By Dave South aka @LockUpTipster
The 2023 PDC World Championships returns on 15th December, where defending champion Peter Wright looks to defend his crown, with the likes of Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith and Gerwyn Price main threats.
With three ladies competing, and the greatest of them all endorsing a debutant, the PDC World Championship is truly Merry Dartmas!
The Favourite: Michael van Gerwen
Wright’s form could be questionable for good reason heading in with family issues away from the sport. However, despite the yo-yo in 2022 between Price and Wright for world number one, it has Mighty Mike knocking on the door since winning the matchplay in July.
At 13/5, MvG has shortened in the last few weeks and for good reason. The former three-time winner, who last lifted the title in 2019, is poised having pocketed both the World Grand Prix and Players Championship majors in the last two months.
The emotion on Michael’s face in Minehead said it all. Michael has a new purpose to win and will go deep. Mighty Mike has the gears, and showed us over the last few events he wants his elite spot back at the top of the rankings with success knocking on the door for the green machine to take.
The vulnerabilities are there with doubling, however Mighty Mike is there for the marathon, not the sprint, and do not let you be put off the 10/11 on offer to reach the semi-finals, or take up an each-way position on any bets placed baring in mind the half odds on appearing in the final.
The Dark Horse: Josh Rock to win quarter three
The eagerly-anticipated debutant Josh Rock has caught the attention of many commentaries and pundits over the year, including us.
The 2022 World Youth Champion, who dominated his final at Minehead a few weeks ago has not failed to impress.
The Northern Irisihman, who at just 21 years of age has won a pro tour event in 2022 and hit a nine-dart finish at the grand slam in a narrow defeat to MVG.
Having caught the eye of Phil Taylor in recent interviews, the Power told Online Darts TV: “I see a lot of me in Josh Rock. I think he’s talented. Whatever the secret is, I think he’s got it.”
Rock is certainly one to keep an eye on. He can master a maximum out of nowhere and will be fearless heading into the event.
At 9/2, he has substance for that price to shorten further if Rock can go one further and be “Rock Solid”.
Player To Win 1st Quarter: Gerwyn Price
Top seed for the event, Gerwyn Price has his 2021 money to defend in this event, so running deep in this event is necessary to mitigate his ranking position post-event.
Iceman will not have it plain sailing with seeded potential meetings with Raymond van Barneveld, Ryan Searle and either James Wade/Danny Noppert in the quarter final if seedings go the distance. The Iceman will know his section of the draw will be a tough one and will seek revenge on defeat to Barney at the Grand Slam.
Price may rely on partisan support, although will likely face adverse booing. Gerwyn will need to dig deep at times, but his resilience and stamina will be tested yet again knowing an early exit is not on the menu.
Most 180s: Michael Smith
Michael Smith finally won a major, back at the Grand Slam, getting over the hurdle of numerous final heartbreaks.
Michael enjoys this stage, having been a finalist being pipped 7-5 to Peter Wright last year. This market is based on a player’s expected longevity in the event, so it is not an easy one to chalk up.
Smith smashed the individual 180 record, set by Gary Anderson in 2017 at 71 by adding a further dozen to the tally to make 83. Smith in general has set other maximum records, having landed 641 leading into the first 10 months in this calendar year echoes the 7/2 as garnering some mileage and a worthy runner.
If you like this market, Smith to hit 33 or more with Skybet at 5/6 will come across as banker material if any repetition to 2022’s World Championship feat.
9-dart finish: No
The pricing for this market has leaned more so into odds-on territory in the last four years or so for one to happen than not to happen and for good reason. In 2022, we saw three finishes land, in 2021 just the one, but then nothing since the 2016 event.
The 4/7 is justified in the respect that ability is ever increasing, the expanded field, the further opportunity. However that magic still needs to spark and as in previous years, where I have backed NO, still remains in front over the years at 11/8 and should present some mileage for any punters backing this outcome.
Over 885.50 180s
With Coral and Ladbrokes setting the bar a little higher at 895, you can see how tricky this can be to amount.
With at least Dave Chisnall and Michael Smith’s 2022 average per leg of 0.35 you would want to see all the top stars being merciless around the treble lipstick.
With player emphasis practicing in this area and the suggestion the treble 20 is marginally wider than historic older dart boards.
When the expanded field was introduced in the 2019 championships, pundits were suggesting it would be a matter of time before the 1000 barrier was broken.
That total is still a way off, but seeing the 900 barrier broken is a credible threat at the grandest stage of them all.
All odds are subject to change