How MVG has usurped Taylor for the top spot in darts

How MVG has usurped Taylor for the top spot in darts

MVG is the hot favourite for the World Championships this year, taking the mantle away from Taylor.

With the World Championships getting underway on Thursday, Michael van Gerwen is the big favourite with bookmakers at 3/4. Those odds are similar to how Taylor was priced for the biggest tournament of the year in his heyday. Between 2009 and 2011, Taylor was never priced above evens, with 4/6 his biggest pre-tournament odds in that period.

Much like Taylor in his pomp, it is difficult to see anyone beating MVG to the title on 2nd January 2017. Back when Taylor was ruling the roost, MVG was an outsider for the title and here we take a look at how the two big players have switched positions over the years.

2008 was MVG's first year competing in the PDC Championships, as opposed to the BDO and he went into that torunament as a 66/1 shot. Taylor, on the other hand, was looking for his twelth title and was the 15/8 favourite.

Taylor and MVG actually played each other in the first round of that competition, with Taylor coming out on top, sending the Dutchman home. It wasn't to be Taylor's year though, losing to Wayne Mardle in the quarters and it was the first time Taylor didn't make the final in PDC World Championship history.

The next four years continued in much the same vein, with Taylor going into the torunament every year as favourite, picking up two more world titles. MVG, out of form and facing some barren years, remained on the peripheral and even went into the 2011 tournament as a 250/1 long-shot.

MVG Taylor
2016 5/4 5/1
2015 11/4 2/1
2014 4/1 20/21
2013 5/1 9/4
2012 200/1 1/1
2011 250/1 4/6
2010 200/1 2/5
2009 150/1 4/7
2008 66/1 15/8

Things started to change in 2013 though, with MVG picking up more and more titles on the circuit, beating Taylor on a relatively regular basis. Taylor himself was facing challenges from Adrian Lewis, Raymond van Barneveld and Gary Anderson, as well as van Gerwen. Taylor went into that torunament as a 9/4 favourite with MVG looking to win his first title at 5/1.

Taylor won that tournament but faced MVG in the final, which turned out to be an epic contest. By the time the 2014 tournament came around MVG was just behind Taylor as the man to beat and started the tournament at odds of 4/1, with Taylor again favourite at 20/21.

Taylor lost in the second round to Michael Smith, while MVG went on to win his first World Championship, beating Peter Wright in the final. That marked a watershed moment in the rivalry and van Gerwen had now created a 'big two' at the top of darts.

The 2015 tournament saw Taylor and van Gerwen go in neck and neck, with bookies not knowing who to price as the clear favourite. Taylor's loss to Barnie in the semis confirmed his decline though, with Gary Anderson winning the tournament.

2016 saw Taylor's odds at their highest since pre-2008 at 5/1 and he was forced to take a back seat to MVG and Anderson throughout that season. Anderson won that tournament, his second in a row, with his own rivalry with van Gerwen intensifying.

This year Anderson is the second favourite at 13/2 after a mixed season, with van Gerwen the hot favourite. Taylor starts the tournament at 11/1 but it would be dangerous to rule 'The Power' out of producing something special on darts' biggest stage.