place from 23–25 November 2018 at Butlin's in Minehead.

Michael van Gerwen will be the defending champion after defeating Jonny Clayton 11–2 in the 2017 final.

The coverage in the United Kingdom is being televised by ITV4 all weekend with Jacqui Oatley as the presenter with Chris Mason and Alan Warriner-Little.

The format is as follows: The top 64 players from the Players Championships Order of Merit, which is solely based on prize money won in the twenty-two Players Championships events during the season, qualified for the tournament.The last 64 and 32 will be played over a race to six legs on Friday and the Saturday afternoon session, before the third round kicks in Saturday night over the best of nineteen legs. Sunday will see the quarter finals battled over a race to ten, with the semi finals and final over a race to eleven to then be crowned the 2018 Players Championships Champion and pocketing a tidy £100,000 winners cheque.

There will be no subsequent draw as players will face off in their respective bracketed seeding throughout the competition.

Michael van Gerwen takes up 50% of the book solely and is evens with Coral, Sportingbet, Bwin and Ladbrokes to retain his crown. Next up is Gary Anderson at 7/1 with Bwin and Sportingbet, Peter Wright 8's, Wade 16's with Sportingbet and the remaining sixty players 25/1 and bigger.

The draw pits Anderson and MVG in the bottom half, so will clash no earlier than the semi finals. Michael van Gerwen faces a potentially tricky seeded second round against Mensur Suljovic if both can see off Matthew Edgar and Keegan Brown respectably. Rob Cross will be the seeded quarter-finalist in the event Mighty Mike gets to this stage.

The draw is not any easier for Gary Anderson, with the prospect of Simon Whitlock, who played very well at the Grand Slam losing out in a last leg decider to Gerwyn Price. The flying Scotsman has a potential run in with Michael Smith at the quarter final stage and Michael van Gerwen incidentally at the semi final stage. Elsewhere out of form Peter Wright could be stunned early on if he can get past Toni Alcinas and a possible matchup with either Max Hopp or Steve West in round two. Number one seed Ian White has another tricky task, with a lot of ties tough to call.

One game i have noticed, which is priced up with Martin Schindler taking on Nathan Aspinall, who won a pro-tour event back in September of this year, has two wins over the German and was 17/10 underdog in the game. I will certainly have this on my radar. However at time of going online has been trimmed to 13/10 James Wilson could certainly edge Dimitri van den Bergh and at 6/5 is perhaps a smidgen of value with some over a short format. With this game over on stage two will be away from the main stage where Dimitri thrives is another to
consider.

Looking at potential wagers here, Gary Anderson is as short as 7/2 to win the event, 1/1 to reach the semi final and 7/4 to reach the final. Ergo, if Anderson was the make the Semi final, the Ladbrokes price of 7/4 implies Anderson goes in at less than 2/5 if MVG makes the semi-final also! on the basis of 5/1 would make Anderson above even money for the final. Now with no open draw, this is a mistake and its not been picked up. I informed a handpicked select group before taking this on site to make them aware, but unknowing punters could be stung if they do not identify the permutations or maths, which will not send any punter into any sort of repose!

The first couple of rounds will be potential bogey formats of a race to six, although Anderson is local to this event, so will have the pleasure of commuting to the event. After the incident at the Grand Slam, he will want retribution for the way some may describe was a controversial final. Nevertheless Anderson at even money, looking at
his permutations plays Alan Tabern in round one, who has not beaten Anderson since 2010 and lost all of the last four. Kyle Anderson or Simon Whitlock will be a test, but will be fresh for this on Saturday afternoon. Having the prospect of Beaton/Huybrechts/Cullen or Henderson in round three especially over the longer format in theory would suit Anderson with a potential against Michael Smith Sunday afternoon. Anderson is best 1/7 to win his first game, and with even money on offer to win four games, cannot go in much more than 1/5 in any of the subsequent games to make evens worthwhile. With the longer format working for punters, it may appeal.

Bets I do like for the opening round is for Mighty Mike to beat Edgar by no less than 6-2, although -4.5 leg handicap was tempting at 6/4 with the green machine needing to recompose himself after a less than dominating autumn season on the darts front. Coupled with the -3.5 leg handicap is for the Schlindler/Aspinall game, where both meetings have gone the way of the Asp and pays 6/5 with Sportingbet and Bwin.

As keen followers will be aware of, I am no fan of the best of 11 outright market, however some markets do appeal.

Recommendation:

  • MVG -3.5 legs and over 8.5 legs (Schlindler/Aspinall) – 6/5 Bwin/Sportingbet
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