The Champions League of Darts is an annual competition established in 2016 in which the best eight darts world players test their skills against each other on the way to the final. The tournament is organized by the PDC and follows a group stage and knockout round format. It’s drawing a lot of attention from darts fans and is the first PDC tournament televised by TV giants such as BBC.
In 2016, the Professional Darts Corporation announced their plans for an immediate Champions League of Darts featuring the top 8 players at the moment of the tournament. That same year in September, the first tournament was held at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. The legendary Phil Taylor was the inaugural champion, defeating current world No.1 Michael van Gerwen by 11-5 in a thrilling final.
Last year, Michael van Gerwen didn’t make it to the final like fans and bookies predicted. Instead, Gary Anderson and Mensur Suljovic fought for the title, with the Austrian lifting the trophy. The Champions League of Darts has a prize fund of £250,000 with a winner’s share of £100,000. It is currently sponsored by Irish betting giant Paddy Power. The tournament is growing in popularity each year thanks to the broadcasting deal with BBC.
This year’s Champions League of Darts is sure to be pretty exciting. Suljovic is the defending champion and had a guaranteed place in the tournament. His chances of repeating the 2017 success will be put to the test by Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright, Rob Cross, Gary Anderson, Daryl Gurney, Simon Whitlock, and Dave Chisnall.
The tournament will take place on 22-23 September 2018 and feature mouth-watering matches from the first round all the way to the final. van Gerwen is both the bookie and fan favourite, but he’ll need to be at his best to defeat his challengers. The world No. 1 didn’t manage to even qualify for the semi-finals last year and he’ll surely want to improve on that result in 2018.
Can van Gerwen Win His First Champions League Trophy?
After Phil Taylor’s retirement, everyone knew that Michael van Gerwen will reign supreme in the world of darts. The Dutchman is without a doubt the best darts player at the moment and he’ll surely be one of the legends of the sport when he retires. He may even surpass Taylor’s records, although it’s far too early to talk about it.
This year, van Gerwen is the absolute favourite for the Champions League trophy and it’s reflected in his odds. He’s the outright winner favourite at all major bookies including Fun88, Letou, RedZoneSports, SportNation, and Mansion Bet with odds of 4/5. The Dutch ace is spearheading the list of favourites where Gary Anderson is second (15/4) and Rob Cross os third favourite (6/1).
Van Gerwen’s odds are not that bad for a heavy favourite – for every 5 pounds you wager, you’ll get 4 in return. If you ask us, that’s reasonable and can bring you a nice amount of cash in return for a bigger bet. However, you shouldn’t rush your hand – keep in mind that van Gerwen failed in the group stages last year. This leaves the door open for some of the other players who will no doubt be looking to rain on his parade.
Michael van Gerwen is also the favourite to win Group A, again leading Anderson with odds of 10/31 vs. 2/1. These odds are lower than his odds for the trophy, so they’re probably not worth wagering on.
Can Mensur Suljovic Repeat?
Mensur Suljovic’s win last year surprised many. Besides winning his group without a loss, he went on to defeat Gary Anderson in the final, who previously dispatched the great Phil Taylor. It was Suljovic’s first major title in darts, after previously winning numerous smaller tournaments.
The Serbian-born Austrian was always among the top 7-8 players in the world, but he didn’t have any success in premier events until the 2017 Champions League of Darts. His win showed the world that he’s a player who shouldn’t be dismissed easily. This year, Suljovic is a punter’s favourite since he’s not among the top 3 trophy picks and his odds are quite higher than van Gerwen’s for example.
Mensur Suljovic is being given odds of 12/1 at Mansion Bet, Fun88, Letou, SportNation, and RedZoneSports. As we already said, he’s not the bookie’s top pick for the tournament, but no one expected him to win last year and he still did it. His odds this year are huge – if you want to play with a bit of a risk, he’s a perfect choice. If Suljovic wins back to back titles, you’ll be looking at quite a payout.
Suljovic is not the favourite to win his group as well. With odds of 7/2 at the same bookies, he’s trailing behind Peter Wright (2/1) and Rob Cross (6/4). Again, this makes him a pretty enticing option for punters.
Is Anderson the Biggest Threat to van Gerwen?
The Flying Scotsman will undoubtedly go down as one of the best players in the history of the sport. An 11-time major winner and runner-up on numerous occasions, Gary Anderson is a skilled darts player that can defeat anyone he plays against. This is reflected in his 2018 Champions League odds – bookies have him as second to none on the list with odds of 15/4 (Fun88, Letou, SportNation, RedZoneSports, Mansion Bet).
Gary Anderson certainly has the quality to win the title. He was unlucky to win the trophy last year, but this time, he’ll be looking to turn things around. Anderson’s odds are quite interesting for punters as well. With van Gerwen being such a heavy favourite, Gary Anderson is considered an underdog. With a bit of luck, however, he can win the title and bring you a load of money for a reasonable bet.
Just behind Anderson sits Rob Cross with odds of 6/1 (Mansion Bet, Letou, Fun88, RedZoneSports, SportNation). Although not many would agree that Cross can win the title, he’s still a fearsome opponent. Cross won the World Championship on his debut this year and that must count for something. Additionally, he is the main favourite to win Group B. With odds of 6/4 at all bookies, he’s in front of Peter Wright, Mensur Suljovic, and outsider Simon Whitlock.
Can the Outsiders Cause a Surprise?
Dave Chisnall, Daryl Gurney, and Simon Whitlock are the outsiders for this year’s Champions League of Darts with odds of 31/1, 39/1, and 64/1 respectively (Fun88, RedZoneSports, Letou, SportNation, Mansion Bet). Bookies and experts both consider the trio of players least likely to win the tournament, but can we really write anyone off?
Darts is a game where surprises do happen, especially now that Phil Taylor has retired. Suljovic won last year’s tournament and was one of the outsiders, so who says that Chisnall, Gurney, or Whitlock can’t have a tournament to remember? Place a small wager on them and you might end up winning thousands.