AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

ALEX WHEELER: World Matchplay Darts

There’s no doubt that Blackpool will be absolutely heaving this weekend. However, it won’t be down to the weather, it’ll be down to everybody’s favorite second sport….darts! There’s just that something special you can’t quite put your finger on when watching the fuller athlete strutting their stuff. It maybe inspires the inner darts player within!

Looking at the betting and previous winners of this tournament, you really can’t look past one man. Phil Taylor is a wapping 11/4 to retain his title and add to his overall total of 13 victories! At that price and with his previous record you just have to back him. A couple of years ago “The Power” would have been even money to win this tournament. His powers haven’t diminished; it’s just that the others and namely one Michael Van Gerwen have finally raised their game to a level now competitive with the great one. Make no mistake, this is the Taylor’s arena and he’ll always raise his game for the Matchplay. This coupled with the fact that the main dangers for me lie in the other half of the draw.

Of the rest it’s the usual suspects. Van Gerwen is supposedly the heir apparent to Taylor and has really raised his game in the last 12 months. However, I just can’t back him at the same price as Taylor when he doesn’t have the same pedigree as Taylor. He’s good, but he has the tougher side of the draw. For me, the real danger to Taylor is Adrian Lewis. His performances after the first round on the way to winning the recent European championship were simply stunning. Everyone knows what he can do and he seems to have found that recent spark that’s been missing. He’s definitely worth a punt at 8/1.

Other players id recommend if you want to look away from Taylor and Lewis are James Wade at 16/1 and Jamie Caven at 50s. Wadey is in the top half and is a former winner and 4 times a runner-up(all to Taylor) so really throws his best in Blackpool. Caven is a player who has phenomenal scoring power and his capable of really streaky hot patches. If he can get an early break in his matches he’ll be hard to peg back if on form.

So there you have it. The blueprint to darts riches. No doubt my colleague and fellow arrersmith Glenn Day will disagree. One things for sure though, you won’t get a more exciting week of tele! Enjoy.