Christmas means just one thing in the world of darts, the PDC World Championship. Held every year at Alexandra Palace, north London, the PDC World Championship is the biggest and most lucrative darts tournament in the world. Purists may point to Lakeside – home of the BDO’s World Championships – as the true home of darts but there is no question this is the one they all want to win.

It’s also the hottest ticket in town. Darts fans have to register months and months in advance of the PDC World Championship just to have a chance of getting a seat inside Alexandra Palace. This may be the biggest event on the darts calendar (Michael van Gerwen went as far as to say “no other tournament matters”) but the early stages are largely a chance of fans, mostly clad in fancy dress, to enjoy themselves.

The action really gets going after the short break for Christmas but, as you’ll see below, there are plenty of betting options to take advantage of right from the first match on 14th December.

The big storyline ahead of the 2017/18 PDC World Championship is the impending retirement of the greatest darts player in history, Phil Taylor. The ‘Power’ has won this tournament an incredible 14 times and is credited by many current players as the main reason for darts’ incredible growth. Taylor is no longer the dominant force of old but he’s carefully managed his schedule to try and peak for the Worlds and showed his enduring class with a 16-6 win over Van Gerwen in the World Matchplay final. He couldn’t, could he?

Van Gerwen the Pick of the Favourites

You’d be forgiven for looking at Michael van Gerwen’s odds of 8/11 with Ladbrokes and shrugging your shoulders. To defend the Sid Waddell Trophy Van Gerwen has to beat the best darts players in the world and cope with the unpredictable set play format. He also has to cope with the lingering memories of some shocking performances on the Ally Pally stage.

The thing is, when you analyse the opposition, it’s hard to make a case for Van Gerwen being stopped.

Second favourite and two time World Champion, Gary Anderson has been nowhere near his best this season. Problems away from the oche have affected Anderson’s form on it and he looks one to swerve.

Peter Wright is next up at a best price of 12/1 with Betfred. There’s no question that Wright has the calibre to cause Van Gerwen huge problems but it’s his health that’s the big concern. After being rushed to hospital with gallstones, Wright is currently recuperating at home and his place in the tournament is in doubt.

Then there’s Taylor. Does the Power represent value at 12/1 with Bet365? Or is it a heart-over-head play? The 57-year-old was fantastic in the World Matchplay but he’s arguably even more comfortable on the Winter Gardens stage than at Ally Pally. While Taylor’s form is stronger than most, it’s not at the level that gets you overly excited about his chances. He’s also lost his cool a few times of late as his frustration grows about his game so avoid a bet on Taylor and focus on the new king of darts, Michael van Gerwen.

Each Way and Trading Options to Consider

Van Gerwen’s strength in the betting for the PDC World Championship has skewed the whole market somewhat. Just take a look at some of the prices available. Raymond van Barneveld at 66/1 with Ladbrokes, James Wade at 150/1 with BetVictor, Robert Thornton at 500/1 with BetVictor.

They’re all crazy prices about top quality darts players and if you are familiar with cashing out your bets, those three provide tempting trading options. But the best price on an outsider is the 14/1 Paddy Power are quoting on Rob Cross.

Those who only really tune in for the World Championship may not be aware of Cross but the 27-year-old will soon be a household name in darts. It’s taken Cross no time to get used to the demands of the PDC Tour and he is playing at a level few have attained in 2017. His power scoring, confidence and ability to hit big checkouts under pressure makes Cross the dark horse of the tournament.

Outright Options Not to Miss Out On

The main problem that Cross has is that he’s been drawn in the same half of the draw as Van Gerwen. Thankfully, there are several ways of tackling your ante post betting for the PDC World Championship.

For example, you can back Cross to win his half before a meeting with van Gerwen at 13/8 with Coral. If you think Taylor will make it to the semi finals, he can be backed to win his quarter at 2/1 with Ladbrokes. One player we haven’t mentioned so far is Adrian Lewis. The two time world champion has been battling hard to regain his best form and he looks a good bet to win his quarter at 5/2 with Coral.

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