After securing the Players Championship in dramatic style, Michael van Gerwen will have his sights set on victory at Alexandra Palace and at odds of 3/1 he offers value in a market dominated by Phil Taylor.
The Power remains the runaway favourite to retain his Ladbrokes World Championship title at 10/11, having won the event on no less than 14 separate occasions throughout his glittering career.
Last year, the 53-year-old claimed victory with a 7-4 triumph over Van Gerwen in the final which gave him 17 wins from the 19 matches between the pair up until that point.
However, since then his younger rival has enjoyed an improved record against the sports’ finest player, winning five and drawing one of their 10 encounters, suggesting a potential shift in the dynamic between the two.
This was most notable in Minehead, as Van Gerwen fought his way back from 6-3 down against the defending champion to secure an 11-7 win that showcased not only his abilities at the board but also a fighting spirit lacking in the early encounters between the pair.
At one point Mighty Mike was even able to win eight successive legs in the final – a feat previously deemed unthinkable against the all-conquering Taylor.
And though The Power rallied to restore a three-leg cushion over his opponent in the ninth, from then on it was pretty much one-way traffic, with Taylor claiming just one more leg in a near-faultless display from the Dutchman.
Victory means Van Gerwen has now won two of his last three matches against Taylor and is bang in form heading into the biggest event of the year this December with his odds on winning moving from 6/1 to the potentially more realistic price of 3/1.
With two-time champion Adrian Lewis currently ranked as third-favourite at longer odds of 6/1, the Ladbrokes World Championship are quickly developing into a thrilling two-horse race.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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