We're back with one of our favourite events with the ‘double-in double-out' format, which has seen plenty of shocks especially in the opening round.
The event toes the oche from Sunday with its conclusion the following Saturday and is LIVE in it's entirety on Sky Sports.
Format (All best of five legs per set)
- Last 32: Best of three sets – Sunday/Monday
- Last 16: Best of five sets -Tuesday/Wednesday
- Quarter Final: Best of five sets – Thursday
- Semi Final: Best of seven sets – Friday
- Final: Best of nine sets – Saturday
Irish thrower Daryl Gurney took his first major twelve months ago. Retaining his title is chalked up at 40/1. He is in the same half as the big two in the betting and it would be a monumental task to defend his crown from his draw.
World number one MVG is 6/5 with Sportingbet with Gary Anderson next up at 7/1. Snakebite occupies 8/1 with Cross 9/1, then Mensur Suljovic at 22/1. The bar is 40/1 or greater for the rest.
Michael Van Gerwen doesn’t seem to have that ultimate killer instinct toeing the oche at the moment. Perhaps distracted from fatherhood in recent times you cannot blame the guy for side-stepping darts temporaily from his red hot reputation. Also from his first round exit to John Henderson last year with the race to two sets in a double in format makes the 6/5 less attractive.
Those fancying a bet on the outright should avoid each way betting as nearly all firms are betting with 1/3 odds for a place in the final covering their position on the double in format. I do believe Unibet are 1/2 odds so do shop around.
Looking at Round One, Darren Webster who has remained increasingly consistent takes on Stephen Bunting, who is starting to edge his way back. Webster and Bunting are fairly close in the betting with demolition man at 4/5 and the bullet at 7/6 with Marathonbet.
Webster has made two previous appearances at the event falling short on both occasions with Bunting making his fifth consecutive appearance having made the semi final in 2014 and was a opening round exit last year.
With the previous meetings tied at 2-2 holding throw will be both players fortress and seeing the total set price at 10/11 generally edges this for me.
Gerwyn Price and Danny Noppert is an interesting tie seeing recent European Tour player Price take on the former BDO hotshot and Pro tour surge Noppert. Price is 8/13 to win the tie with Danny at 13/10.
There is one market that I feel stands out here and with the tie on 1-1 on the head to head, the double in format can limit the maximum count. To be given an implied 60% chance of no maximum in leg one appeals at 4/6 as both players try and adjust to the double in format. One big opening in could swing the leg in our favour increasing the chances of it not landing in leg one.
You could double the above up with the Chisnall/Hopp game where Chisnall is nowhere near his best and struggled at the champions league of darts noticeably spotting back issues. Playing German Max Hopp is not the most clinical maximum hitter with the double returning a respectable 6/4 with Betfair.
I think the in-form Gary Anderson should see off Jonny Clayton and the defending champion should outscore John Henderson for a 5/6 double with Betfair.