As the World Cup of Darts gets underway on Thursday night, Form Labs assess where the value lies.
Number three seeds Netherlands begin as 13-8 favourites with their team made up of Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld. Jelle Klaasen was due to partner van Gerwen as the next highest ranked Dutchman of the Order of Merit, but he's withdrawn for personal reasons. Their record as a pair is semi-winners-2nd round and being in the same half as the number two seeds Scotland as well as missing one of their better players, they're to be avoided at the odds.
Number one seeds England are 2nd favourites made up of the successful partnership of Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis. As a pair they have won three World Cups and finished as runners-up in the other. They're in the top half, the opposite of Netherlands and Scotland, and have the edge over the seeded teams in their section. Potential quarter-final opponents are the Austrian pair Mensur Suljovic and Rowby-John Rodriguez (8th seeds) who Taylor and Lewis lead 13-2 combined head-to-head. Likely semi-finalists are 4th seeds Northern Ireland or 5th seeds Wales. Northern Ireland's team is Brendan Dolan, who's under performed over the last year, and the improving Daryl Gurney, with Wales featuring Mark Webster and Gerwyn Price who's won two Players Championships this year. England lead the head-to-head 31-6 and 36-12 respectively, making the 9-4 outright look attractive with them just 8-13 to make the final.
The final team of the 'big three' are 3rd favourites Scotland made up of Gary Anderson and Robert Thornton. Like the Netherlands, Scotland are playing with a lesser player with number two on the ProTour Order of Merit Peter Wright also withdrawing for personal reasons. This is significant, with Robert Thornton having had an awful six months, regularly losing in early stages of tournaments and suffering 12 defeats out of 16 in the Premier League. They have twice competed in the World Cup together, going out early in rounds two and three.
With it likely the winner coming from one of these three given only England and the Netherlands have won the tournament and the next team in the betting are Wales at 28/1, using the players Premier League wins to compare between the teams looks a good barometer. Holland won 16 of their 32 matches (50%), England won 20 of 32 (63%) and Scotland just 10 of 32 (31%).
Given England are in the opposite half to the under-strength Netherlands and Scotland, and have won it three of the four occasions Taylor and Lewis have been a pair, they look the best bet to win the World Cup again.