PDC World Darts Championship: Betting Tips, Stats & History - Thursday 13th December 2018

Darts in Bullseye on Dartboard

The PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) World Championships are the pinnacle of the game for this particular corporation. It’s often thought of as being the highlight of a player’s career and for some, even qualifying is seen as a pretty impressive feat. The money that is involved now makes the richest event in darts and winning can change a players career in a matter of weeks.

The competition is held annually at the Alexandra Place and has been here since the move from the Circus Tavern came about in 2008. The move was one that allowed the tournament to expand and accommodate the ever-increasing popularity in both darts as a sport and the World Championships as a tournament. 

PDC World Darts Championship Betting Tips for 2019

Anderson to Thrive Again

Everybody has their own time at which Christmas really starts. For some it’s when the lights go up, others get in the mood when they see the Coca Cola or John Lewis advert but for darts fans the festive season can’t truly begin until they make the pilgrimage to Alexandra Palace for the PDC World Darts Championship.

Thousands of fans will march up the hill to the north London venue for darts’ biggest event. Many of them will don fancy dress and all will enjoy themselves but it’s all business at the oche. The best darts players in the world all compete in the PDC World Darts Championship and 95 of the 96 players with a place in the tournament will be gunning after one man - Michael van Gerwen.

Rob Cross stunned the sport to win last year’s World Championship despite being an unknown outside of darting circles. It’s van Gerwen who remains the dominant force in darts though and he is once again the favourite across the board with the bookies to get his hands on the Sid Waddell Trophy.

Gary Anderson (7/2)

It’s been clear for many years that Michael van Gerwen was ready and willing to step into the shoes of Phil Taylor and become the man to carry darts forward. The Dutchman has won a bewildering number of tournaments in the last five years including two World Championships. Winning the biggest tournament of them all once, let alone twice, would go down as a fine achievement for most players but it rankles as something of a disappointment for Mighty Mike which tells you just how good the 29-year-old is.

The surroundings of a tournament can have more of a say than you’d think in darts and for one reason or another van Gerwen has rarely looked completely comfortable at Ally Pally. He seems to get edgier on the biggest stage of all and has a habit of missing big doubles and going through poor spells. Yes, he’s the best player in the world but he doesn’t quite have the knack of raising his game for the premier tournament which is the complete opposite of Gary Anderson.

Anderson has admitted in the past that he’s struggled to motivate himself for some of the smaller PDC tournaments. That extends even to majors but there is never any issues around motivation when it comes to the Worlds. The ‘Flying Scotsman’ is better than anybody else in the tournament at both understanding the importance of this tournament but not getting flustered by the size of the prize.

Anderson has reached the final at Ally Pally in three of the last four years and there is no doubt that he will put up a fierce challenge for the title once again. He will prepare well to ensure he hits the ground running and has a very good recent record against Michael van Gerwen in the majors so Anderson really does look the best bet for the 2019 PDC World Darts Championship at very tempting odds of 7/2 with Betfair.

Michael Smith (14/1)

Whilst Anderson can seem a little distant and even spikey at times, he is a man who loves the sport of darts and has given back to it by sponsoring younger players as they make their way in the sport. Michael Smith received the support of Anderson when he was trying to establish himself in the PDC and the 28-year-old has repaid the faith shown in him by becoming a force at the very top level.

Smith famously broke through into the wider sporting consciousness with a win over Phil Taylor at Alexandra Palace in the 2014 World Championship. Some struggles both at and away from the oche followed but he is now in a good place which is reflected in his darts. Smith is a fast player which helps him deal with nerves as he doesn’t given himself enough time to think about the enormity of trying to hit a match winning double. He can use that speed to power him through to the latter stages of the World Championship and maybe even go all the way at 14/1 with bet365.

Simon Whitlock (80/1)

Simon Whitlock is another player who used the platform of the PDC World Darts Championship to launch his career. The Australian made waves in the 2010 World Championship by making it all the way to the final. Whilst that remains his best result in the tournament, Whitlock still loves playing on the big stage and has promised his fans that the best is yet to come.

In the main, Whitlock’s results have been modest in 2018 but he has found form in patches, reaching the final of the European Championship and the PDC International Darts Open. Whitlock is one of the best in the game at taking out big finishes. That ability means it’s tough to count him out of legs and therefore matches and that makes him a tempting outsider who may well be worth an each way punt at 80/1 with Coral.

About The World Darts Championship

PDC World Championship Darts Stage
Image Credit: sachab, flickr

The World Championship or simply the “Worlds” as it’s more commonly known by, takes place through December and January, with a break over Christmas Day. It usually finishes on or around the first weekend in January and is seen by many to signify the start of Christmas, such is the stature for darts fans. 

The tournament proper includes 64 players in total, but it also includes a number of preliminary round qualifiers as part of the event as well. Players who win their preliminary round matches will then play in the first-round proper on the same day. 

Players are eligible based on world rankings, with the top 32 players in the PDC order of merit for and then the remaining places made up of the next 16 highest ranked players form the 2017 Pro Tour Order of Merit and the top either ranked players from a series of international qualifiers and event wins. The final 16 players will enter the preliminary round before having to win that and then enter the first-round as a result. 

