The Christmas tree is up, the snow is falling and there are mince pies in the oven – it must be time for the Darts.
After 12 long months, the 2018 PDC World Darts Championships are upon us.
Michael van Gerwen is odds-on at 8/11 to defend the crown he won last year in his 7-3 defeat of Gary Anderson.
Here’s what we’re looking forward to from this year’s tournament at the Alexandra Palace.
Could we see a nine-darter?
Despite last year’s tremendous quality, we were deprived of a nine-darter.
Anderson was the last player to fire in a perfect leg when defeating Jelle Klaasen in the semi-final in 2016.
Since then, there have only been five televised nine-darters in PDC competition.
On that basis, we think that one is well overdue.
Can anyone do a Shepherd?
Everyone already knows about darts’ big names.
Phil Taylor, Wright, Anderson and van Gerwen are all expected to mount serious challenges.
But don’t rule out some of the lesser-known faces.
Kirk Shepherd shocked everyone by reaching the final of the tournament as a qualifier in 2008.
While we’re not quite expecting something that dramatic, a player like Rob Cross could certainly make a fist of things.
The 27-year-old only turned professional this year and has been a constant presence in the latter stages of major tournaments.
That form has seen his odds cut from 125/1 seven months ago to just 12/1 for this year’s Worlds.
Phil Taylor’s farewell
After 29 years at the top, Taylor is finally preparing to say farewell.
The Power is bowing out of the professional game following the conclusion of this year’s World Championships.
He’s already rolled back the years once this season to land his sixteenth World Matchplay title.
Could he do it again to win a seventeenth World Championship crown?
Taylor loves it at the Ally Pally, plus he’ll have the crowd on his side.
Click here for the latest 2018 PDC World Championship odds.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication