2017 PDC World Championship: 3 eye-catching first round matches

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It’s hard to look past anything but a Michael van Gerwen win in the 2017 PDC World Championship. The Dutchman has won a staggering 25 titles since the turn of the year, including every major since Gary Anderson’s world championship win in January.

But that doesn’t mean there’s not value to be had in this tournament, and with the draw for the first round taking place earlier this week, we’ve picked out three scorchers for you to keep your eye on when the Ally Pally opens its gates in December.

Vincent van der Voort v Max Hopp

Van der Voort may be the seeded player in this match, but he has it all to do if he’s to beat 20-year-old Hopp and progress to the second round.

The Maximiser has had a great year so far, reaching the Last 16 of the European Championship in October. And he’ll be looking to better his first round exit in this tournament last year.

Granted, he lost to the Dutch Destroyer 4-0 in the second round of the Worlds two years ago, but he’s come a long way since then, and his opponent hasn’t had the best of times at the oche of late.

At 5/4, we reckon the value here is with Hopp.

Michael Smith v Ricky Evans

Blink and you’ll miss this one.

Smith and Evans are two of the fastest throwers on the circuit, and we’re expecting the maximums to come thick and fast.

Smith has had a fairly quiet year, but he did reach the Quarter Final last year, losing to Raymond van Barneveld.

And he heads into this one with a 100 per cent win record over Evans in six meetings. Bully Boy couldn’t have wished for a better opponent to get him in the mood for the tournament.

He’s rightly the 4/11 favourite to make it seven from seven against Rapid.

Justin Pipe v Chris Dobey

Pipe will look to frustrate Dobey from the offset in this match, and he knows he’s got a real challenge on his hands if he’s to stand any chance of progressing to the second stage of the competition for the first time since 2014.

Ask any of the leading players currently on the circuit who their one to watch is and they’ll tell you it’s Chris Dobey.

The 26-year-old reached the Quarter Final of the Grand Slam of Darts earlier in November, and despite being 21 places behind his opponent in the PDC Order of Merit, both men are priced at 10/11 to win this match. That emphasises just how far Hollywood has come in the last year or so.

We’re going with Dobey in this one, and we’ll be keeping an eye on him throughout the tournament.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Alex Apati

Having graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Creative Writing with English, Alex joined the News team following a three year stint working for Ladbrokes behind the counter. When he's not watching darts, he's throwing them. Failing that you'll find him YouTubeing Thierry Henry's greatest Arsenal goals.