Welcome back to OpenOdds’ round-up of everything going on in the world of darts. After a couple of fallow weeks between the end of the 2018 season and the beginning of the 2019 campaign, darts is back in a big way. The last week has seen plenty happening – a lot of it controversial, unsurprisingly – so let’s waste no time in diving back in, getting the lowdown on the latest, and finding out where the smart betting money will be with bookmakers as the season gets into full swing.
Van Gerwen Wins Again In One-Sided Masters Final
Aged just 29, Michael van Gerwen could legitimately have decades left at the top of the darts world, and that should spark concern among other players as the Dutchman just won his fifth consecutive Masters title. Having knocked off Jonny Clayton, Dave Chisnall and Mensur Suljovic in previous rounds, the PDC World Champion won easily in the final, defeating James Wade 11-5. In what will be a pretty concerning piece of news for his potential rivals, MvG told reporters he didn’t feel he’d been at his best in the tournament, and indicated there was “plenty left in the tank.”
This is the ideal way for van Gerwen to warm up for the Premier League of Darts, starting in Newcastle this week. He opens his campaign against Michael Smith, and is ½ favourite with Betway to win that match. His vanquished opponent, meanwhile, opens the show with a match against Raymond van Barneveld. Wade is favourite against the former World Number One, with odds of 6/5 unless you can get hold of an Odds Boost in advance of the action.
Speaking Of The Premier League…
One player certainly out of the running for the upcoming league is Gary Anderson. The Englishman, who was receiving treatment for a back injury during the recent PDC Championship, has bowed to the advice of his physio and will be taking some time off to rest and rehab. Although Anderson was keen to participate in the competition, the injury has been impairing his darts and, for as long as he keeps playing, the likelihood of a full recovery slips further and further away.
Anderson’s absence seemed briefly as though it may open a door for Simon Whitlock, ranked ninth in the world and controversially overlooked in favour of van Barneveld when the invites were sent out. However, the PDC has chosen to select nine players – one for each round of the tournament – who will face Anderson’s scheduled opponents. First up, facing Suljovic in Newcastle, will be Chris Dobey. Tournament sponsors Unibet seem to feel Dobey will be cannon-fodder for the Austrian, and most bookies agree according to our Odds Comparison tool, no-one’s giving Suljovic odds of anything better than ⅚ to win this opening-night game.
PDC Q-School: Durrant Makes The Step Up
Three-time (and reigning) BDO champion Glen Durrant will not be defending his title at the end of this year, after a successful run at the PDC Q-School saw him secure a place on the more lucrative tour. Durrant, who signalled his interest in qualifying after the BDO changed their rules to end the policy of sanctioning players that try out for the PDC Tour, was one of 19 players to earn a card. Scott Waites, who lost to Durrant in the BDO final, also tried out and was unsuccessful – thus making him a strong contender to take Durrant’s vacant title next winter.
Also successful in coming through the Q-School was BDO rankings leader Mark McGeeney. While both McGeeney and Durrant will be delighted to make the step up, they may find the competition something of a culture shock. At this early stage, Durrant is 40/1 with Paddy Power to win the higher-end World Championship. He’s got eleven months to show he can do it.
Dobromyslova And Ashton Miss Out On Tour Cards
If Lisa Ashton and Anastasia Dobromyslova want to return to the PDC Championship, they’ll have to go about it the hard way, winning invitations by performing on the BDO tour. Both players are among the short list of female players to have been involved at the Lakeside Tavern in previous years, but their Q-School bids fell short this year. Ashton and Dobromyslova have in the past proven themselves capable of competing on the same stage as the men, so there is little doubt that they’ll pick themselves up to go again as this year continues.
Also looking for a shot at the PDC title will be the finalists from the BDO Women’s Championship; Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki, who became the first Asian player to win one of the two major world championships, and the first non-European to take a BDO title, is in pole position. Meanwhile, England’s Lisa Winstanley – who leads the world rankings but suffered a 3-0 defeat at Suzuki’s hands – will also be looking at the end of 2019 with hopes of getting her title back as well as a run at the PDC event.