The World Matchplay (BetVictor World Matchplay) is a darts championship run by the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation). The annual darts tournament has been played since 1994, with all the tournaments being held at Winter Gardens in Blackpool. The World Matchplay is widely regarded as the second major PDC tournament.
The tournament is held in a legs format and has been won by seven players since its creation. The legendary Phil Taylor is the most successful player, having won the World Matchplay a record 16 times. Since Taylor’s sudden retirement before the 2018 World Darts Championship, the trophy was renamed Phil Taylor in his honour.
The prize fund for the tournament is £500,000, with most of it (£115,000) going to the winner. The tournament will be held from July 21-29 at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, England and will be the 25th edition of the World Matchplay.
For this year’s tournament, there have been 16 players seeded from the PDC Order of Merit, with another 16 being seeded from the PDC ProTour qualifiers. If Taylor didn’t resign, he would have been the defending champion, having defeated Peter Wright in the 2017 final. Considering the fact that Phil Taylor, probably the greatest darts player of all time retired, it’s Michael van Gerwen’s time to shine. The Dutch player is the lone major favourite for the title, and with him being ranked #1 on the PDC rankings, it’s a chance most experts think he’ll take.
Can van Gerwen Add a Third Matchplay To His Trophy Collection?
Michael van Gerwen is surely the best player in the sport since Phil Taylor decided to retire. The Dutch player is incredibly talented and the most successful player in the PDC right behind Taylor. He’s also the youngest winner of the PDC World Championship (age 24 in 2014) and has a nice list of accolades and trophies behind his name.
Michael van GerwenUnderstandably, van Gerwen is the main favourite for this year’s Darts World Matchplay. With odds of 5/7 at major bookies (RedZoneSports, Letou, SportPesa, BetEast, MansionBet), it’s clear everyone’s not seeing past Mighty Mike for this year’s title. Without Phil Taylor in the tournament, we’d say that van Gerwen has a clear shot at the title after coming in second last year.
Still, the 5/7 odds are not exactly great for punters. Placing a bet on van Gerwen won’t even double your investment, so he’s not a punter’s favourite. Of course, with the Matchplay featuring 32 players in total, van Gerwen will definitely have his work cut out on the way to the final.
Can Rob Cross Mount a Title Challenge?
The English darts player is the reigning champion of the PDC World Championship after defeating the great Phil Taylor in the 2018 final. He won the tournament on his debut and did so in dominant fashion, destroying Taylor with 7-2. If anyone can challenge van Gerwen at the moment, it is most definitely Rob Cross.
The Englishman’s chances given by bookies and experts are not that great, but many still believe that he can give van Gerwen a run for his money – after all, he did it to Taylor. Cross stands at 7/1 at SportPesa, Letou, MansionBet, BetEast, and RedZoneSports, sharing the same odds with Scottish player Gary Anderson.
Seeing Cross’ odds makes it obvious that he’s not a favourite. However, they are much more enticing than van Gerwen’s odds, and considering the fact that Cross is the reigning PDC World Darts Champion, we might be in for a surprise. Plus, let’s not forget that he also defeated van Gerwen on his way to the PDC World Championship title, surviving six match darts! He’s also the only player to survive match darts in two rounds of a major who later won the title.
Anderson’s and Wright’s Chances
Michael van Gerwen is the obvious favourite for this year’s Darts Matchplay, with no other player being given great chances to succeed. Rob Cross is sitting on the second spot at bookies, with Gary Anderson and Peter Wright being the closest challengers. Anderson is a 2-time World Championship winner but has yet to win the Matchplay, having reached the semi-final on 2 occasions (2014 and 2016).
On the other hand, Peter Wright (Anderson’s teammate from Scotland) won the UK Open in 2017 and has been a runner-up in many majors throughout his career. He’s definitely a quality player who can challenge van Gerwen, so he shouldn’t be disregarded for this year’s Matchplay.
Gary Anderson shares Rob Cross’ odds – he stands at 7/1 at SportPesa, BetEast, MansionBet, RedZoneSports, and Letou. This means that bookies can’t separate Cross and Anderson, giving them both equal chances of winning the tournament.
The 2018 Melbourne Darts Masters finalist Peter Wright is down a notch – he’s being given odds of 8/1 at MansionBet, BetEast, RedZoneSports, SportPesa, and Letou. Although both players are clearly not favourites, bookies feel like they could mount a challenge against van Gerwen. If you decide to place a bet on their enticing odds and they win, they will bring you a nice amount of money in return.
Any Other Challengers?
Outside of the trio of closest challengers to van Gerwen (Cross, Anderson, and Wright), there’s really no other player who bookies believe can win the 2018 World Matchplay.
Mensur Suljovic comes after Wright on the list, with odds of 28/1 at SportPesa, MansionBet, BetEast, RedZoneSports, and Letou. Enticing odds for punters, but disappointing for the 2017 Champions League of Darts winner, who’s considered an outsider.
Things are even worse for the others. For example, Daryl Gurney, the 2017 World Grand Prix winner is being given odds of 33/1, while former World Matchplay champion James Wade has odds of 33/1 (SportPesa, RedZoneSports, BetEast, MansionBet, Letou).
With Phil Taylor no longer in the sport, Michael van Gerwen will undoubtedly take his throne, and may even break his slew of records. The Dutch player has undeniable talent and is the best player in darts by miles. However, with such unappealing odds for this year’s World Matchplay, it’s better to stick to the alternatives. After all, van Gerwen can’t win every tournament, and maybe this year’s Matchplay will be the one he misses. His loss might end up being your gain.