PDC World Darts Championship betting tips: 10 contenders for Ally Pally glory
The World Championship will be without a familiar face when it kicks off at Alexandra Palace.
Phil Taylor retired from darts after his defeat to Rob Cross in the final in January, meaning this year will be the first in 25 that he has not played in a PDC World Championship.
Cross completed a dramatic rise from former electrician to world champion in 12 months by stunning Taylor in his first visit to Ally Pally.
After a difficult year, he is fifth favourite to retain his title in the latest World Championship darts betting and features in our guide to 10 of the leading contenders.
ONE DAY TO GO!-- PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) December 12, 2018
We can't wait for more scenes like this... Gary Anderson's stunning nine-darter in 2016 sending Alexandra Palace into meltdown! pic.twitter.com/gLtbeOgTyZ
Michael van Gerwen
World titles: 2
Last five World Championships: SF-W-R3-SF-W
Just saying...-- Michael Van Gerwen (@MvG180) May 17, 2018
The Dutchman has dominated the sport for some time now, winning a plethora of titles, but has not had it all his own way at Alexandra Palace. Although a winner in 2014 and 2017, Van Gerwen has finished runner-up once and lost in the semi-finals twice, including to Cross last year. That shows just how hard the tournament is to win, putting Taylor's 16 triumphs into perspective, yet he will return to the capital again the favourite in the world darts outright betting.
Van Gerwen may have won 19 PDC titles in 2018 but lost his crown as Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals champion, losing to Daryl Gurney in the final in the latter in Minehead recently.
World titles: 2
Last five World Championships: QF-RU-W-W-R3
Like Van Gerwen, Anderson is a two-time winner and has also had his fair share of disappointment. The Scot could quite easily have four titles under his belt after suffering final defeats to Adrian Lewis and Van Gerwen, in 2011 and 2017 respectively.
Anderson, who won the title back-to-back in 2015 and 2016, continues to be one of the best players on the circuit, regularly reaching the latter stages of tournaments. He started this year by winning the UK Open, finishing first in a 128-player field, and also won the World Matchplay for the first time and the Champions League of Darts.
He recently lost to Gerwyn Price in a controversial Grand Slam of Darts final but is sure to be there or thereabouts as his darts odds suggest.
World titles: 0
Last five World Championships: R2-SF-QF-QF-RU
Despite transforming into one of the best players in the world over recent years, Wright has often struggled to make the most of his opportunities in major tournaments. Veteran Terry Jenkins was often the well-known bridesmaid in majors, losing all nine of his final appearances, but Wright has also struggled in showpieces. He has lost eight of nine major finals, which included the 2014 World Championship, eventually winning one when beating Price in last year's UK Open.
Wright suffered a second-round exit in 2017 after an illness hampered his campaign and he will be determined to return with a bang this time around. He has generally struggled this year, losing in the final of the World Grand Prix and Champions League of Darts, but we are not ruling him out in our darts betting tips.
World titles: 0
Last five World Championships: R2-R3-QF-R3-R3
This could be the year Smith wins a major title. He has finally started to show the belief his undoubted potential requires if he is to challenge with the likes of Van Gerwen and Anderson on a regular basis. Smith has shown flashes of brilliance but has often struggled to last the pace in big games. But he finished a 16-game Premier League campaign second in the table before losing the final to Van Gerwen, showing signs that his concentration and confidence is improving.
Smith has yet to progress past the quarter-finals at the worlds, and having missed match darts to knock eventual winner Cross out last year, will be looking to finally make an impact. Could be worth an each-way shout in our darts betting odds.
World titles: 1
Last five World Championships: W
A DARTING DREAM!-- PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) January 1, 2018
An electrician just one year ago 💡
First year as a professional ✅
World Champion 🏆
The Electrician has put the Power out. ⚡️
Congratulations Rob Cross! 👏#LoveTheDarts #WHDarts pic.twitter.com/jUOO0nBTYS
Cross has a 100 per cent record at Alexandra Palace, winning the title in his debut appearance. 'Voltage' was an unknown quantity before the event, having only just found his feet on the circuit, but showed he had what it takes to mix it with the big boys. Not satisfied with knocking favourite Van Gerwen out in the semis, Cross ended Taylor's glittering career in brutal fashion with a 7-2 thrashing.
