Any self-respecting punter loves a clear trend or pattern that enables them to bet with greater confidence, and although the data set is quite small in this particular example there is growing evidence to suggest that Michael Van Gerwen will run away with the PDC Masters, which will be held at Milton Keynes’ Stadium:MK on the weekend of January 30-31.
If we rewind the clock a little to the early part of January 2015, we may remember Gary Anderson defeating Van Gerwen in the semi-final of the World Championship; a devastating blow for the Dutchman who was looking to defend the crown he had won so spectacularly 12 months previously.
Bloodied but unbowed, MVG proceeded to dust himself down in time for the Masters – the first occasion on which it has been held in January – and demolished all who stood in front of him. His stats were incredible that weekend: a tournament average of 103.64 backed by a three dart return of 112.49 in the shellacking of Raymond Van Barneveld in the final. Anderson, meanwhile, coughed and spluttered his way to the last four, averaging in the low 90s along the way. That was evidence of the Flying Scotsman’s ‘champions’ hangover’.
If we fast forward to the present day like some kind of darting Marty McFly, a similar trend seems to be playing out once again: Anderson prevailed for a second time at the World Championships with Van Gerwen knocked out rather prematurely.
And so the 26-year-old will be hoping that history repeats itself again in 2016 – last year’s Masters triumph sparked a stellar year in which MVG bagged 13 ranking event titles; the most decorated calendar year in the PDC’s history. This is a guy who simply loves winning.
Looking at his draw here, you would anticipate that further victories are in the offing. He opens up the defence of his crown against Stephen Bunting; a player he has beaten in each of their last seven meetings. A win against the Bullet would set up a second round date with either Michael Smith or Raymond Van Barneveld; both tricky opponents in this short format but two players who MVG would fancy beating.
So take the 18/5 on Van Gerwen to retain his Masters crown, or – if you’re feeling low on confidence – even the 10/11 on him to reach the final looks good money given he was around that price just to win the World Championship.
The field in this tournament is made up of the sixteen best players in the world, so there is little obvious value or easy money to be enjoyed.
Punters will tuck into the 4/9 offered on Peter Wright – so impressive at the Worlds – to overcome an out-of-sorts Ian White, while many will assume that Phil Taylor will be itching to exact revenge upon his World Championship conqueror, Jelle Klaasen, here. The Power is available at 2/5.
Pop that pair in a four-fold along with Over 15.5 Legs in the Smith v Van Barneveld and Wade v Jenkins matches, and your coupon will return a none-too-shabby 3/1.