The UK Open is the darts equivalent of the FA Cup. 96 professional players who won through six UK Open qualifiers will be joined by 32 Rileys amateur qualifiers with no seedings and only the first two rounds drawn so far. The top 32 players from the UK Open Order of Merit enter at the 3rd round stage, with the players ranked 33-64 coming in at the 2nd round to join the 1st round winners from 65-96 and the 32 amateur qualifiers. The first two rounds are best of 11 legs, with rounds three to five best of 17 legs, before the quarters and semi-finals being contested over 19 legs and the final best of 21 legs.

Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen is in the form of his life. He's won three of the six UK Open qualifiers, making the quarter-finals or further in five of them. He's won the Dutch and UK Masters and last week broke the world record televised average with 123.40 in the Premier League. His price is reflected in this with 13/8 the best available. If he continues to play in this form it's likely he'll be unstoppable, but with the no seeding and the draw unknown, his route won't be protected against the better players with six rounds to negotiate to win the title again.

Phil Taylor is arguably the next best form player on the tour since switching his darts. He won his first PDC ranking event in nine months beating MVG whilst he made a final and a semi in two other UK Open qualifiers, and has posted three wins in a row in the Premier League averaging 109. He also had match darts against van Gerwen in the semi's of the UK Masters. It makes the five-time previous UK Open champion an attractive proposition at 6/1.

The other Premier League players don't offer any standout value. Gary Anderson by his own admission is still rusty following illness and media commitments. After switching to new darts this year, Adrian Lewis won the first UK Open qualifier and made the quarters in the 2nd, but didn't reach that stage in any of the four others and isn't posting figures that threaten to win a title. Peter Wright seems to change his darts as often as his outfit so it's difficult to trust him. Chisnall, Wade, Michael Smith, van Barneveld and particularly Robert Thornton are all struggling form wise at the moment so they're to be avoided.

Off the back of an impressive semi-final run at the Players Championship ended by MVG before Christmas, it took eventual world champion Gary Anderson to knock Daryl Gurney out of Alexandra Palace. He's since followed that up with another impressive run, this time to the final of the Dutch Masters where once again van Gerwen was the victor. His striking tournament moving him into the World's top 32 for the first time, included a 105 average v Peter Wright, 9 180s and a 106.84 average v Adrian Lewis before dropping just one leg in the semi-final defeat of Mensur Suljovic. His performances in the UK Open qualifiers haven't disappointed either, with MVG again, Taylor and Wright all preventing further progress. At 80/1 he deserves an e/w investment with his decent scoring power.

Simon Whitlock has made a notable impression since switching to wearing glasses. He's made the quarter-finals in three of the qualifiers as well as at the Dutch Masters. However, he's only progressed further once before being beaten in the semi's and is the same price as Gurney. After his best year on tour in 2015, Mensur Suljovic is seemingly getting the respect he deserves. Unfortunately for him, this year hasn't been as successful so far with just a semi-final appearance of note in the qualifiers and he only averaged 83.51 in his semi-final defeat at the Dutch Masters.

Mark Webster has played well in the qualifiers, making the quarters or better in three events including beating Peter Wright and Michael Smith, but this has been reflected in his price and not one worthy of backing. Benito van de Pas is another man who's performed well this year, making two UK open semi-finals as well as the quarter-finals of the Dutch Masters but his floor form has yet to properly translate on to televised stages encapsulated by his 4-0 set defeat to Michael Smith at the World Championships.
Phil Taylor - 1pt @ 6/1
Daryl Gurney - 0.5pts e/w @ 80/1