It has been a busy few weeks for the PDC darts circuit in the past few weeks, and that’s great news for punters as they assemble their bets ahead of the World Grand Prix in Dublin.
What have we learnt? Certainly, the likes of Gary Anderson, Peter Wright and Mensur Suljovic showed they were in great form at the Champions League of Darts in Brighton, while there was further disappointment for Michael van Gerwen, whose premature exit at the World Matchplay was followed by another earlier dismissal on the south coast.
There’s plenty for the Dutch darting machine to work on then, but at least he boasts a decent record in this World Grand Prix event, which serves up a unique format that punters simply have to get to grips with.
Unlike any other tournament in world darts, the players must hit a double to start a leg, and also checkout as normal to win the leg as well.
It’s bizarre but makes for a fantastic spectacle, and the ‘double in, double out’ set-up clearly lends itself to success for certain players over others.
Names like Alan Warriner-Little, Robert Thornton and Daryl Gurney feature on this trophy, while other legends of the game – your Anderson’s, your Van Barneveld’s, your Wright’s – are notable by their absence.
Last 5 World Grand Prix Winners
|2017||Daryl Gurney||Simon Whitlock||5-4|
|2016||Michael van Gerwen||Gary Anderson||5-2|
|2015||Robert Thorton||Michael van Gerwen||5-4|
|2014||Michael van Gerwen||James Wade||5-3|
|2013||Phil Taylor||Dave Chisnall||6-0|
And that very same format also promotes the possibility of upsets and shock results. Phil Taylor, for instance, enjoyed plenty of success in this event but was also on the receiving end of five first round defeats.
It’s a fascinating prospect for punters to unravel.
Well blow me down: Van Gerwen is odds-against to win a darts tournament!
Mighty Mike can be backed at a rare 6/5 to lift a fourth World Grand Prix title, although given the unpredictability of the event most will want to invest their funds elsewhere.
Gary Anderson (13/2) is in fine fettle after winning the Champions League last week, but if the Flying Scotsman does have a weakness – a bold claim for a two-time world champion – it would be that his doubles occasionally let him down.
Peter Wright (8/1) has never made a final in Dublin, and at the Champions League last week bemoaned his poor form on the doubles. As a noted thinker – read over-thinker – of his darts, any opportunity for psychological weakness tends to manifest itself in disappointing performances from Snakebite.
The world champion, Rob Cross (9/1), is scarcely considered by the betting market; barely nine months since he produced a show-stopping series of performances at the Alexandra Palace.
Voltage has struggled, to some extent, with ‘second season syndrome’, and yet ironically the World Grand Prix could be his best chance of returning to the winner’s circle. Cross’ ability to hit D18 – his season-long checkout success rate of 80% with three darts in hand is only bettered by MVG – suggests that the ‘double in’ in Dublin should suit him down to the ground.
At the start of this week you could have got 22/1 with most firms about Mensur Suljovic winning the World Grand Prix.
Not so now, with the Austrian in as short as 14/1 with some bookies on the back of an excellent showing at the Champions League of Darts.
That came on the back of reaching the final of the World Matchplay in the summer, so right now Suljovic’s game is the equal of anyone outside of MVG and Anderson. His penchant for hitting D14 under pressure makes him a value bet in Dublin.
Michael Smith (35/1) will win plenty of PDC majors in his darting career, but we’re not convinced the World Grand Prix format suits a power-scorer who occasionally runs into trouble on the outer ring of the dartboard.
Adrian Lewis (40/1) is not a player we want to be backing right now given his fall from the heights that saw him twice lift the Sid Waddell trophy, but a player at the same price-point – Daryl Gurney – is far more appealing.
The Irishman relished the task on home soil 12 months ago, clinching his first PDC major here, and the support of the crowd was a huge factor in Gurney’s triumph.
It’s been a fallow period since, but a return to his favourite haunt on the tour should suit. Gurney was unbeaten in two matches in Ireland in the Premier League, and he played pretty well at the Champions League last week: becoming the first player in the tournament’s history to be knocked out in the group phase despite winning two of his three matches.
As mentioned, Suljovic’s form and brilliance on the doubles means he is supreme value at 14/1 in this unique format.
This is an event with a habit of throwing up surprises, and one of the biggest is that Gurney is available at such a meaty price as 40/1.
Creeping back into form, the Irishman is a ‘horse for the course’ playing on home soil.