With 25 of the 32 First Round PDC World Darts Championship matches having already been played, we’re beginning to see a theme occurring. To put it short, the favourites simply aren’t losing.
But with so many players clearly on top of their game right now, why is Michael van Gerwen still odds-on at 4/6 to lift the trophy?
Here at Ladbrokes News we’ve taken a look at the Dutchman’s potential route to the final, to see if he still represents some value.
After breezing through his First Round match against Kim Vijanen 3-0, Mighty Mike will meet Cristo Reyes next.
The pair are yet to meet this year, but MVG is the huge favourite at 1/66 to come out on top in this one. Reyes hasn’t had the worst of years, but there’s simply no way he can match Van Gerwen over the course of potentially seven sets.
The following round is where things start getting tricky for MVG, as he’ll face either Darren Webster or Simon Whitlock in round three.
Both have threatened to knock Van Gerwen off his perch in recent weeks. Whitlock was one dart away from knocking the Dutchman out of the European Championship, while Webster stormed into a 6-0 lead against his potential opponent at the Players Championship Finals last month.
The Webster v Whitlock match really could go either way, but both players will feel confident of causing an upset in the following round, should they progress.
It’s also worth noting that of his nine previous appearances at the Ally Pally, Van Gerwen has only reached the last-eight on three occasions. Not great figures from the world number one.
But if he was to progress to the Quarter-final this year, he’d then potentially face Daryl Gurney, Robert Thornton, Mark Webster or, most likely, Mensur Suljovic.
None of those four players are pushovers, and Suljovic has come on leaps and bounds in the last 12 months, and is arguably one of the most feared names on the circuit right now.
After a potentially gruelling best of nine-set game against one of those four names comes what will undoubtedly be Mighty Mike’s biggest test of the tournament.
Some of the players he could come up against in the semis are simply frightening. It’s by far the toughest of all the quarters, with the likes of Joe Cullen, Adrian Lewis, Raymond van Barneveld and Phil Taylor all looking to progress to the final.
In fact, the latter three names have won 18 of the previous 23 PDC World Darts Championship titles.
Each player has a point to prove this year, and MVG will know not to underestimate any of them, especially given that whoever he does come up against will have had to have defeated the other names in that quarter – so they’ll certainly be confident of going all the way.
But let’s say the 27-year-old comes through that test unscathed – who might he meet in the final?
The bottom two quarters of this tournament include the likes of Gary Anderson, Peter Wright, Jelle Klaasen and Michael Smith. On their day, the latter two can beat anyone in the world. But it’s the two Scots who Van Gerwen will be worrying about the most.
Anderson, of course, is looking to become just the second man to win this tournament three times, having lifted the trophy in 2015 and 2016 respectively, while Wright has already featured in six finals this year. He’ll also be looking to win his first major ranking event, confident of beating anyone who he steps up to the oche against.
He may have already won a record-breaking 25 titles this year, but there’s plenty to suggest someone could pip Michael van Gerwen to the first major trophy of 2017.
And it’s 11/10 for The Field to beat Van Gerwen, cracking value if you ask us.
Click here for a full list of odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing