Last year’s World Matchplay Darts saw Phil Taylor’s seven-year unbeaten run in the tournament come to an abrupt end following a 17-14 semi-final defeat to James Wade.
The subsequent final saw Michael van Gerwen add another trophy to his cabinet as he came out an 18-12 winner against The Machine.
But don’t let that put you off backing him this time around, as the history books suggest this is Wade’s favourite competition.
Considered by many as the second biggest darting event after the World Championships, Wade’s record at the Matchplay is hard to ignore, reaching at least the quarter finals in every year he’s participated and winning it back in 2007.
He kicks off the search for his second World Matchplay trophy against world number 18 Mervyn King.
These pair have only met three times in major ranking events, with Wade winning two of them. In fact, one of Wade’s victories came on his way to winning the trophy back in 2007.
It’s hard to look past the 2/7 on The Machine to come out on top against The King (11/4) in his first round match, and as we’re paying ½ the odds on each-way betting in the outright market, Wade at 25/1 is certainly good value.
Elsewhere in the first round, MVG faces Leicester-born Jamie Caven as he looks to retain his crown.
Meanwhile, Phil Taylor will be looking to get his hands on a trophy he’s already won a record 15 times and he faces former BDO player Robbie Green in round one.
The last time these two met was in last year’s Grand Slam of Darts, where The Power ended up grabbing a comfortable 5-2 victory.
World champion Gary Anderson meets Alan Norris, for who this is his first time at a World Matchplay event, while the stand-out first round fixture is between Adrian Lewis and Mark Webster.
Jackpot and The Spider have met 18 times in all events with Lewis winning 12 of them.
Full first round draw
Jelle Klaasen v Steve Beaton
Peter Wright v Joe Cullen
James Wade v Mervyn King
Gary Anderson v Alan Norris
Stephen Bunting v Mensur Suljovic
Ian White v Daryl Gurney
Dave Chisnall v Benito van de Pas
Kim Huybrechts v Gerwyn Price
Raymond van Barneveld v Brendan Dolan
Adrian Lewis v Mark Webster
Vincent van der Voort v Kyle Anderson
Phil Taylor v Robbie Green
Robert Thornton v Josh Payne
Terry Jenkins v Justin Pipe
Michael Smith v Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen v Jamie Caven
Click here for the latest World Matchplay odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.