Phil Taylor is aiming for a record-equalling fifth successive World Matchplay title at the Betfair-sponsored event. Jaymes Monte assesses the betting ahead of the Blackpool action...
"Wes Newton is now a firmly established top eight player and has recently moved above Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld to number five in the rankings."
The Obvious Choice
It doesn't take a darts aficionado to pick Phil Taylor out as a potential winner of the World Matchplay. The Power has 12 Matchplay trophies in his cabinet and has won the last four in succession.
Those bare statistics alone suggest that the 2.77/4 available on Taylor winning the 2012 World Matchplay are fairly generous. And the draw handed to the world number one backs up that idea.
Taylor can be vulnerable in the early stages of tournaments, but an opening round match against old foe Mervyn King will only serve to focus his attentions. Should he beat King then Vincent van der Voort or Ian White would not be expected to pose much of a threat in the second round while the same could be said for potential quarter-final opponents Andy Hamilton, Brendan Dolan, Mark Webster and Colin Lloyd.
Gary Anderson is the next highest seed in the top half of the draw but the Scot hasn't played competitive darts for over a month due to an eye problem, and so his form is something of a mystery.
Come next Sunday evening that 2.77/4 on Taylor could look like a gift from the darting gods.
One to Trade
The best options for trading in the outright winner markets of a darts tournament usually come from players in the opposite half of the draw to Taylor. However, this week, the bottom half of the draw is a potential minefield and so I am plumping for an in-form player in The Power's half but in the opposite quarter.
Wes Newton is now a firmly established top-eight player and has recently moved above Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld to number five in the rankings.
Young James Hubbard will provide a stern examination in the opening round, but The Warrior's experience on the main stage should see him progress with some comfort. Justin Pipe or Joe Cullen await in the second round, and Newton would go into a match against either as a deserved short-price favourite. Then, given Anderson's injury problems, Dave Chisnall is probably the most likely quarter-final opponent.
Although Chizzy has had a fantastic year, Newton has a considerable 6-1 head-to-head advantage over the St Helens flinger, and would again go into the match as strong favourite. Taylor is a potential semi-final opponent but by that point Newton will be trading considerably lower than the 36.035/1 that is currently available and we can bag a tidy profit.
An Outsider to Keep Onside
As mentioned above, the bottom half of the draw is a real minefield. But it does offer up a couple of bigger priced options as a result.
Richie Burnett showed that he can still mix it with the best by reaching the semi-finals of last season's World Grand Prix and subsequently beating Mark Webster at the World Championships. He then teamed up with Webster to guide Wales to the semis of the PDC World Cup of Darts, before a rather inconspicuous UK Open.
The Prince of Wales appeared to have slipped back into the 'also-ran' status that he had become accustomed with, before bursting back to life in Dusseldorf a fortnight ago. There he beat Andy Jenkins 6-2 in the opening round with an astonishing 121 average before defeating Scott Rand, Michael van Gerwen and James Hubbard to reach the semi-finals. The 1995 Lakeside Champion couldn't go all the way as Raymond van Barneveld beat him in the semis, but he did enough to warrant backing him this week, for small stakes at 140.0139/1.
The action kicks off this Saturday evening with the final taking place the following Sunday. I'll be here all week with daily previews of individual matches so be sure to check these pages before placing your individual match bets.