After what feels like an eternity, it’s finally time for the Darts and Alexandra Palace to be reunited for the World Championships.
This year’s three-week feast of tungsten, treble 20s, bullseyes and who knows what else is poised to be a corker.
Will Michael van Gerwen come good on his favourite status? Will Scottish duo Gary Anderson or Peter Wright get the better of him? Or can Rob Cross successfully defend the title he famously won last time around?
All that and more will be revealed over the next few weeks as an expanded 96 players take to the famous oche this December.
It all kicks off tonight, with three first round matches, before reigning champ Cross steps up for the tournament’s first round two clash.
Jeffrey de Zwaan v Nitin Kumar
Dutchman Jeffrey de Zwaan is one to watch. He’s already been picked out as a potential winner of Quarter 3.
The Black Cobra has beaten MVG twice this year, and reached the last four of the World Matchplay in Blackpool.
This will be only the 22-year-old’s second appearance at Ally Pally. He lost 3-2 to Michael Smith in the first round three years ago.
Now a far more polished performer, De Zwaan should have little problem at 1/50 to see off Indian qualifier Nitin Kumar.
Kumar is a 14/1 outlier, and the winner of this plays Cross in the night’s final match.
Martin Schindler v Cody Harris
We should have a far more competitive time of things in the evening’s second contest as Germany’s Martin Schindler meets Australian Cody Harris.
Both men made their Ally Pally debuts 12 months ago, and both lost 3-1 in their first round matches.
So at least one of them will make it to the second stage tonight. Schindler is 4/7 favourite, and is ranked more than 100 places higher than his Aussie opponent.
Jan Dekker v Lisa Ashton
There’ll be plenty of attention on this one, as reigning BDO women’s champion Lisa Ashton makes her PDC Worlds debut.
The Lancashire Rose takes on the Netherland’s Jan Dekker, and she’s 5/2 to make it a successful bow at Ally Pally.
Dekker knows his way around the oche though. He’s a former semi-finalist at Frimley Green, and reached the second round in North London last year.
Double Dekker is 3/10 favourite, but don’t be surprised if Ashton grabs a set along the way.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing