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Who Are The Main Contenders To Win The PDC World Darts Championship 2018?


This coming week on Thursday evening, the 2018 PDC World Darts Championship gets underway at the Alexandra Palace (or Ally Pally as it becomes known for the next few weeks) in London with 72 of the world’s finest players competing to become the 2018 PDC World Darts Champion on January 1st 2018.

It is one of the biggest sporting events of the year and certainly one of the biggest over the Christmas and New Year period and it attracts plenty of top betting and of course, Coral Sports have brought you all the major bets that you need to enjoy this event to the full, both with pre-match betting and also with extensive In-Play betting options.

In this article, we are going to preview the event by looking at the 32 top seeds who have earned their place in the first round, as well as a look at six players who are most likely to be lifting the covered trophy on the 1st January 2018.

Let’s begin by reviewing the current top 32 in the PDC World Darts Rankings for the World Championship.

The Current PDC World Darts Rankings Table

Rank Name Rank Name Rank Name Rank Name
1 Michael van Gerwen 9 Raymond van Barneveld 17 Ian White 25 Steve Beaton
2 Peter Wright 10 Simon Whitlock 18 Kim Huybrechts 26 Cristo Reyes
3 Gary Anderson 11 James Wade 19 Joe Cullen 27 Justin Pipe
4 Daryl Gurney 12 Jelle Klaasen 20 Rob Cross 28 Rob Thornton
5 Mensur Suljovic 13 Michael Smith 21 Stephen Bunting 29 John Henderson
6 Phil Taylor 14 Benito van de Pas 22 Mervyn King 30 Mark Webster
7 Adrian Lewis 15 Alan Norris 23 Darren Webster 31 Jonny Clayton
8 Dave Chisnall 16 Gerwyn Price 24 Kyle Anderson 32 James Wilson

Players to have caught the eye this season include Peter Wright, whose consistency has seen him move into second in the rankings ahead of compatriot Gary Anderson. Daryl Gurney has enjoyed a fantastic year culminating in his win in Dublin at the World Grand Prix while there have been improvements in form for the likes of Simon Whitlock and Jelle Klaasen.

Rob Cross is one to watch, the current 20th seed is playing well above that level at the moment and has rocketed through the PDC rankings in his first year on tour and he is certainly one to watch, while Mensur Suljovic has earned his fifth seed spot after winnign his first ever major in this year’s Champions League, although he has never got beyond the Last 16 at the World Championships.

Who can be the 2018 PDC World Darts Champion and what are their odds?

Outlined below we have listed six of the main contenders for this year’s PDC World Darts title together with their odds and the reasons why this could well be their year.

  • Michael Van Gerwen: (Netherlands) – Odds with Coral – 8/11 Favourite

Nickname: Mighty Mike

Major Career Wins: 26 in total

  • World Champion – (2) – 2014, 2017
  • World Matchplay – (2) – 2015, 2016
  • World Grand Prix – (3) – 2012, 2014, 2016
  • Grand Slam of Darts – (3) – 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Premier League – (3) – 2013, 2016, 2017
  • European Championship – (4) – 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • UK Open – (2) – 2015, 2016
  • Players Championship – (4) – 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • The Masters – (3) – 2015, 2016, 2017

Mighty Mike has been the player to beat for the past three years or more and has been almost unbeatable at times. His record over recent seasons makes him the massive favourite for this event and many experts reckon that he is a shoe-in for his third World Championship title. However, he is fallible, especially in the early rounds and his First Round tie with Christian Kist could be a tough examination for him if he suffers from a slow start. If he gets beyond that though a favourable draw should see him through to the final where he will fancy his chances against anybody.

  • Gary Anderson: (Scotland) – Odds with Coral – 13/2

Nickname: The Flying Scotsman

Major Career Wins: 5 in total

  • World Champion – (2) – 2015, 2016
  • World Matchplay – (0) – Semi Finalist in 2014 and 2016
  • World Grand Prix – (0) – Runner Up in 2016
  • Grand Slam of Darts – (0) – Runner Up in 2011
  • Premier League – (2) – 2011, 2015
  • European Championship – (0) – Runner Up in 2015
  • UK Open – (0) – Runner Up in 2010
  • Players Championship – (1) – 2014
  • The Masters – (0) – Runner Up in 2017

In terms of sheer talent, only Gary Anderson of the current crop of darting superstars could conceivably match Van Gerwen at his very best. With Phil Taylor set to retire, Anderson’s ability with the darts to score highly always makes him a threat. He’s a two-time World Champion but has often been the bridesmaid over the past few years to Van Gerwen. The Ally Pally tends to bring the best out of Anderson however but Anderson could face a tough first round opponent if BDO finalist Jeff Smith managed to get past Luke Humphries in the Preliminary Round.  He also is in the much tougher part of the draw.

