Christmas comes early for darts betting fans, who get to watch the William Hill World Darts Championship Final from 17 December. Reigning champion Gary Anderson will lead off on the opening night, eager to defend his crown from the likes of Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor. This thrilling tournament will attract viewers from all over the world and is going to be one of the best sporting events of the festive season and into the New Year.
At this stage, Gary Anderson is entering the tournament as the number two seed. Currently, the 44-year-old Scot is unaware of exactly who he will compete against. This is because Anderson is awaiting the outcome of a preliminary round match scheduled between Andy Boulton and Per Laursen. The winner will have the pleasure of taking on Anderson the very same night.
Anderson is facing an immense challenge to be just the fourth player in history to win the PDC World Championship more than once. Phil “the Power” Taylor has won the tournament an astonishing 14 times since it launched in 1994. John Part and Adrian Lewis are the only other players to win multiple PDC World Championships, with two apiece.
Fortunately for Anderson, the 55-year-old Taylor is not as frighteningly dominant as when he won eight titles in a row from 1995 until 2002. Nevertheless, the Stoke native is still a tremendous player and could be an immense obstacle in Anderson’s title defence. However, Michael van Gerwen represents a greater concern.
van Gerwen defeated Taylor 16-13 in November’s Grand Slam of Darts to solidify his status as the pre-tournament favourite for the 2015 World Darts Championship Final sponsored by the familiar gambling brand, William Hill. At present, William Hill Sports has the 26-year-old Dutchman as the 6/5 favourite ahead of Taylor, who is currently available at 4/1. The gulf in odds is significant for a player who, like Anderson at 6/1, is yet to win two of these tournaments, but he is favoured for a reason.
In 2015, van Gerwen has lived up to his billing as world number one. Recently, the Dutchman has been fantastic in winning four-straight major titles leading into this tournament. A slight concern, however, is van Gerwen’s planned break ahead of 17 December. Darts analyst Wayne Mardle echoes the concern, believing that van Gerwen could struggle to maintain his promising form.
For a man with Taylor’s esteemed record, 2015 has been a relatively quiet year for the trophy cabinet. Thus far, Taylor has only managed to win one major tournament in the shape of the PDC World Cup of Darts, which was a team crown. Taylor and his teammates managed to lead England to a 3-2 victory over rivals Scotland.
Considering Taylor’s tough loss to van Gerwen in November, it's understandable to see him with longer odds. The former champion has owned this tournament in recent years, which will make him a danger every year until he retires, but there is a younger generation of extremely talented players ready to lead the sport forward.
Elsewhere in the odds, there's a drop-off for Adrian Lewis at 16/1, Peter Wright at 20/1 and James Wade at 25/1. Meanwhile, 2007 champion Raymond van Barneveld is a distant outsider at 40/1. “Barney” is not as prolific as he used to be, but the 48-year-old Dutchman was runner-up at the Masters and managed to win the Hong Kong Masters in 2015.
A better prospect could be Lewis, a two-time winner of this tournament. The 30-year-old has performed well in helping Scotland beat England to win 2015’s PDC World Cup of Darts. However, Lewis will face an immense psychological challenge if he encounters van Gerwen, the man who beat him in the Players Championship Finals in November. Lewis has the talent and experience, but needs to be mentally tougher.
Michael van Gerwen is the man to beat at the 2015 William Hill World Darts Championship Final. Check out William Hill Sports now for all of the current odds.