If the words “….and England have won the World Cup” fill you with a sense of joy, then maybe now is the time to stop being a football fan and instead take up following the darts.
Why? Because England have won four of the last five editions of the World Cup of Darts.
The Three Lions’ job of defending the trophy in Germany between June 1-4 has been made harder by the absence of Phil Taylor, whose retirement announcement coincides with a trimming down of his schedule. Into the Power’s mighty shoes comes Dave Chisnall, who will make his World Cup debut alongside Adrian Lewis.
There have been six editions of the World Cup of Darts, with England winning four and the Netherlands the other two. The Dutch duo of Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld won this event in 2014, and they will be desperate to get their hands back on the trophy. They have been installed as the 7/5 favourites by the bookmakers.
But our fancy is for another pairing who, despite not always seeing eye to eye, are two of the finest tungsten tossers on the planet.
Wright and Anderson to Bury Hatchet for Scottish Glory
For king and for country, Peter Wright and Gary Anderson will put their issues to one side and line-up together for Scotland.
A much-publicised spat between the pair unfolded last year when Wright’s wife Jo insinuated that Anderson had thrown Premier League match against his friend Adie Lewis to ensure that the latter qualified for the semi-finals at the expense of Wright. Naturally, Anderson didn’t take too kindly to his professionalism being brought into question, and a full-on row ensued on – where else in this day and age – Twitter.
So it was no major surprise 12 months ago when Wright decided that he didn’t want to play with Anderson in the World Cup, and the next best Scot, Robert Thornton, took Snakebite’s place. They lost in the quarter finals.
The pair have decided to put their differences to one side in order to represent their country again – the last time they did so they reached the final of this event in 2015, and while we can only speculate on the nature of their ‘friendship’ we believe the dynamic could actually spur them on to greater things. Neither will want to be responsible for letting the other down, that’s for sure.
Another factor is that the Scots, as the top seeds, have a route to the final paved with gold. They are in a spate half of the draw to England, Holland other potential banana-skins in Austria and Northern Ireland. Their toughest assignment is likely to come against Australia, but Wright and Anderson – on current form – beat the duo of Simon Whitlock and Gary Anderson 99 times out of 100.
A final against England or the Netherlands is likely, and while that would be tough to call their outright price of 7/4 to lift the trophy on Sunday really is excellent value.
Match Betting Tips
The first round is a tough school for punters, with a number of mis-matches making it hard to find any value whatsoever. Our best option is the handicap market.
At this point it is worth pointing out the format for first round matches. This is a standard nine-leg doubles match, with the winner progressing to a round robin format from then on.p>
One of our favourite bets is Spain to beat Japan with a -1.5 leg handicap at 8/13. The Spanish duo of Cristo Reyes and Antonio Alcinas are both hugely talented and almost knocked England out in the first round last year, eventually succumbing 5-4. Japanese darts meanwhile is still reeling from the sad death of Morihiro Hashimoto, the larger and life character who passed away earlier this year. He was his nation’s number one player, and it will be some time before his ample shoes are filled.
You can make a case for Singapore winning a single leg against Scotland but little more, so the 4/6 about a Scots -3.5 leg victory is fair. Singapore have the experienced Paul Lim in their team, but he will struggle to keep up with the Wright-Anderson team.
In a repeat of their first round tie 12 months ago, Wales will take on Finland. While Gerwyn Price’s career has skyrocketed since then Mark Webster’s has stalled somewhat, but they should still have too much class and experience for the Finns. 5-1 victors last year, the handicap line is -2.5 in their favour this time around at a generous 11/10.