World Darts Championship Final: Third title for Van Gerwen v Smith?
After 94 matches, 853 180s and 14 days of tungsten tossing action, the 2019 PDC World Darts Championship comes down to Michael van Gerwen v Michael Smith in the Final.
The New Year’s Day showpiece takes place over a best of 13 sets format and will see the winner walk away with a cool £500,000.
Will MVG snare a third world title? Or can Bully Boy upset the odds in his first Ally Pally Final? We’ve got all you need to know ahead of the big match, including the key odds and markets.
Route to the Final
The scores suggest van Gerwen has had a relatively straightforward route through. But the Green Machine has been forced to work hard for the right to face Smith on NYD.
Alan Tabern, Max Hopp, Adrian Lewis and Ryan Joyce all bit the dust prior to a mouthwatering semi-final clash with arch-rival Gary Anderson.
Needless to say, the Flying Scotsman went the same way as the aforementioned quartet. MVG produced pure poetry in tungsten to nail the two-time champion 6-1.
Smith navigated a seed-scattered bottom half-of the draw with victories over Ron Meulenkamp, John Henderson, Ryan Searle and Luke Humphries in the quarter-final.
Debutant Nathan Aspinall provided another tricky test in the semi-finals. But Smith showed his class to prevail 6-3 and reach a maiden Ally Pally showpiece.
How do the stats stack up?
Overall tournament stats are a big indicator as to which way the Final may go. And after five matches apiece, both players are pretty evenly matched in all departments.
MVG edges the competition averages 103.61 to 100.50, although Smith has a 19 maximum advantage over the Dutchman with 51 to 32.
Bully Boy set a semi-final record for lipsticks hit in his victory over Aspinall, with a treble-busting 17. Van Gerwen, though, is often more proficient when switching downstairs for T19.
As for checkout percentages, this is where the match could be won and lost. And again, it’s almost impossible to split the pair. Smith is 44.83% on his doubles, with 46.25% for the Dutchman.
So with it almost impossible to separate the duo based on their tournament stats, what could we learn from their head-to-head record?
We learn that MVG could have a significant psychological advantage. The 29-year-old has won 25 of their 31 meetings – including in the Premier League Final back in May.
Van Gerwen has all of the big match and big final experience. If he plays anything like he did against Anderson in the semi-final, it’s difficult to see him getting beat.
Both players are more than capable of taking out big numbers, too, as their respective semi-finals proved. Over 150.5 in the Highest Checkout market is 5/6.
And with both of the Dutchman’s two previous final wins ending 7-3 or 7-4, we go 9/2 about the former or 5/1 about the latter this time around.
Where: Alexandra Palace, London
When: 8pm, Tuesday 1st January, 2019.
How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Darts
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing