The first round is split across two nights and while the strength in depth across the board in darts is improving, I don't think many seeds will struggle to come through. Many darts fans including myself were disappointed not to see France included in this year's tournament and I hope that come 2023, they are part of the setup.
Host nation Germany are in action on Thursday and are 25/1 to go all the way and become World Champions for the first time, with 2020 winners Wales favourites to triumph again at 11/8. The Netherlands, who are without Michael van Gerwen, are available at 11/2 to win the World Cup for a fifth time with reigning champions Scotland 12/1 to defend the title.
Wales again come into the World Cup as favourites
Despite stating that he wasn't sure whether or not to pull out of this year's tournament, Gerwyn Price will partner Jonny Clayton for a fifth successive year, the Welsh pair are the second seeds and take on the Philippines in their opener.
Clayton was blown away by a relentless Joe Cullen in the Premier League on Monday evening but warmed up for this by taking part in Players Championship 17 in Niedernhausen on Wednesday. The Ferret won his first two matches impressively, with 111 and 108 averages before eventually losing out to the eventual winner Scott Williams.
As for Price, results and performances have started to pick back up again over recent weeks after a noticeable dip following his hand injury, after which The Iceman himself said he was struggling for confidence and belief.
With so many events at the moment and Price being involved in pretty much all of the invitational ones, he has opted to miss a number of floor tournaments to better manage his time and keep himself physically and mentally strong.
I think this event could be the tonic he needs at the moment. Whilst Price was seen as the stronger link when Wales lifted the trophy back in 2020, I think Clayton could play an even bigger role this time around and the world number eight is the one that could lead them to victory.
Wales will of course be heavy favourites against Lourence Ilagan and RJ Escaros and I can't see there being an upset in this one.
Close encounter in the third match of the night
Ireland against Canada is the stand out match on Thursday night for me. As highlighted during the US Darts Masters, the quality of darts in North America is continuously improving and in Jeff Smith and Matt Campbell, the Canadians have two players who, on their day can beat just about anyone in this game.
Willie O'Connor and Steve Lennon may be favourites for this one but the markets reflect how dangerous Smith and Campbell are, they are 5/4 to come through.
New look Netherlands partnership
There'll be no Mighty Mike at the World Cup for the first time in nine years, the world number three was victorious in the Premier League on Monday but is now recovering from surgery to help with carpal tunnel syndrome. In his absence, Dirk van Duijvenbode returns to partner UK Open champion Danny Noppert who has also reached the final of two Euro Tour events this year.
It's a very strong pairing, especially when you look at the form The Aubergenius has shown in both Players Championship events this week, posting ton plus averages in six of his 12 matches and brushing aside the likes of Luke Humphries and Dimitri Van den Bergh.
My five fold accumulator for night one includes Wales, Austria, Northern Ireland, Germany and Holland at 79/100.