US Darts Masters Preview: Can anyone stop van Gerwen in Las Vegas?
Darts returns to the City of Lights on Friday night as eight of the world’s top players compete against the best America has to offer in the US Masters.
There were shocks aplenty in Sin City 12 months ago as Dawson Murschell and Dave Richardson upset PDC invitees James Wade and Max Hopp in the first round.
As is so often the case, though, Michael van Gerwen was left ruling the roost after defeating Daryl Gurney 8-6 in the final at the Mandalay Bay to take home the £20,000 winners’ cheque.
Unsurprisingly, MVG is once again the odds-on favourite for this year’s event at 4/7.
The Dutchman has won 15 PDC events since defeat in the World Championship semi-final. He topped off a recent success in the European Matchplay with a nine-dart finish to boot.
Can anyone stop the Green Machine in Vegas?
Our traders make Gary Anderson his most likely challenger at 6/1. The Flying Scotsman fell at the semi-final stage 12 months ago but does have five World Series titles under his belt since 2016.
He’s closely followed by reigning world champion Rob Cross at 13/2. Voltage hasn’t looked quite himself since his Alexandra Palace success and will do well to win just a second tournament since his January triumph.
Peter Wright is in a similar rut after a horror showing in the Premier League. The world number two won just four matches during the three-month roadshow.
His form over the shorter format has improved steadily since then which makes him an interesting each-way play at 7/1.
That leads us on nicely to Michael Smith at 16/1. Bully Boy excelled in the Premier League and has shown a real liking for the shorter format when the television cameras are present.
The atmosphere won’t be quite as raucous in Las Vegas. But Smith certainly has the game to mount a significant challenge and make his first World Series final.
Canadian arrowsmith Murschell impressed here last year and has been plying his trade on the PDC Development Tour in the UK. He could cause a minor upset depending on his first round draw.
Click here for the latest US Masters odds.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication