Phil Taylor’s near capitulation against Raymond van Barneveld will give Michael van Gerwen a big boost ahead of his maiden final at the Ladbrokes World Darts Championships.
The Dutch star has been undoubtedly the player of the tournament to date and few would argue that he would be an unworthy winner of the Sid Waddell trophy. He’s priced up as the 1/1 underdog for victory, though only just in the wake of Phil Taylor’s 4/5.
It’s the Power’s experience on the grandest stage of them all that has granted him this favouritism as he bids for world crown number 16, but he is sure to have the crowd on his back for the second night running at the Ally Pally.
He was clearly perturbed by the raucous support which Barney received as he mounted a comeback in the semi, culminating in him throwing his toys out of the pram in the most ungracious of victories.
Van Gerwen has been improving with every game and his performances in the quarter and semi finals were a joy to behold.
He was a whisker away from becoming the first man to hit successive nine-dart finishes when he beat James Wade and the 9/1 that says he’ll produce another in the final could be worth a punt.
His maximum scoring has been a joy to behold and will be the key to any victory he intends to mastermind over Taylor here. He slammed an impressive 14 180’s in the semis and can be backed at 5/6 to hit more than 13.5 once more in the final.
If Mighty Mike can apply this sort of pressure consistently throughout the match then he’s sure to unsettle Taylor in the same way that Barney did.
But, as the Power will testify, it’s trebles for show and doubles for dough in this game so back the world’s greatest dartsmith to clean up in the checkout markets.
Even with an unsteady hand, the world number one was still managing to take out crucial finishes when it mattered most and it’s a shoo-in that his 5/6 pricing to take out over 136.5 will come good.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date