Darts Betting: World Matchplay Preview


The Open Championship isn’t the only major sporting event in Blackpool this weekend, as the World Matchplay Darts also gets underway at the Winter Gardens.

If we were to look at the trends of past World Matchplays in an attempt to pick out the winner of this year’s tournament then there would be only one conclusion: to back Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor.

As with most PDC tournaments, the roll of honour is littered with Taylor's name. The world number one has won 12 of the 18 Matchplays contested since its inauguration in 1994, and will this week bid to win a fifth consecutive Matchplay crown for the second time. Going off historical data alone, the 2.50 on The Power retaining this title looks to be outstanding value.

A look at the draw and Taylor’s recent form only serves to strengthen that argument. Yes he could have been handed a much easier opening round draw than an improving Mervyn King, but the knowledge that he is up against a worthy opponent - and one-time vehement enemy - may just work in The Power’s favour and focus his attentions from the off. Should he beat The King then I’d expect him to breeze into the semis where he could meet his sternest test against Gary Anderson, Wes Newton or Dave Chisnall.

Taylor also comes into the tournament in fine fettle having bounced back from a shock UK Open final defeat with victory at the European Tour event in Berlin last month. With just two losses since winning the World Cup with Adrian Lewis, The Power is very much on top of his game.

Although Taylor is a worthy favourite and certainly not under-priced, there is an argument to say that he is too short to consider backing in what is, after all, a 32-man field. If you’re of that mind-set then you may want to consider a punt on either James Wade or Terry Jenkins.

The first positive for both of these players is that they are in the opposite half of the draw to The Power. The second, and perhaps more important, is that each enjoys playing at the Winter Gardens. Wade has won one Matchplay and contended in a total of four finals, while Jenkins is a two-time finalist in Blackpool.

Wade would be considered a strong favourite to win his quarter with the often-flaky Simon Whitlock the next highest seed in his quadrant. Richie Burnett is a tricky first round opponent for The Machine but Mark Walsh or Colin Osborne await in the second round and neither would be expected to pose too many difficult questions for a player widely considered one of the most talented in the game.

Jenkins’ route to glory is considerably more treacherous but The Bull is coming back to form, as was shown by his run to the quarter-finals of the UK Open where he lost to Taylor. He begins with a first round match against the exciting Kim Huybrechts and could then be required to beat Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis just to set-up a potential semi-final with James Wade. But the difficulty of this run is more than reflected in his 50.00 price tag.

A final mention goes to James Hubbard, who is making his debut at the World Matchplay this week. The youngster, who will celebrate his 20th birthday when he plays Wes Newton on Tuesday, has the skill and mental aptitude to become a multiple major winner. He’s a rank outsider to win this year’s Matchplay at 150.00, and with good reason, but just keep an eye on this youngster over the next few years. He looks like he could be the real deal.

Suggested Bets:
Phil Taylor @ 2.50
James Wade @ 10.00
Terry Jenkins @ 50.00