This weekend sees the return of some of the finest darts players on the PDC circuit to our screens, and there’s a new tournament for us to get our heads around. It’s the Champions League of Darts.
You heard it right, the Champions League of Darts will see the top eight players in the world according to the PDC Order of Merit face each other for a cool £100k prize cheque. The players will be split into two groups and the winners and runners-up from each group will progress to the semi-final.
We thought we’d assess each player competing and compare them to a current Champions League football team.
So, who’s our Real Madrid, and who’s the rank outsider? Find out below…
Michael van Gerwen – Barcelona
Like the Catalan giants, when MVG is on form, he’s simply unplayable. A joy to watch, and arguably the best player in darts history, the 27-year-old heads into the Champions League as the 8/11 favourite.
Gary Anderson – Bayern Munich
The reigning World Champion is one of the most feared names in the sport. His natural ability has seen him win the most coveted darts prize for two consecutive years, and the world number two goes into this tournament as a 5/1 outsider. But write him off at your peril, as this guy has all the pedigree associated with the Bavarian giants.
Adrian Lewis – PSG
Had it not have been for the emergence of Michael van Gerwen, there’s no question Adrian Lewis would have been the one pushing Phil Taylor. Jackpot has two World Championship titles to his name and is undoubtedly one of the most technically gifted throwers in the game.
He’s always there or thereabouts, but he’s been somewhat in the shadows of MVG and the Power.
Phil Taylor – Real Madrid
Similarly to Los Blancos, Taylor has been a leading figure in his respective sport for what feels like forever. He refuses to be brushed aside and is probably the most recognisable face in the sport. It’s 5/1 for the Power to add a new trophy to his cabinet this weekend.
Peter Wright – Borussia Dortmund
Wright emerged from nowhere back in 2014, where he was just one game away from really making a name for himself in the sport by winning the biggest title of them all.
Likewise, just eight months before, Dortmund were one game away from the biggest prize in their sport, the Champions League. While he’s yet to win a major trophy, he has maintained his status as one of the biggest names in darts and is a real crowd favourite.
James Wade – Arsenal
The Machine always manages to find a way to make it to the major events on the circuit, although he’s gone a few years without winning anything substantial. Technically he’s excellent, but he often struggles to keep up with the big boys.
If you know of Wade’s capabilities, it makes him even more frustrating to watch when he’s not playing well. Another major trophy will come though, eventually, for both the Gooners and Wade.
Robert Thornton – Leicester City
There’s no questioning Thornton’s ability. This is a man who has consistently been a thorn in some of the bigger players’ sides. But this is the Champions League, and like Leicester City, it may be a level too high for the 49-year-old to be competing in.
Although at 66/1, there’s certainly some value in backing the Scot if you think he can mirror the Leicester fairytale.
Michael Smith – Manchester City
Ask any of the top players who they think will be challenging for the major trophies in the next few years and they’ll all mention Smith’s name. Likewise, the same could be said about Manchester City in the world of football. Similarly to the Citizens, Bully is certainly exciting to watch, but he’s yet to prove himself against the finest talents in the world on a consistent basis.
Could this be his and City’s year?
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing