By Josh Powell
There is no doubting who is favourite for the World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. This is a competition that has been ruthlessly dominated by Phil Taylor since it began in 1994 with the Power winning the title an incredible 12 times. It is no surprise then to see the greatest player in darts heading the market at 13/8. Some people will think that’s a touch short but it could prove to be great value this time next week.
Taylor won back his Premier League title of Gary Anderson earlier this year before a massive upset in the UK Open saw him lose the final to Robert Thornton. There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded beast so you can expect Taylor to come out flying in Blackpool. He’s looking for his fifth consecutive Matchplay title this week and I wouldn’t be one to oppose him.
He’s famously one of the worst losers in the game and he will have been pounding treble 20’s from dawn till dusk since that UK Open defeat. Taylor’s opening game is against Mervyn King who he beat in the 2009 semi-final and I can see him wiping the floor with King here as he lays down a marker for the competition.
For my money I think Wes Newton will win a major competition soon but this won’t be it. He’s 25/1 to lift the trophy but would potentially meet Taylor in the semi-finals. I think the best bet would be for him to win his quarter at 9/2.
The man I think The Power will meet in the final is James Wade. For some reason The Machine absolutely loves playing in Blackpool and won this tournament back in 2007. He then made the final in 2008 and again last year when he was beaten 18-8 by Taylor. I fancy Wade to make the final again and you can back him outright for the competition at 10/1.
Wade’s toughest challenge could come against a resurgent Raymond Van Barneveld who he would meet in the semi-finals. Barney has had a shocking run of form and is well overdue a big tournament win but is starting to find his line again of late. He recently won the European Open and is also 10/1 to triumph here.
However because that semi-final could go either way it would be better to back both the Taylor v Barney final and the Taylor v Wade final which are both 15/2 with Paddy Power. They are the two strongest players in the bottom half of the draw and I think double World Champion Adrian Lewis will fail to impress.
Interestingly 10 of the 32 players have achieved darting perfection this year pinging the perfect nine-dart leg. It’s 5/4 that there is a nine-darter in the tournament if you fancy betting on the spectacular.
- Betting: Darts coupon
- Betting: World Matchplay outright
- Betting: World Matchplay finalists
- Betting: World Matchplay nine darter