  • Peter Wright: (Scotland) – Odds with Coral – 10/1

Nickname: Snakebite

Major Career Wins: 1 in total

  • World Champion – (0) – Runner Up 2014
  • World Matchplay – (0) – Runner Up 2017
  • World Grand Prix – (0) – Quarter Finalist 2017
  • Grand Slam of Darts – (0) – Runner Up 2017
  • Premier League – (0) – Runner Up 2017
  • European Championship – (0) – Semi Finalist 2015, 2016
  • UK Open – (1) – 2017
  • Players Championship – (0) – Semi Finalist 2016
  • The Masters – (0) – Quarter Finalist 2015, 2016 and 2017

When it comes to consistency, few players can match Peter “Snakebite” Wright. His exotic hairdo’s and unusual apparel may draw attention to the man, but his skills with a dart should not be overlooked. He is without doubt, along with Van Gerwen, the most consistent player on tour as his record shows, but he does seem to struggle converting these strong performances into tournament wins. He is a finalist at the Alexandra Palace before, but was well beaten by Van Gerwen in that final. He has broken his major duck with a win at the UK Open this year however and the confidence from that has seen him reach second in the World Rankings. He will be one of the toughest players to beat in this year’s event for any player. He begins with a first round tie against Brazil’s Diogo Portela.

  • Phil Taylor: (England) – Odds with Coral – 12/1

Nickname: The Power

Major Career Wins: 66 in total

  • World Champion – (14) – 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013
  • World Matchplay – (16) – 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017
  • World Grand Prix – (11) – 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013
  • Grand Slam of Darts – (6) – 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014
  • Premier League – (6) – 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012
  • European Championship – (4) – 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
  • UK Open – (5) – 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2013
  • Players Championship – (3) – 2009, 2011, 2012
  • The Masters – (1) – 2013

It is the end of an era for a man who is simply a darting legend. Phil “The Power” Taylor has set records that will likely never be broken, even by a player as talented and dominant as Michael Van Gerwen, and this is his farewell tournament in a year that has seen him claim his 16th World Matchplay title. If Taylor can control his emotions, he should go well here, but he is in a tough part of the draw with Adrian Lewis, Peter Wright and Gary Anderson all potential future opponents. At his best, Taylor would have been Van Gerwen’s nemesis, but as he reaches retirement he is perhaps a tad below that level. Can he raise the game to finish with a remarkable 15th PDC World title? Taylor begins his quest against Chris Dobey in the First Round.

  • Rob Cross: (England) – Odds with Coral – 12/1

Nickname: Voltage

Major Career Wins: 0 in total

  • World Champion – (0) – Never Competed
  • World Matchplay – (0) – Last 16 in 2017
  • World Grand Prix – (0) – Last 32 in 2017
  • Grand Slam of Darts – (0) – Quarter Finalist 2017
  • Premier League – (0) – Never Competed
  • European Championship – (0) – Runner Up 2017
  • UK Open – (0) – Last 16 2017
  • Players Championship – (0) – Semi Final 2017
  • The Masters – (0) – Never Competed

Rob “Voltage” Cross has enjoyed a stellar first year on the PDC Tour performing superbly in many events and shaking the established players up with his performances. Already ranked 20th, he is likely to rise much higher if he can continue his recent form into his first ever World Championship event. Winning may be a bit too soon for the newcomer, but expect him to go far in the event and reach at least the quarter finals. He starts against either Seigo Asada or Gordon Mathers in the opening round.

  • Adrian Lewis: (England) – Odds with Coral – 33/1

Nickname: Jackpot

Major Career Wins: 4 in total

  • World Champion – (2) – 2011, 2012
  • World Matchplay – (0) – Runner Up 2013
  • World Grand Prix – (0) – Runner Up 2010
  • Grand Slam of Darts – (0) – Semi Finalist 2011, 2013
  • Premier League – (0) – Runner Up 2011
  • European Championship – (1) – 2013
  • UK Open – (1) – 2014
  • Players Championship – (0) – Runner Up 2014, 2015
  • The Masters – (0) – Runner Up 2013

It hasn’t been a great year for Adrian “Jackpot” Lewis as he has struggled for form and consistency but there is something aboyt this event that tends to bring out the best in him. At his best, he can rival Anderson, Wright and even Van Gerwen for scoring power and finishing, as he did when he became a two-time World Champion in 2011 and 2012. He will start against Alexander Oreshkin or Kevin Munch in the opening round. Can Lewis get his best form back in time for this year’s event?