World Darts Championship: Assessing the semi-finalists
Make no mistake about it, anyone can win this year’s World Darts Championship. Right now we’re at a stage where the odds mean nothing – this is a matter of bottle.
And after we were treated to perhaps the most entertaining day of darts we’re ever likely to see last time out, we move on to the semi-finals.
But what chances do the remaining four players have of lifting the trophy?
Three of the remaining four have done exactly that, with Peter Wright being the odd one out.
We’re given the lowdown on every player still standing, and we begin with the tournament’s ever-odds-on favourite.
Michael van Gerwen – 8/13
We’re well and truly into the business end of this competition now, and that tends to be where Mighty Mike steps up his game.
And he’ll need to do exactly that if he’s to go all the way this year, despite breezing past the likes of Kim Viljanen, Cristo Reyes, Darren Webster and Daryl Gurney in previous rounds.
But such is the standard of remaining players (three of the Top Four in the PDC Order of Merit and a five-time world champion), we’re hesitant to back MVG at such short odds.
It’s been well documented that the Dutchman has won a staggering 25 titles in 206, but as we enter the New Year, all of that will have been for nothing, and the last 12 months will have been a failure, according to the man himself.
That’s a lot of ressure he’s placed on his own shoulders. In our opinion, the world number one has it all to do.
Gary Anderson – 5/2
Where has Gary Anderson been for the past 12 months?
In short, it doesn’t really matter. What’s important is the here and now, and boy has he kept his best form for the biggest stage of all.
Quite simply, the two-time world champion is simply unplayable right now. He just doesn’t know how to have a bad game. Even when he does perform below his own expectations, he manages averages around the 102/103 mark.
Plenty of world titles have been won with figures like that, and we mustn’t forget that this tournament has been won by the Flying Scotsman for the last two years.
In fact, this may just be where the best value les. Van Gerwen has been SO good this year that traders have quite rightly pushed his competitors’ odds further out.
And anyone who backed Anderson at the beginning of the tournament must be rubbing their hands right now, certainly if you got on him each-way.
Peter Wright – 8/1
Not many will be fancying Wright to go all the way this year, based largely on the challenges that potentially lie ahead.
But that’s a position Snakebite will love to be in. He can go out in his next match against Anderson knowing that all of the pressure is on his opponent.
He’s perhaps not received as much credit as he’s deserved over the last couple of weeks either.
The 46-year-old dropped just one set in his opening three matches, before fighting off a resilient James Wade in the Quarters. And if we’re talking about bottle, this man certainly has plenty.
Wright may not have any major trophy wins to his name so far, but he’s said himself, he’s simply too good not to win something soon.
He’ll need to pull out the best two performances of his career if this is to be his year. But he’s certainly capable.
Raymond van Barneveld – 10/1
This is arguably the strangest price of the four. Granted much of it is to do with the fact he’ll have to beat his compatriot, Van Gerwen in the semis.
But where others tend to crumble against MVG, Barney knows no better than to just play his natural game.
And if we’re basing his chances of winning on how he’s performed thus far, then this could be the best bet of them all.
Already with wins against Adrian Lewis and Phil Taylor to his name in this tournament, RVB is taking it one game at a time – and it’s a tactic which is paying dividends.
Victory over Jackpot and the Power has set up a clash with MVG, and a potential meeting with Anderson in the final.
Should results pan out that way and Barney went on to lift the trophy, he’d have beaten off a quartet of players that’ve won 19 of the last 22 PDC World Championship winners.
It would undoubtedly be the greatest win of all-time, and it’s a huge ask. But if anyone was capable, it’d be Raymond van Barneveld.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing