After an explosive opening fortnight of electrifying entertainment at the biggest darting event of the year, we’re down to just eight competitors in the 2015 PDC World Championships and we should be in for a dramatic final four days – starting with the quarter-final matches.
There has been a few shocks along the way but most of the big boys remain and that should set us up nicely for this mouth-watering quarter-final schedule.
Michael van Gerwin V Robert Thornton & Peter Wright V Gary Anderson
The quarter-final stages commence with defending champion Michael van Gerwin taking on No.9 seed Robert Thornton and it is MVG who will be fully expected to book his place in the last four.
Van Gerwin hasn’t quite replicated the unstoppable form that saw him clinch a first crown last year but a three-dart average of 98.82 is still very healthy and should be enough to see him through against the Thron.
This year has been decent for the Scottish underdog who, with the help of James Wade, was part of the first ever match to see both players hit nine-dart finishes. However, the quarter-final stage is probably about his level and it will be tough for him to overcome the champ.
However, we will see at least one Scotsman in the last four as our second quarter-final is an all-Scottish affair between the in-form Gary Anderson and Peter Wright – who was last year’s runner-up.
Nobody left in the competition has hit more maximum’s than Anderson, who has enjoyed a very strong second half to 2014, but questions still remain over his doubles. If his checkout average remains at 37% then we can expect the Snakebite to pounce.
Whatever happens, the all-Scottish affair has the potential to be an absolute classic.
PDC World Championship Jan 1st Betting
Mighty Mike hasn’t been threatened but there is no denying that the defending champ will want to raise his game as we enter the business end of the tournament and this could be the match where he springs into life.
His 19 maximums sees him fifth on that particular list but he’ll be wanting to climb it here. We think he will start firing them in regularly and that could inspire an easy victory against the Thorn.
MVG -3.5 sets @ 13/8 with SkyBet
The second game is much tighter to call and it could rest solely on Anderson’s ability to find the doubles.
Anderson should beat his compatriot over nine sets but there will inevitably be times where he fades and that is why we think this selection is a potential steal, especially considering his tournament average is currently 97.92.
Gary Anderson 3-dart average under 100.5 @ 10/11 with William Hill
Phil Taylor V Vincent van der Voort & Stephen Bunting V Raymond van Barneveld
Sixteen time champion Phil Taylor was given a real fright by Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts in round three but the Power fought back strongly and remains favourite to regain the title after a shock early exit 12 months ago.
Despite the wobble against Huybrechts, Taylor remains the top performer this year and is the only player with a three-dart average of over 100. However, he will need to give van der Voort his full attention in order to seal his place in the last four – nonetheless, it would be a huge shock if he did drop out to the Dutchman.
Perhaps we’re saving the best til last in this year’s quarter-final as two real heavyweights collide for a place against Taylor in Saturday’s second semi-final.
Once again it is an English-Dutch quarter-final clash as Premier League champion Raymond van Barneveld meets BDO winner Stephen Bunting. The latter has been fantastic since making the step up to PDC events and still has an outside chance of becoming the first man to hold both titles simultaneously. However, Barney is the master of finding a way through even when he doens’t play well – just ask Adrian Lewis after a shocking third round match on Tuesday.
Some may have anticipated a Wade v Lewis quarter-final clash but this should be just as dramatic. Expect a phenomenal contest between these two former BDO titans.
PDC World Championship Jan 2nd Betting
The night’s opening clash should be the easiest to predict in terms of picking a winner as the Power is fully expected (1/20, Bet365) to progress. It could be a quick but painful night for van der Voort (11/1, Bet365).
From a betting perspective, the one selection that really stands out is on the 180s market. Taylor’s love of the treble 19 is no secret and van der Voort could become overwhelmed by the occasion, which makes us think there won’t be too many maximums here.
The possibility of a short contest also adds to the confidence of this selection. At 5/6, it’s a must.
Under 12.5 180s @ 5/6 with Bet365
The final match looks to be an absolute thriller and both men will fancy their chances. Most fans would love to see a Taylor-Barneveld semi, but we think Bunting can break the status quo in style.
Barney was fortunate to beat Lewis, but his luck may run out against the Bullet.
Stephen Bunting -1.5 sets @ 10/11 with William Hill