Darts is back on Sky Sports this weekend as 32 of the world’s best take to the socially-distanced oche for the 2020 World Matchplay in Milton Keynes.
Current restrictions mean that the second-most famous trophy in the sport is being played away from the Winter Gardens in Blackpool for the very first time in its history.
And while the venue may be different, the betting remains pretty much the same. Michael van Gerwen is the 13/8 favourite ahead of world champion Peter Wright at 5/1 and Gerwyn Price at 11/2.
There’s then a break to Gary Anderson and Nathan Aspinall, both at 12s, before Rob Cross and Michael Smith at 20/1 and 22/1 respectively.
Those magnificent seven make up the top of the betting, so who’s interesting at a bigger price? We’ve taken a look at five potential outsiders.
On the face of it you wouldn’t call a three-time world champion an outsider for the tournament. But take a look at his odds, and a price of 25/1 suggests our traders regard him as such.
Don’t be fooled, though, because Duzza is all class. The 49-year-old only joined the PDC at the beginning of 2019 and has already popped up in three major semi-finals, including at the Winter Gardens 12 months ago.
He was also top of the Premier League before the coronavirus crisis hit, taking points off Gerwyn Price, Gary Anderson and Michael Smith among others. He’ll be relishing this opportunity in Milton Keynes.
James Wade (33/1)
Wade insisted recently that he can still win major titles, and we believe him. The Machine isn’t always in perfect working order, but he warmed up for this by routing Rob Cross in a Summer Series event last week.
That victory came behind closed-doors, and with Wade not always earning the respect from the crowd that his game perhaps deserves, the lack of an audience in Milton Keynes could hold him in good stead
He has a love affair with this tournament too. The 37-year-old has reached the Matchplay final an incredible six times. Even if he doesn’t win it this time around, we make him a 14/1 shot to reach the last-two.
Jose de Sousa (50/1)
Portugal probably isn’t the first country you think of when it comes to the nationality of a Matchplay contender. In fact, it’s probably not the second, third, fourth or fifth either.
But write off The Special One as your peril. While the 46-year-old may not be quite as outspoken as Jose Mourinho, he certainly has the game to back up the nickname.
De Sousa won a pair of Players Championship events in 2019 and hit the most 100+ averages by a single player in the recent Summer Series. If he can put it together on TV for the first time, he’s a danger.
German Giant Clemens has slowly been making a name for himself since switching to the PDC in 2018 with a string of impressive performances both on the TV and in the Players Championship.
His best result to date came in the 2019 German Masters when he narrowly lost out to Peter Wright in the final, and he looks spot on for the Matchplay after producing a good showing in the Summer Series.
He’s capable of doing some serious damage in the tournament, but he’ll need to overcome reigning champion Rob Cross in round one first.
Jonny Clayton (66/1)
Welshman Jonny Clayton was in decent nick before coronavirus came along. The Ferret made the semi-final of the Ladbrokes Masters and followed it up with a quarter-final appearance in the Ladbrokes UK Open.
He resumed his season with some big averages and impressive finishing in the Summer Series last week without troubling the latter rounds of the five-day tournament.
Clayton is often a player who throws hot and cold, and we’re hoping he shows what he’s capable of in round one against Michael Smith.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication