While no one can dismiss the claims of the phenomenal Michael van Gerwen, the odds of Gerwyn Price to win the 2020 PDC World Darts Championship appeal to Dan Fitch...
"Price won the Grand Slam of Darts, beating Van Gerwen for the first time in the semi-final."
The 2020 PDC World Darts Championship begins on Friday at the Alexandra Palace. A prize of £500,000 awaits the winner, who will be crowned at the final on New Year's Day.
With a couple of days until the action starts, here are my ante-post tips from the four quarters of the draw.
No one to stop Van Gerwen reaching semis
Michael van Gerwen won the 2019 World Darts Championship and it's no surprise to see that he's the favourite to retain his title at 2.3211/8.
Whether that price offers value is a different matter. There is no one in his section of the draw that should be able to stop him reaching the semi-finals, with either James Wade or Ian White likely to be waiting at the quarter-finals.
Van Gerwen has won the World Championship on three occasions, but he has never retained it. The odds of 1.412/5 for him to be the 1st quarter winner is a very short price, yet could still be a better bet at this stage than for Van Gerwen to win it again, as is the 1.738/11 for him to simply reach the final.
Smith favourite, but Anderson has easier run
Last year's beaten finalist Michael Smith is the favourite at 3.814/5 to emerge as the 2nd quarter winner and provide opposition for Van Gerwen in the semi-final.
Smith has been given a tough draw though. He could face the 2017 and 2018 World Youth Championship winner Dimitri van den Bergh in the third round and two-time World Championship winner Adrian Lewis in the fourth round. Should Smith come through those challenges, another two-time World Championship winner is likely to await in the quarters.
It's been far from a vintage year for Gary Anderson, but he reached the quarter-final stage of the recent Grand Slam of Darts and has a nice draw here. Anderson could have a relatively relaxed passage to the last eight and is 4.67/2 to win the 2nd quarter.
Cross to win quarter, yet 2018 repeat looks unlikely
The 3rd quarter looks to be set for a collision course between the 2018 World Championship winner Rob Cross and the beaten 2014 finalist Peter Wright.
Both players are locked at 3.7511/4 to win this quarter and that looks a better value bet for Cross, who has lifted two major titles this year. Wright could meet Dave Chisnall in the fourth round and is 3.259/4 to be eliminated in the last-16.
Cross is 7.06/1 to be eliminated at the semi-final stage. He's likely to fare better than in his defence of his title last year, but seems set to have a very difficult semi, should he reach the last four.
Does 'The Iceman' cometh?
Gerwyn Price is the second favourite to win the tournament at 6.25/1 and is in the type of form to do just that.
Price won the Grand Slam of Darts, beating Van Gerwen for the first time in the semi-final. He then reached the final of the Players Championship where he was beaten 11-9 by Van Gerwen. With Price showing signs that he can go toe-to-toe with the best, he's probably the pick from the winner market at the moment.
The Iceman certainly looks a safe bet to win his quarter at 2.265/4. He could meet the three-time BDO king Glen Durrant at that stage, whose odds of 9.08/1 to win the 4th quarter should provide a trading opportunity.
Dan Fitch Darts P/L 2019
Staked: 8.00 pts
Returned: 8.40 pts
P/L: +0.40 pts
Back Van Gerwen to reach the final at 1.738/11
Back Anderson to win the second quarter at 4.67/2
Back Cross to be eliminated in the semi-finals at 7.06/1
Back Price to win the World Championship at 6.25/1