Who Are The Favourites for the PDC World Darts Championships 2019?

On Thursday 13th December, the 2019 PDC World Darts Championship gets underway at the Alexandra Palace in London. This year, the tournament has been extended to include a record 96 players, two of them women, who will all be chasing the winner’s cheque of £500,000 out of a total prize pool of £2,500,000.

The defending champion from the 2018 tournament is Englishman Rob Cross who produced a stunning performance in the tournament last year to defeat, amongst others, Michael Smith, Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor in the final to earn his first World Championship title.

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This year’s tournament promises to be equally exciting and there is already plenty of money being wagered on who the eventual winner will be, with Dutchman and current World Number 1, Michael van Gerwen, a two-time World Champion, the clear favourite.

Remember, if you fancy a flutter on who will win the World Championship when the final is contested on the 1st January 2019, then bet365 Sport offers a great place to bet. New customers can sign up with the current bet365 Sport New Customer Bonus, which offers up to £100 in bet credits.

So who are the players the bookmakers think are in with the best chance of landing the win at the “Ally Pally” over the next month or so of top darts action? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

PDC World Darts Championship – The Main Contenders

The seeding for the player in the tournament is shown in brackets.

Michael van Gerwen (1)

No player can match up to the achievements of Michael van Gerwen in the last few years. He may only have two World titles to his name, but he has amassed 29 PDC Major titles in his career thus far. The Dutchman is on his way to becoming a legend in the game and he is already the youngest player to hit a televised nine dart finish, when he achieved the feat against Raymond van Barneveld in the Masters of Darts tournament in 2007.

If he is in form, there are perhaps just one, maybe two players that can live with van Gerwen on his day, but there are cracks showing in his performances of late, his defeat to Daryl Gurney at the recent Players Championship finals being a case in point. He has also seen other big tournaments go the way of other players throughout the course of the year.

However, come the World Championships, van Gerwen will still be the man to beat.

Gary Anderson (4)

Gary Anderson has racked up four PDC Premier event wins this season at the World Matchplay, Grand Slam of Darts, UK Open and the Champions League and on his day, the Flying Scotsman, along with Michael van Gerwen, is the most naturally gifted darts player on the planet.

The Scotsman has had a few issues of late, with the rather amusing ‘breaking wind” incident at the Players Championship, and then a run in when losing to Gerwyn Price in the final of that tournament. Anderson is also known for struggling with his doubles at times, which can be an issue in close games.

That said, in terms of pure talent, there’s only van Gerwen to match Anderson and should the two come face to face at the World Championships, as they are scheduled to do at the semifinal stage, you could have a game for the ages to enjoy.

Rob Cross (2)

The Englishman may be the current World Champion, but in truth his form since lifting the trophy at the start of 2018 hasn’t been particularly strong with a number of second round and first round defeats in the big events marring his season.

Cross will need to find his very best form if he is to live up to his second seed spot in the tournament but in truth, I feel that Cross may struggle to get through past the fourth round given that he is in a very competitive section of the draw, not just with other seeds, but against some other very talented lower ranked players too.

Peter Wright (3)

It is fair to say that Peter Wright hasn’t found his best form at the World Championship ever since he lost the 2014 final to Michael van Gerwen. He lost last year to Jamie Lewis in the second round and has also lost twice to Gary Anderson in the intervening years too. Wright, a flamboyant character with his unusual dress sense and hair styles, is one of the more consistent performers and does have a good record against top players in shorter style games.

His issue seems to be in longer matches, as you get the World Championships, where he has struggled to match that level of consistency against the top players. He has also a losing record to break having won just once in nine Major PDC Finals, losing the other eight, six of them to Michael van Gerwen.

The last thing Wright fans are going to want to see is the Dutchman waiting in the final for the Scotsman once again come January 1st 2019.

James Wade (9)

A three-time semi-finalist at the World Championships, James Wade had seemingly lost his way in the darting world at the start of 2018. Denied a place in the Premier League due to a lack of form, Wade’s start to the season was hardly spectacular, losing to Keegan Brown in the first round of last year’s World Championship.

However since then, he has found better form, particularly on the European Tour and Players Championship events. Following the birth of his son Arthur earlier in the year, Wade then won his 9th Major Tournament, defeating Simon Whitlock in the final of the 2018 European Championship and then just a couple of weeks later, he defeated Michael Smith in a dramatic final of the World Series of Darts to rack up two wins in as many tournaments.

Wade’s experience and form mean that of the players ranked outside of the top four, he is arguably the best bet to make it deep into the tournament.

Dmitri Van den Berg (36)

Although he isn’t ranked inside the top 32 for this event, Belgian Dmitri Van den Berg was one of the stars of last years tournament as he beat Stephen Bunting, Jan Dekker and Mensur Suljovic before he was eliminated after a 5-4 defeat to eventual champion Rob Cross.

Van den Bergh is also a two-time World Youth Champion and a two-time winner on the PDC Development tour this season. He has taken on, and beaten, many of the top names in World Darts in his career already and at just 24, he is one of the leading lights of the new generation of European-based darts stars. This could well be another year where Van den Bergh is one to watch at the Alexandra Palace.