Michael van Gerwen, Christian Kist and Steve Beaton are the headline names on day one of the 2018 PDC World Darts Championship.
The trio of world champions will commence the tournament from the Alexandra Palace in North London.
There’s also an exciting match-up between two of darts’ newest names, plus an intriguing tussle between James Wilson and Krzysztof Ratajski.
Best of order please for our day one preview…
Steve Beaton v William O’Connor
In his 26th consecutive World Championship appearance, we’re backing Steve Beaton to get the better of William O’Connor at 4/7.
The 1996 BDO Champion comes into the match on the back of a decent run to the quarter-finals at the Players Championship Finals last month.
He has a good record against O’Connor, too.
Beaton has won his last two matches against the Irishman, even if they were over a shorter format.
We’re backing him to make that three in three with a comfortable 3-1 victory in the opener at 11/4.
James Wilson v Krzysztof Ratajski
This match is a tough one to call.
Wilson has shown patches of form since joining the PDC in 2015. But poor displays on TV make him hard to back in this one.
That makes the lesser-known Ratajski the one to be on at 4/5.
The Polish slinger is unusual in that he plays in events for both the PDC and the BDO.
He landed the World Masters in September which should give him good confidence going into this match.
Michael van Gerwen v Christian Kist
Christian Kist has been knocked out at the first round stage in both of his previous PDC World Championship appearances.
Up against defending champion Michael van Gerwen, it would be a huge surprise if that run didn’t continue.
MVG is un-backable at 1/100, so you’re best off looking towards some of the other markets for this one.
The Dutchman is often a slow starter. That makes the 3/1 about van Gerwen dropping a set and still managing to win 3-1 look very appealing.
Gerwyn Price v Ted Evetts
Experience at the top-level suggests that Gerwyn Price should walk this game at odds of 1/3.
However, Ted Evetts could provide a difficult test.
The 20-year-old thrower has hit a nine-darter on the Pro Tour this season and beat some good players in order to qualify for his first darting soiree at the Ally Pally.
He may not win the match at odds of 9/4, but he should certainly give Price a test.
It’s 10/3 for the Welshman to edge a close game 3-2.
Click here for the latest 2018 PDC World Championship odds.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication