Two men will have plenty of dough staked on them when the festive spotlight shines on the Ladbrokes World Championship Darts at Alexandra Palace, but one is set for a far easier ride into the tournament’s latter stages.
Assuming the all-conquering Stoke man safely negotiates his opening round fixture against 1000/1 shot Ian Moss or qualifier Rob Szabo, he will face timid third round seeds in the form of Terry Jenkins or Peter Wright, a pair of players he has lost to just three times in a combined 46 meetings.
Taylor’s potential quarter-final opponents are Wes Newton, John Part, Robert Thornton and Colin Lloyd, with only rank-plummeting-Canadian Part of that quartet enjoying more than five wins over the world number one during his career.
A semi final against either Andy Hamilton or Simon Whitlock will finally prove a test for the master of the oche but by then, in the other half of the draw, Dutchman Van Gerwen’s mettle would have already been tested to the full.
The bald 24-year-old’s path to the final is littered with household darting names and his ordeal starts as early as the third round in the potential form of The Flying Scotsman, Gary Anderson.
Should he safely negotiate that road hump, then a quarter final against top-10 seeds Dave Chisnall or Raymond Van Barneveld, the latter of which enjoys a 10-8 record over his compatriot.
The reward for successfully coming through those battles unscathed is a semi-final clash with either James Wade, another dartist who enjoys a positive record over Van Gerwen, or third-seed Adrian Lewis.
With the winner at Ally Pally set to be crowned the best in the world, few could argue that Mighty Mike would truly deserve the moniker should he struggle through such a tough draw to glory.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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