With the Premier League Darts commencing on Thursday, we asked regular Betting.Betfair contributor Wayne Mardle - fresh from a very profitable World Championships - to give his pre-tournament thoughts...
"Michael van Gerwen - available to back at 2.77/4 in the Winner market - won the group stage then the play-offs last year to cement the fact that he was the best player throughout the whole tournament, and I'm very much expecting a repeat this year."
Sixteen weeks of drama are guaranteed when the Premier League gets underway at the Liverpool Echo Arena on Thursday, culminating in the play-offs and final at the O2 in London at the end of May.
Relegation will be on the mind of some of the players for the first nine weeks, then after that it's all about the play-offs.
Peter Wright and Dave Chisnall are making their debuts, while Wes Newton gets a another chance to prove that last year's poor showing was just a blip. Gary Anderson will be looking to put the record straight, since winning the event in 2011 the ultra-talented Scot has finished bottom of the table for the last two years.
The 10 players and their best showings to date are as follows;
Michael Van Gerwen - reigning champion
Phil Taylor - six-times winner
Gary Anderson - 2011 winner
Adrian Lewis - runner-up
Simon Whitlock - runner-up
Raymond van Barneveld - semi-finals
Robert Thornton - fifth
Wes Newton - relegated
Peter Wright - debut
Dave Chisnall - debut
My pre-tournament thoughts
Winner - Van Gerwen
Play-offs - Taylor, Lewis, and Van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen - available to back at 2.77/4 in the Winner market - won the group stage then the play-offs last year to cement the fact that he was the best player throughout the whole tournament, and I'm very much expecting a repeat this year.
The new World Champion knows what it takes to triumph and I think that with his hunger for success and to be the best will carry him to another win. The format is short, first to eight legs, and that will suit him as it won't give the young Dutchman time to switch off during matches.
Phil Taylor (3.39/4) will be in the play-offs thats a certainty, he's still the man to beat, but year on year it's getting tougher for the man who has dominated since the 90s.
Adrian Lewis (7.613/2) will be there at the end giving all his opponents a headache. Ade played some of his best darts ever in 2013 and I think that he can go all the way, he plays the game in a way that makes him the most watchable player on the planet.
Raymond van Barneveld (30.029/1) is a contender for the title, he's never gone beyond the semi-finals but I think this could be the year that he does some real damage. He played superbly well last year but was on the wrong end of the close matches. He's got a real chance of making it to the last four and from there anything can happen.
Simon Whitlock (32.031/1) narrowly avoided elimination last year while The Thorn Robert Thornton (50.049/1) produced some superb displays. Both need to be more consistent if they are to push for a play-off spot come May.
I'm certain Wes Newton (60.059/1) will play better this time around, last year was a learning curve for the Fleetwood Flinger. He'll know what to expect.
Gary Anderson (28.027/1) is back on form and can get back to scaring the other players with his outrageous scoring, it's just a question of whether he can hold his nerve and hit the vital doubles when it really matters.
Peter Wright (22.021/1) looks as if the Premier League will suit, he likes a bit of a show off and noise doesn't seem to rattle him, he comes into this event high on confidence after his recent runner-up spot in the World Championships.
Dave Chisnall (42.041/1) is very capable of beating anyone, he hits 180s for fun, sometimes he just needs to calm himself down a tad and just play. Chizzy needs to get off to a decent start over the first three or four weeks otherwise the confidence could quickly drain.
Back Michael van Gerwen to Win @ 2.77/4
Wayne Mardle P/L
If you had placed £10 on each of our darts columnist's recommendations during the World Championships you would have emerged with a profit of £133 (before commission). Tips included Michael van Gerwen to win pre-tournament at 4.9 and a 8.0 correct score tip on the final as MVG beat Peter Wright 7-4.