Monday 2nd January. 8:20PM. Live On Sky Sports
Following an incredible fortnight of darts, which was encapsulated by the last night’s semi-final matches, just two men remain in the hunt for the PDC’s greatest prize. And, quite frankly, it’s the final that many would have dreamed of.
It’s defending champion Gary Anderson against world number one Michael van Gerwen, and these two modern superstars could well produce one of the greatest finals we’ve ever seen. With the trophy and £350,000 up for grabs, it should be one of the early sporting highlights of 2017.
Let’s play darts!
Anderson Aiming To Complete The Hat-Trick
Since its inception in 1994, the PDC World Championship has only ever seen one man lift the trophy more than twice, which means Gary Anderson is now just seven sets away from a piece of history – the fact he could do it with three consecutive titles only amplifies the excitement. And he’s certainly more than capable.
Many would argue that the Flying Scotsman is the only man capable of beating the magnificent MVG on this stage over such a long format, making this a dream final for darts fans. As well as being one of the most consistent high-scoring throwers, the champion has the winning mentality after winning 17 straight matches at Ally Pally.
Perhaps more tellingly, Anderson has the psychological boost gained by beating the Dutchman en route to the 2015 title while the pair are tied at 3-3 in major event head-to-head matches. Essentially, the 46-year-old is one of the few players who won’t be beaten before even stepping onto the stage.
Being confident is one thing. However, stopping MVG right now is another altogether.
Mighty Mike Odds-On For The Crown
The Dutch superstar has been nothing short of sensational over the last 12 months, winning virtually every major trophy on offer, and breaking records at various points. His latest achievement came against Barney in last night’s semi-final, where he registered the highest ever three-dart average in the event’s history with an incredible 114.05. If he plays like that tonight, the 2014 winner will be extremely confident about capping his perfect season in fitting style.
MVG knows that Anderson is likely to test him throughout the final. However, if he can get ahead, then a 10-minute spell could potentially see him pull away. On current form, once the Dutchman has a level of comfort, there is no way back for the opponent.
Mighty Mike has beaten Anderson on this stage too, while the overall head-to-head record (including minor and non-ranking events) is firmly in his favour. Things may be a little closer on the big stage, but the 27-year-old has taken his game to a level we’ve never seen over the past year. A second world crown is deserved.
Then again, MVG would’ve thought the same thing this time last year. Sport doesn’t always work that way and Anderson will prove to be a very difficult last hurdle. Whatever happens, it should be undiluted drama from the first throw to the last.
Michael van Gerwen V Gary Anderson Betting Tips
Despite being the champion, Anderson is the underdog for this final and enters the match priced 11/4 with Ladbrokes while MVG is just 2/7.
Regardless of Anderson’s quality, it’s difficult to argue against MVG’s dominance on the betting front. However, in a race to seven sets, fans will be expecting to see at least 11 sets. In truth, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if it goes all the way.
Given that the two stars tend to bring out the best in each other, we should see plenty of 180s across the night. MVG hit 15 in eight sets last night while Anderson hit 15 in nine. With this match expected to last a fair bit longer, we could well see the 35 needed to break the 700 barrier for the tournament.
In many ways, a lot of fans would love to see Anderson retain the title. On the other hand, nobody could argue against MVG’s credentials after his blistering 12 months. And we think he will claim the crown.
It probably won’t be as easy as some are predicting, especially as Anderson is more than capable of breaking the throw himself. Nonetheless, the world number one should win the title with at least a little breathing space. We’re backing him to win 7-5.