This is the 2nd year of the Auckland Darts Masters which features the eight PDC players who played in the Dubai Darts Masters as seeds and eight regional qualifiers. The format is a straight knockout tournament with the first round best of 11 legs, quarter-finals best of 19 legs and both the semi-final and final best of 21 legs. Adrian Lewis is the defending champion having beaten Raymond van Barneveld 11-10 in the final last year.

Michael van Gerwen is 6/5 favourite but his form over the last few weeks since winning the Premier League hasn't been great. He was cruising at 8-4 up v Gary Anderson in the final in Dubai but a collapse in losing 7 of the next 8 legs - something unheard of for MVG over the last few years - meant he lost 11-9. He finished with a checkout rate of just 29% (9 of 31), way down on his Premier League average of 49%. In the World Cup he again made the final with Raymond van Barneveld but in the deciding singles match he hit just one double out of 15 (6.67%), averaging only 85.25, costing his country the title. At the Austrian Darts Open last weekend he sailed into the quarter-finals with wins of 6-0 over Jonny Clayton and 6-1 over Steve Beaton before surprisingly losing 6-4 to Kyle Anderson as a 1/12 favourite. He's been drawn in the tougher half with Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis and James Wade and if the draw plays out the way the market sees it, he'll face Wade, Taylor then Anderson, all of whom he's lost his last meetings in the last month against, and cumulatively his odds will be around 11/10 making his outright price about right.

Continuing with this side of the draw, the next favourite is Phil Taylor at 9/2. Semi-finalist in Dubai, he and Adrian Lewis rode their luck somewhat in winning the World Cup before Taylor won the Austrian Open last weekend - although he was never bigger than 2/7 to win any of his matches. His draw reads a daunting reigning champion Lewis, MVG then Anderson.

Van Gerwen is a stumbling block despite the above and winning his World Cup singles 4-3, with The Power having won just two of their 14 meetings since 2015 and none over a format longer than best of 11 legs. He's likely to be around 13/5 to win this potential match, and with Lewis and a finalist to beat as well, his odds will be much bigger than 9/2. There's question marks over Adrian Lewis and James Wade too, with Lewis losing 10-1 to Dave Chisnall and Wade 10-2 to Taylor in Dubai. It would be a big ask to potentially beat the best three players in the World back-to-back and the each-way terms aren't attractive enough at the prices.

So it makes sense to concentrate on the other half of the draw for value. World Champion Gary Anderson leads the way at 9/2 and looks a much better alternative at the same price as Taylor. The Dubai Darts Masters winner is number one seed, and his draw is most likely Peter Wright, Dave Chisnall then the winner of the bottom half. Wright did not compete in the World Cup for personal reasons but in Austria he averaged just 85.72 in his defeat to Terry Jenkins and the motivation for Anderson may be high following accusations from Wright's wife.

Chisnall's form has improved since the Premier League but The Flying Scotsman has won 12 of their 15 meetings including the last six. With the bottom-half loaded with quality Anderson could then find himself a surprise finalist. Raymond van Barneveld is the other seed in the top half but he faces the toughest qualifier in Cody Harris and in nine matches against the big three this year he has won just once v Taylor.

Back Anderson to follow up his success in Dubai in the next event of the World Series.

Gary Anderson - 1pt @ 9/2