After setting the 2015 darting season off with a bang at the World Championships at Alexandra Palace, the world’s best tungsten ticklers return from a near-month long break for the Masters in Milton Keynes.
As is commonplace with darts tournaments featuring a high-class field, the first six in the betting all come from the top six in the PDC’s Order of Merit.
Could this be the year that an outsider triumphs in the two-year old event though? We take a look at three possible candidates:
The Scottish world number 8 was on fire at the World Championships, reaching the quarter finals without dropping a single set, but was put out by Michael van Gerwen at that point, losing 5-2.
Even though he lost, Thornton can be buoyed by his display against the Dutchman, rallying from three-sets-to-nil down and averaging over 100, hitting 14 maximums in that time.
Of the outsiders in the Masters betting the 47-year-old has the best form and reached the quarter finals in the competition in 2013.
Unlike Thornton, Whitlock has next-to-no form to speak of ahead of the Milton Keynes event.
The Australian suffered the ignominy of being dumped out in the first round at Alexandra Palace over the festive period and has only managed to reach the semi-final stages once in his last nine tournaments.
A first-round draw against Raymond van Barneveld is something of a lifeline considering the Dutchman’s uncanny ability to blow hot and cold and a victory could be the inspiration for Whitlock’s return to form.
The History Maker was a first-round casualty in this event last year, but stands a chance of bettering that with a tie against Peter Wright this time, who he has beaten four times in 10 meetings.
A three-win 2014 was the best return of Dolan’s PDC career and he’ll be looking to build on that with a deep run in the Masters.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £25 in free bets.