Sunday 1st January. 7:15PM. Live On Sky Sports
And just four remain…
After a fortnight of scintillating action at the oche, just 13 sets separate the four semi-finalists from the sport’s biggest prize. Who will take one giant leap towards lifting the famous trophy, as well as the £350,000 cheque, at Alexandra Palace? There’s only one way to find out.
Let’s play darts!
Gary Anderson v Peter Wright Preview & Betting
It’s an all Scottish affair in the night’s first semi-final showdown as reigning champion Gary Anderson looks to continue his defence in style with a win against Peter Wright. However, he shouldn’t expect things all his own way against the world number three.
Anderson defeated Snakebite en route to his first world crown two years ago, but this race to six sets should be a lot closer than that 5-1 thumping. Wright was incredible as he demolished James Wade in the last eight with a three-dart average of 104.79, underlining once more that he is very much nipping at the heels of the sport’s very biggest stars. In fact, some would argue that he is now a certified member of the top table – reaching a second world final would go a long way to confirming it.
Nevertheless, Anderson will be the odds-on favourite to move within one match of completing his hat-trick. The Flying Scotsman’s phenomenal battle with Dave Chisnall highlighted once more that the defending champion is one of the most consistent scorers on the planet. The fact he boasts the first and third highest averages of the tournament shows that he will not give Wright a second to breathe.
This will be a thrilling battle between two fantastic players and, while we expect Anderson to edge it, Wright can prove his credentials once more. With hopes that it will go at least 10 sets, we’re backing over 25 180s.
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
While the bottom half of the draw guarantees a Scottish finalist, the top half ensures that the Netherlands will be represented in the final too as the old master takes on the new juggernaut. It’s MVG V Barney, and it should be an explosive encounter.
Van Barneveld dominated the young MVG but it’s the world number one who has enjoyed far greater head-to-head success in recent times. However, the notable exception to this came in last year’s edition of this tournament as the 2007 winner overcame the 2014 champion in a thrilling third round showdown. Can the 49-year-old channel that energy to cause an upset once more?
Barney will certainly take confidence from his stunning quarter-final victory over Phil Taylor while he’s also beaten Adrian Lewis en route to the last four. MVG, who has hit three 170 checkouts and averaged over 103 in each of his four matches, will signal a step up in class. The world number one has choked on the big stage in the last two years but will be determined to make amends here.
If he brings his best, the Green Machine could blow Barney away with a trademark spell of fast perfect darts. Barney is smart enough to put the brakes on when needed, but MVG deserves to lift the title on the back of the last 12 months. We expect him to take another giant leap here. As for our bet, though, MVG hit two maximum checkouts in his quarter-final against Daryl Gurney. Let’s hope we see another here.