2017 World Darts Championship preview
The first round of the 2017 World Darts Championship takes place between 15-22 December, with the top seeds looking to get through unscathed as they meet unseeded opponents who have come through qualifying to get to the big stage.
Michael van Gerwen is the 1.73 favourite to become the world champion and he will face either Ross Snook or Kim Viljanen in the first round at Alexandra Palace. The Dutchman enters the arena on Saturday night and he’s 1.02 to win the opener.
Gary Anderson is a slightly bigger 1.07 to beat practice partner Mark Frost, with Peter Wright, Benito van de Pas, Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis and Dave Chisnall all looking nailed on to take their place in the second round of the tournament.
However, there will be a few seeds exiting the competition before Christmas and Raymond van Barneveld looks vulnerable in his opener against Robbie Green. The man known as Kong is a 4.00 chance with BetVictor and will be feeling confident of causing an upset.
Corey Cadby is another unseeded player with lots of confidence and the young Australian is likely to come through his qualifier and play Joe Cullen for a second round spot. Odds of 2.38 look plenty big enough about a player who beat Phil Taylor Down Under a few weeks ago.
Max Hopp is a 2.62 chance to beat Vincent van der Voort who seems to blow hot and cold with his darts, while James Wilson is not a complete no-hoper when he squares off with Kim Huybrechts, even if the Belgian has enjoyed some notable scalps in the World Championship.
Stephen Bunting will face Darren Webster on Saturday evening and the former is a strong favourite who comes to the World Championship feeling confident despite a hit-and-miss 2016. However, the latter did give MVG a scare recently and is a 2.80 chance to get through this best-of-5 clash.
The opening night sees the seeded Jamie Caven square off with Kevin Painter and we’re happy to be with the former at odds-against, with Jabba expected to be favourite rather than the 2.20 available with bet365.
Ricky Evans also looks pretty handy and merits support at 3.50 (BetVictor ) to beat Michael Smith, with Bully Boy having actually beaten Phil Taylor on this stage although nerves will play a big part in the opening matches.