Cross needed time to acclimatise to an increased workload which included the rigours of the Premier League and has struggled overall this year, reaching the semi-finals of the Premier League and quarter-finals at The Masters, UK Open and European Championship. However, he is still ranked as one of the leading contenders in our darts world championship odds.
World titles: 0
Last five World Championships: R2-QF-R2-R1-R2
I've pulled a cracker pic.twitter.com/k8gStTEcLt-- Daryl Gurney (@Superchin180) November 26, 2018
Daryl Gurney heads to Ally Pally having scooped his second televised title by winning the Players Championship Finals in Minehead. The former World Grand Prix champion came from 9-8 behind to beat Michael van Gerwen 11-9 in the final.
Gurney's best run at the World Championships came in 2017 when he made it to the quarter-finals before bowing out to van Gerwen. He has failed to get past the second round in his other four appearances but is in confident mood and insists he can "beat anybody" but accepted "there's now a bigger bullseye on my back". He is certainly worth an each-way bet in our pdc darts outright betting.
World titles: 0
Last four World Championships: R3-R1-R1-R1
The moment Gerwyn Price became a PDC TV title winner! pic.twitter.com/s98T2KHBWt-- PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) November 19, 2018
The Welshman won his first major televised title when he beat Gary Anderson 16-13 in a controversial Grand Slam of Darts final in Wolverhampton. Price had to come from behind against Simon Whitlock and Mensur Suljovic to make the final, where he also twice trailed by three legs.
'Iceman' has also reached the quarter-finals at The Masters, UK Open, World Grand Prix and European Championship and his brash style has upset a few players on the circuit. He ended a run of three successive first-round exits at Alexandra Palace last year when he made the third round before losing 4-2 to van Gerwen. But he is certainly one to watch in our darts betting tips today.
Raymond van Barneveld
World titles: 5
Last five World Championships: QF-SF-SF-SF-R3
The five-time world champion has announced 2019 will be his final year as a professional darts player. The Dutch legend admitted he does not have the "drive, motivation or fitness to carry on". Since beating Taylor in a classic in 2007, 'Barney' has reached the World Championship final just once and his 2014 Premier League darts triumph was the last major trophy he claimed, although he did win back-to-back World Cup of Darts titles alongside van Gerwen.
While van Barneveld is unlikely to mount a challenge for the crown this year, many of his fans may be tempted for a sentimental bet in our world darts outright betting.
World titles: 2
Last five World Championships: R1-R3-RU-R3-SF
Disappointed to go out last night but happy to reach the semi finals. Bit more recovery time looking forward to getting back to my best pic.twitter.com/9Ir3BJATBk-- Adrian Lewis (@jackpot180) July 30, 2017
Lewis may be a two-time world champion but his career has nosedived over the last couple of years. Injuries and a lack of consistency have taken their toll on the 'Jackpot' and his ranking has suffered as a consequence.
Lewis is no longer seen as one of the best players in the world, like he was when winning back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012, but could we see him return to those heights this year? He will be looking for redemption at Ally Pally following arguably the lowest moment of his career in 2017, losing 3-1 to the unknown Kevin Munch in the first round.
Dimitri van den Bergh
World titles: 0
Last five World Championships: QF-R1-R2
The Belgian enhanced his glowing reputation at Ally Pally last year, beating Stephen Bunting and Mensur Suljovic en route to a narrow last-eight defeat to Cross. A colourful character who dances his way onto the stage, Van den Bergh continued to hit the headlines at the German Darts Masters in May. He made mincemeat of Van Gerwen, beating the world number one 8-3, and held his nerve to see off Anderson in the semis before losing to Suljovic in the final, showing what he is capable of.
He became the first player to retain the World Youth Championship in Minehead recently and also hit a nine-darter at the Grand Slam of Darts. If you fancy a bet on darts, this man could appeal in the each-way market.
[All odds correct at time of publication]