Longer format means Taylor still the man to beat at World Matchplay

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Given that Phil Taylor has won 11 of the 13 renewals of the World Matchplay darts this century and all of the last five, it is somewhat surprisingly that he is not the outright favourite for victory.

Instead, he disputes 5/2 favouritism with Michael van Gerwen, a Dutchman that has enjoyed some spectacular form in 2013, but has seen a dip in performance lately and has no Blackpool pedigree to his name.

Van Gerwen has never previously been beyond the quarter finals of the World Matchplay, with the longer format of the tournament not playing to his strengths.

The 24-year-old tends to play in bursts of unstoppable form that is often too much for the opposition in matches involving fewer legs, which he proved when winning the Premier League in May.

This was one of five successive tournament victories for Van Gerwen, but he has not progressed past the semi finals in his last two major starts in the UK Open or the European Championships.

It was Taylor that triumphed in the UK Open and he has been on the winner’s podium against since in a tournament in Gibraltar.

But his record in Blackpool stands out like a sore thumb and if ever there was an example of horses for courses, then Taylor is the perfect example in the World Matchplay.

Punters wanting a longer-priced option are certainly best served looking for a player in Van Gerwen’s half of the draw, so that they avoid Taylor until the final.

Jamie Caven would have gained a substantial confidence boost by white-washing Dave Chisnall and then hammering James Wade at the European Championships, before throwing away victory from an advantageous position against Simon Whitlock in the quarter finals.

If he plays to a similar level in Blackpool he could prove one to watch and he is 50/1 to win the World Matchplay, with each-way bets paying the first two.

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

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.