Match Format

Each of the matches is played out as a ‘best of’ number of sets. To win each set a player must win 2 legs to then be awarded the set. The following structure is in place for the tournament proper. The preliminary rounds are made up of best of 3 sets. 

Number of Sets by Round

RoundBest of SetsFirst to Sets
1st Round 5 sets 3 sets
2nd Round 5 sets 3 sets
3rd Round 7 sets 4 sets
4th Round 7 sets 4 sets
Quarter-finals 9 sets 5 sets
Semi-finals 11 sets 6 sets
Final 13 sets 7 sets

The games and number of sets make it the longest format in the PDC. It’s often quite challenging for player given that a large number of tournaments that they play each year are leg based often require a much lower number of legs or sets than that of the World Championships. 

Alexandra Palace as the Host Venue

Alexandra Palace During Darts World Championship
Credit: Matt Brown, flickr

As mentioned previously, the World Championships takes place at the Alexandra Palace, which is in Alexandra Park, London. The tournament has been held here since 2008 after previously being held at the Circus Tavern in Essex, London from the first event in 1994 to that of 2007. 

The scope and expansion of the tournament has meant that the Alexandra Palace is now one of the most iconic darting venues in the world and as a result, pretty much all sessions for all days are either sold out well in advance or with a few tickets being left for cash turnstiles on the day. 

There are a number of rooms at the Alexandra Palace, but the darts is held in the Great Hall, which has a capacity crowd of 8.500. In 2017/18 it was reported that across the 15 days more than 68,000 fans came through the doors.

There has been mummering’s that the tournament could move once again in order to accommodate more fans. This hasn’t been approved and hasn’t gone down too well with dart fans who love the Palace, but in order for the competition to expand, it would be needed, especially given that more people than ever are trying to get tickets. 

TV Coverage

PDC World Championship Darts Television Cameras
Image Credit: sachab, flickr

There is little doubt that the success of darts on the whole has been partly attributed to that of the TV coverage that Sky Sport has offered. It’s been hosting the PDC World Darts Championship, amongst others, for over 25 years now and has been a huge reason to the increase in popularity of the sport and the availability of it on TV. 

Sky Sports’ coverage of darts started in 1993/94 when the were filming the World Championships at the Circus Tavern. Back then, the total prizemoney was that of £64,000. The growth has now meant that the tournament gets a prize pot of £1.8milliion, making it by far the most lucrative on tour. In total, Sky offer over 60 day’s worth of darts a year, which includes other tournaments such as the Premier League, World Matchplay, Grand Slam of Darts, World Grand Prix and World Cup of Darts. 

Prize Money

The prizemoney for the 2018/19 season has been set at £2.5million, some £700,000 more than the previous year. The £700,000 increase will be the largest single increase for a single tournament in the history of the World Championships and even darts as a sport. The winner will take home £100,000 more, with a £500,000 cheque waiting for them. Many are predicting that in the next 10 years the winners cheque will be around the £1million mark, which will be a mightily impressive feat given where the sport has come from. 

Chart Showing Prize Money by Round at the 2018/19 PDC World Darts Championship

Previously, for the 2017/18 World Championships, the prize money was split from the total pot of £1.8million, an increase of £150,000 from the 2016/17 championship. The winner, Rob Cross, went home with a cheque for £400,000. At this time this was the highest payout that there had been.

Chart Showing Prize Money by Round at the 2017/18 PDC World Darts Championship

During the 2017/18 tournament there was also £20,000 for any player able to complete a nine dart finish.

Statistics

Darts Flights of Different Flags

There is one name that has dominated professional darts over the last 30 years or so, and that is Phil Taylor. He’s won it all and won it all on multiple occasions as well. Whilst his stats in pretty much every tournament he has played in have been impressive, his stats in the World Championships, the pinnacle of the game, are just mind blowing.

He has entered 25 World Champions in total and won a staggering 14 of them. He’s been runner up 5 rimes from his 19 finals, which is an incredible strike rate. To put that into content, the next best on the list are two-time winners, which are Gary Anderson, Michael van Gerwen, Adrian Lewis and John Part. It’s likely that Taylor’s record of 14 PDC World Championship titles will never be broken. It’s probably worth noting that he’s also won two world titles on the BDO tour, before making the switch across. 

Michale van Gerwen holds the record for the highest single game average, with a 114.05 in the 2017 semi-final win over Raymond van Barneveld, resulting in a 6-2 demolition. What was incredible about that match is that van Barneveld’s average was that of 109.34, which is the highest losing average of all time and also the 4thhighest average outright of all time as well. It’s widely thought to have been one of the best games of darts televised at the World Championships. 

In the same year, van Gerwen was also able to produce the highest tournament average with 106.32 en route to his second World Championship title. 

