Michael van Gerwen vs James Wade
Wade scraped past Wes Newton into the semi-final despite a pretty unremarkable season so far – this being the first time in six years that he’s not won a major title – but the grit shown to get to this stage makes him a tempting outside shout to make the final, at 7/2.
To do that though, he’s going to have to knock out a man in form. Dutchman Michael van Gerwen was installed as the tournament favourite, at 6/4, immediately after a sensational 5-4 quarter-final defeat of reigning champ Adrian Lewis. Van Gerwen is 1/5 on to win this evening’s clash.
While the 23-year-old is the man in form, it is his first appearance at this stage and Wade does have experience on his side.
“The Machine” also has the edge in their head-to-heads so far, having won seven times compared to the Dutchman’s two victories in all competitions, with their only previous meeting at the World Championships a 4-2 win for Wade in 2009.
Crucially, Wade also won their last televised encounter – a 16-13 World Matchplay win earlier this year. Wade to win 6-5 is 11/1, though those who remain unconvinced can get more value on the Dutchman by backing van Gerwen in the handicap betting (-2.5) at 4/6.
Phil Taylor vs Raymond van Barneveld
These two giants clash in tonight’s second semi-final – scheduled for 21.15 – with a mouth-watering tussle in prospect.
These two rarely disappoint when facing each other and it’s unsurprising given the pedigree on show – between them they share 20 World Championship titles.
Taylor, with 15 titles to his name, is the favourite at 8/15, with an attractive 6/4 on offer for those who fancy Barney’s chances of an upset.
Both are in great form. Taylor dropped just two legs in a demolition of last year’s finalist Andy Hamilton 5-0 on Friday, while Barneveld was similarly emphatic in a 5-1 defeat of Aussie Simon Whitlock, boasting an average of 102.32.
This will be the third time the two have met on the World Championship stage, with their first ever encounter one of the most memorable of all time – a 7-6 win for Barney in the 2007 final. Taylor famously gained ruthless revenge two years later with a 7-1 victory on the very same stage, a result that Taylor believes has knocked Barney’s confidence since.
And it’s hard to argue with the stats, since that humbling at Ally Pally, the Dutchman has beaten Taylor only twice in 21 attempts in all competitions. It’s therefore hard to look past the 15-time champ, but with Taylor himself admitting that Barney has been the player of the tournament so far, another classic looks on the cards.
Taylor to win 6-5 is available at 6/1, while 12/1 is on offer for a 9-dart finish, and 5/1 for a 170 check out, with both players more than capable of producing either on the big stage.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.