After winning 17 of our last 23 bets (74%) including the last two outrights, the PDC tour continues into Blackpool for the World Matchplay featuring the PDC Order of Merit top 16 players as seeds and 16 Pro Tour qualifiers.
It's a straight knockout tournament with the 1st round best of 19 legs, 2nd round best of 25, quarter-finals best of 31, semi-finals best of 33 and the final best of 35. With the long format, it often sees the best players come to the fore, with 15-time Matchplay champion Phil Taylor having previously dominated the tournament. That was broken last year when he was defeated by 2007 winner and five-time runner-up James Wade in the semi-finals before Michael van Gerwen won here for the first time having been runner-up in 2014.
World number one van Gerwen begins as 6/5 favourite and it's hard to look past him having been drawn in the top half and opposite side to Gary Anderson, Phil Taylor and James Wade as well as away from a difficult looking quarter two. Since Auckland, he's won the inaugural Shanghai Masters averaging over 100 before narrowly losing the Tokyo Masters final 8-6 to Gary Anderson. His likely draw based on the odds reads Jamie Caven - Kyle Anderson - Dave Chisnall - Adrian Lewis - Gary Anderson. If he is to play all of these, his cumulative match odds will be around Evens but given the aforementioned difficulties of quarter two and the other half, the 6/5 could look even bigger value if any upsets happen.
Quarter-two is a minefield and features (in draw order): Peter Wright, Joe Cullen, Ian White, Daryl Gurney, Adrian Lewis, Mark Webster, Kim Huybrechts and Gerwyn Price who are all capable of beating each other on their day. Peter Wright seems to be going through a difficult time at the moment, changing all of his throw, darts and flights and lost at the first stage of all four of the World Series Tours (excluding qualifiers). Quarter-finalist last year, Ian White has picked up two Players Championships this year, including in Barnsley earlier this month. He faces a tough opener against Dutch Masters runner-up Daryl Gurney who is playing consistently well on tour. Adrian Lewis has continued his up-and-down year since the Premier League, losing 10-1 to Chisnall in Dubai before finishing runner-up to Gary Anderson in Auckland. After beating Lewis last year, 2015 quarter-finalist Gerwyn Price has won two Player Championships this year and Kim Huybrechts will have his work cut against him.
Gary Anderson followed up his Auckland victory by winning in Tokyo, meaning he's won three of the four World Series events. However, with the same odds as those victories, he doesn't make any value here with his run likely to contain Taylor and van Gerwen at an event he's never made the final of. Since losing 10-2 to Taylor in Auckland, James Wade has had an excellent World Series beating van Gerwen, Taylor (twice) and Lewis. However, this has still resulted in no titles and making just one final and with his route likely to be van Barneveld - Taylor - Anderson - van Gerwen, his odds aren't attractive enough to warrant a bet in a longer format where his power scoring is susceptible.
Phil Taylor has suffered two narrow defeats to Wade in Japan and China but looks value to overturn those and win his quarter. 1/11 v Robbie Green who is playing here for the first time in twelve years having just managed to qualify as the last of Pro Tour 16, Taylor is likely to be 1/6 v Bunting or Suljovic before around 1/4 v Wade in a potential quarter-final giving us 4/7. That makes the 4/5 excellent value in what will be a contest over 31 legs compared to the 15 in Asia. They've played here six times with The Power leading 5-1 and winning overall by 103 - 72 legs.