PDC World Darts Champions

NameNationalityTitlesLast WinCareer Prize Money
Phil Taylor English 14 2013 £7,143,612
Michael van Gerwen Dutch 2 2017 £5,716,167
Gary Anderson Scottish 2 2016 £3,280,522
Adrian Lewis English 2 2012 £2,817,134
John Part Canadian 2 2008 £945,038
Rob Cross English 1 2018 £699,100
Raymond van Barneveld Dutch 1 2007 £3,233,878
Dennis Priestley English 1 1994 £627,219

History of the Championships

Dartboard Covered in Coins

In the early nineties there was some pretty big unrest amongst the top players in the British Darts Organisation (BDO) regarding money involved in the sport and their payouts from tournaments. Many of the top players and all of the current World Champions that were still playing the game decided to break away from the BDO and form a new organisation, originally the World Darts Corporation, but later changed to the Professional Darts Corporation. 

This, in turn, gave the power back to the players and whilst a huge risk at the time, enabled to create their own tournaments and more importantly, sponsorship deals to get more money into the sport. The deal went through in 1994 and by then they had the backing of satellite tv company, Sky Sports who have been at the forefront of the sport and broadcasting of the sport ever since.

The first PDC World Championship took place that very same year and was won by Dennis Priestley, one of the founding members and also one of the figureheads who was part of the split with the PBDO. 

Throughout the first few years the tournament actually had lower prize money than that of the BDO. It wasn’t until 2002 when the PDC first overtook the BDO, being able to bring a bumper package of £200,000 together, some £76,000 more than the previous year. 

Prize money has rocketed in recent years and the first £1million prize pool was announced for the 2010 tournament. The largest prize pool will be that of the 2018/19 tournament, worth £2.5million, some £2.2million more than the same years BDO World Championship. 

The success of the World Championships meant that more people were wanting tickets and by 2007 it was decided that the following season they would utilise the extra space that the Alexandra Palace had to offer, which is where they are still be hosted today. 

The calibre of players and the general standard that players are required to be at these days has been another factor to the success of the tournament. The tours are now far apart in terms of standard and to give you an idea of the scope, the BDO has only ever had 20 occasions where a player has averaged over 100 in a match. To put that in perspective, Phil Taylor alone has had 56 100+ averages in the PDC World Championships. 

Phil 'The Power' Taylor

Phil Taylor Playing During Darts World Championship
Credit: sachab, flickr

Phil Taylor is the best darts player of all time. There is no one that is anywhere near the level of success that he has seen and there is a good chance that no one ever will. His 14 PDC World titles looks almost impossible to eclipse given the sheer talent in the sport these days and it’s likely he’s going to remain as the best of the best. 

One of his most famous finals came against Raymond van Barneveld in 2009, who at the time was probably his closest rival and even throughout his career. Taylor won the match 7-1 in a bit of a thrashing, but the fact that Taylor averaged 110.94 over best of 13 sets was pretty incredible. To be fair, ‘Barney” played well averaging 102, but was just no match for Taylor’s brilliance. 

It’s also worth noting that Taylor managed to win 8 World Championships in a row from 1995 through to 2002, before losing in the final to John Part in 2003 and then winning three more in a row after that, taking his tally to 11 from 12, with a runners up spot as well. 

At some point in his career he’s won it all. This includes 16 World Match play’s, 11 World Grand Prix’s, 6 Grand Slams, 6 Premier League’s, 4 Championship Leagues, 5 Desert Classic and so many more. 

'Mighty' Michael van Gerwen

Netherlands Flag

Van Gerwen is probably the closest thing we have seen to Taylor for a long while. The Dutchman, whilst unlikely to eclipse his World Championship record (although most likely out of the current crop of players) has been pretty relentless in his chase for success. 

He’s been able to win multiple majors, including his two World championship tiles, 2 World Match play’s, 3 World Grand Prix titles, 3 Grand Slam’s and 3 Premier League, to name just a few. Given that, at the time of writing he is still 29, it looks like he is going to become one of the greats of the game, even at this early age. Whilst he has played fewer tournaments, he actually holds a better highest match average in the Worlds than Taylor with 114.05 in his semi-final with van Barneveld in 2017, some 3 points higher than Taylors 111.21, such is the calibre of the player. 

Rob 'Voltage' Cross

High Voltage Sign

As the sport is so competitive, there haven’t been all that many “Roy of the Rovers’” stories at the World Championships, until Rob Cross burst onto the scene. In 2015 he was playing on the BDO where he failed to qualify for the BDO World Championship. 

He made the switch across to the PDC in 2016 and even played as an amateur in the 2016 UK Open, making to the last 32 before being knocked out by Michael van Gerwen. That same year he won 3 challenge tour events, topping the order of merit and gaining a tour card for 2017. 

In 2017 he started to find his feet and some consistency in the big time. He finished in the last 16 at the World Matchplay, Last 32 of the World Grand Prix, Quarter final of the Grand Slam, runner up in the European championship and semi-final of the Players Championship. 

He entered into the 2017/18 World Championship as 20thseed after a remarkably solid first full year on tour. Wins against Siego Asada, Michael Smith, John Henderson, Dimitri Van den Burgh and Michael van Gerwen in the semi-final, set up a dream final against Phil Taylor, playing in his last professional tournament. He beat Taylor in a dramatic final, 7-2 which propelled Cross to 3rd in the world and an invitation to the 2018 Premier League Darts. 

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