The World Matchplay starts on Saturday in what is sure to be a brilliant, but strange few days of darts from the very best players in the world. This year the action is taking place in the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes rather than the famous Winter Gardens in Blackpool. Moreover, there will, of course, be no crowds at the tournament. This creates a totally different proposition to what players and viewers are usually used to. 

This, evidently, will have a big effect on proceedings. Some players relish the atmosphere, other players struggle with it. This will essentially be the same as playing on the floor, which makes the betting side of things very interesting. 

The cliché of being able to bring your floor game to the big stage doesn’t apply here and that will suit Ian White perfectly. How many times do we hear about him struggling to transform his floor game onto the big stage? Well, he doesn’t have to this time and it will play into his hands. 

He is, without a doubt, one of the very best players in the world. 

His 2020 performances prove this. He tops the averages leaderboard in 2020 with a mesmerising 101.03 average. Michael Van Gerwen and Peter Wright are the only two other players averaging over 100 this year. 

He picked up his 10th Players Championship title of his career earier this year, arguably playing the best he has ever played in the months before lockdown. The Stoke thrower rivals Dave Chisnall and Michael Smith as the best current player to have not won a major. 

'Diamond' played well at the Summer Series last week. Beating Glen Durrant and Krzysztof Ratatajski showed he had blown any cobwebs from the enforced break away and arrives here in good form.

He faces Joe Cullen in the first round, which is no easy draw, but he whitewashed him at this tournament last year which bodes well. 

The world number 11 can throw in the odd bad game but without the usual pressure that the big tournaments bring, he has a fantastic opportunity to go all the way.

His 40/1 price tag looks generous and should be taken given the exceptional circumstances the World Matchplay will be played in and his sensational stats in recent times.

Ian White - 1pt @ 40/1

My other selection for the tournament comes in the quarter winner markets. 

In the third quarter, Jose De Sousa is worth chancing at 12/1. Looking at the names on this side of the draw, is will be no easy feat but he is overpriced based on his performances last week. Wright is the worthy favourite here but he doesn’t offer any value at 6/4.

 

De Sousa produced a 100+ average in 11 games in the Summer Series, the most of any player. 
He managed an incredible 109 average against Adam Hunt before beating Daryl Gurney 7-3 in the semi-final with a 106 average, who is priced up in this quarter at 5/1. 

The Portuguese thrower is very much on the rise and if last week is anything to go by, he can spring a few surprises. He will have to deal with Peter Wright in the first round, but if he does, he will be the player to beat in the third quarter in my eyes. 

Jose De Sousa to win 3rd quarter - 1pt @ 12/1