The Ladbrokes World Darts Championship is taking its Christmas hiatus but the early rounds have provided punters with some invaluable clues as to who will be taking the sport’s most coveted prize home with them.
Phil Taylor’s demolition of Robert Thornton in the last-32 was an ominous sign for the rest of the field and the fact that his odds for glory remain at 2/1 should be taken advantage of, yet Andy Hamilton’s sky-high 20/1 price is the next best alternative.
A post-Christmas darting extravaganza is on the cards with all of the big guns navigating the early rounds with relative ease, but the Hammer’s form has been a joy to behold and it’s enabled him to cruise into the quarter-final stage.
He had arguably the toughest third round match of anyone when he faced Terry Jenkins but the 4-1 scoreline which he won by suggests otherwise and his impressive 52 per cent double conversion rate is nothing short of what darts fanatics have come to expect from one of the PDC’s most consistent performers.
His price to lift the world crown would surely be an awful lot lower were he not scheduled to face the Power in the last eight. Hamilton’s consistency is no more prevalent than when he takes on his fellow Stoke native – of their 29 previous meetings, he’s lost a staggering 28 times.
Should he shake this giant monkey off his back on the grandest stage of them all, however, expect his price to tumble and given his current form he has no reason to fear Taylor.
He’s dropped just the three sets in his three matches to date and averaged over 97 in his second round triumph over Richie Burnett. Taylor, on the other hand, prior to his drubbing of Robert Thornton (who very much wasn’t at the races, it must be said), has looked sluggish at times, averaging well below his normal digits in the early stages.
Jerry Hendriks gave him a real fright in round two when he stormed the first set 3-1, before going on to lose the match 4-1. The Hammer can take confidence from the way the Dutchman put the great man under pressure though and if he manages to replicate his strong finishing in the quarters, he’s in with every chance of ended Taylor’s dominance of him.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date