The Grand Slam of Darts kicks off this weekend and Gerwyn Price is looking to defend his title he won last year in such controversial fashion.

32 contenders will take to the stage, including eight BDO representatives. The players are split into eight groups of four that are played in a round robin format. The top two from each group qualify and progress into the knockout stages.

Runner-up Gary Anderson lines up again looking to win what he says is his favourite title for the first time. All the other big names are there and the likes of Rob Cross and Peter Wright will be quietly confident they can mount a strong challenge. Due to the nature of the qualifying format there are some weaker players among the 32 that you wouldn’t expect to see at other majors with this sized field. This means less of a chance for shock upsets in the group stages and I expect the vast majority of the big names to get through to the knockout stages unscathed.

Michael Van Gerwen is rightly installed the 11/10 favourite and will be looking to get his hands back on the trophy he had won three times in a row before the 2018 renewal. As always it would be ridiculous to rule out the best player on the planet but at the odds I cannot have a bet on him. He should ease through the group but he does face Ross Smith again who beat him recently in the European Championship.

Rather, I think Gerwyn Price at 12/1 is a decent bet. The Iceman is playing some unbelievable darts as of late and on current form is probably the second best player in the world. Given he won this last year he will arrive here full of confidence believing he can hold onto the trophy. His scoring power is hard to live with when he is on form and his doubling seems to get better at every tournament. My slight worry would be the booing he will inevitably receive from the crowd. He has been vocal about it recently and whilst he sometimes thrives of it, he seems to be being affected by it slightly more in the last few tournaments. If can ignore the crowd, or if they are kind to him then he has every chance of going all the way.

My second outright bet is Daryl Gurney at 25/1. The Northern Irishman is one of the best in the business and I think that price tag is too big. The world number six will have been disappointed to lose to Rob Cross in the European Championship in a game where neither man was at their best. However, he played well before that and you can never rule Superchin out of any major. He brings his best game to the biggest events and the fact his floor game has been improving this year is a positive sign. His group is not the strongest and you would expect him to win it.

This leads me to my third bet. I think Daryl Gurney to win Group G at 11/10 is a great price. Gabriel Clemens and Gurney's fellow countryman and World Cup teammate Brendan Dolan are good players but they aren’t in Gurney’s league and he should top the group with minimal fuss.

Gerwyn Price - Outright Winner - 1pt @ 12/1
Daryl Gurney - Outright Winner - 1pt @ 25/1
Group G winner - 1pt @ 11/10