Bookies.com highlight the key players, favourites and outsiders for the 2015 World Matchplay Darts tournament in Blackpool
Darts’ World Matchplay returns to Blackpool for the 22nd annual edition of the popular event, held at the famous Winter Gardens, which has previously been the scene of some extraordinary clashes.
The darts world has been rocked by several shocks at recent tournaments including the 2015 World Cup of Darts and Japan Darts Masters, in what has so far been a sensational summer for the sport. So what can punters expect from this showpiece, which runs from July 18-26, and boasts the world’s finest players?
Think World Matchplay and current champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor immediately springs to mind. The Englishman is truly excellent value at 10/3 with either 888.com or Coral to retain what is known as his specialist tournament.
Stoke-born Taylor has the chance to defend his title on the back of a brilliant few months for the all-time great, so will be in bullish form. The darting superstar has incredibly lifted the World Matchplay trophy a record 15 times, and has never been a runner-up.
Having stormed to a World Cup of Darts victory for England alongside Adrian Lewis (16/1 with Betfred to win), The Power also recently won an enthralling Japan Darts Masters final against Peter Wright, proving his superior composure, if it was ever doubted, in a dramatic final leg decider.
Taylor has lost just six matches in this tournament before and also boasts the highest ever average of 111.23 while, crucially, he also hit the first ever nine-dart finish in the tournament and repeated this feat in the 2014 instalment.
Looking to steal The Power’s thunder is favourite and world number one Michael van Gerwen, and the irrepressible Dutchman is priced at a tasty 2/1 by Sky Bet to avenge his Japan Darts Masters disappointment by clinching this crown after being a finalist in 2014.
Superb Scot and Premier League champion Gary Anderson is a 11/4 shout to take this trophy home for the first time, while compatriot Wright could also be a serious contender. BetVictor have sensational Snakebite priced as a relative outsider at 33/1 for victory but, after coming agonizingly close to winners medals at both the World Cup and Japan Masters, he is due a big tournament triumph.
Another underdog is James Wade, who is a best market 28/1 with Coral to be crowned World Matchplay champion after making two of the last four finals, and is also one of just six players to have won this Winter Gardens competition previously.
Betting tip: Phil Taylor to win @ 10/3 with Coral