Following Michael van Gerwen’s tumultuous win over Phil Taylor in Sunday’s Grand Slam of Darts final, attention now turns to Glasgow for this weekend’s inaugural World Series of Darts.
That GSOD final was something of a milestone for the sport: Van Gerwen completed his career grand slam of majors with his 16-13 victory, whilst for Taylor it is the first time in two decades that he hasn’t held a major title. The prize presentation, where the Dutchman was handed the huge trophy whilst Taylor looked on forlornly in the background, was emblematic as a passing of the torch. For The Power, it must have been a particularly gruelling moment.
But he has a chance to get back on track at the Braehead Arena this weekend as the number one seed based on his other World Series performances around the globe, and many punters will be surprised to see Van Gerwen seeded as low as three and reigning world champion Gary Anderson at seven. Looking at the draw, it perhaps isn’t too much of a hindrance.
The format for the tournament, which will be shown live on ITV 4 all weekend, is a slightly unusual one: the eight seeded players go through automatically to the second round, with the other 16 players – handpicked from PDC invitations and qualifying events – battling it out to meet them there.
The draw for that second round looks something like this:
- (1) Phil Taylor v Kyle Anderson/Dave Chisnall
- (8) Stephen Bunting v Simon Whitlock/Rowby-John Rodriguez
- (5) James Wade v Benito van de Pas/Jamie Lewis
- (4) Peter Wright v Max Hopp/Dimitri Van den Bergh
- (2) Adrian Lewis v Keegan Brown/Ian White
- (7) Gary Anderson v Terry Jenkins/Chris Dobey
- (6) Raymond van Barneveld v Michael Smith/Mark Webster
- (3) Michael van Gerwen v Devon Petersen/Robert Thornton
The early rounds look like a bit of a betting minefield, so allow us to pick out some of the best value in the World Series of Darts for you!
Some familiar faces look set to do battle with some new names to the darting fraternity in the best of 11 legs first round.
That short format offers ample opportunity for upsets to occur, although in truth the only first round encounter that catches the eye in that respect is Dave Chisnall against Kyle Anderson.
The Aussie might be ranked as low as 42 in the world, but he has hit a televised nine darter this year and reached the latter stages of a number of Players’ Championship events. He is used to this shorter format, whilst for Chisnall a rather bizarre GSOD campaign started with a perfect nine-dart finish and ended with back-to-back defeats to Scott Mitchell and Michael Smith. Anderson, priced at 21/10, has a good shot at beating his more illustrious foe here.
There is little betting value to be found elsewhere, although perhaps the bet of the Saturday afternoon is the 10/11 available on Benito Van de Pas to see off Jamie Lewis. The world number 27 has enjoyed his best year on the tour, reaching a few Players’ Championship finals and defeating Mensur Suljovic, Van Gerwen and Kim Huybrechts on his way to the International Darts Open final, where he lost to Michael Smith. Lewis, improving all the time, is still finding his feet on the bigger stages.
The odds for the matches in this round of the tournament haven’t been printed yet of course, but if anything it is this stage of the competition that helps us to formulate our outright winner.
Of the top eight seeds, the only two that look in any real danger are Taylor and Raymond Van Barneveld. The Power will face the winner of the Anderson and Chisnall clash; and either of those opponents could prove a more than worthy adversary.
Van Barneveld has a stinker of a second round draw – the winner of the first round clash between GSOD semi finalist Michael Smith and GSOD quarter finalist Mark Webster. That said, Barney enjoys a passionate following in Scotland and tends to play well there; as witnessed in his Premier League wins over Van Gerwen and Taylor in Glasgow and Aberdeen. The big Dutchman also played some cracking darts in the Grand Slam, and looks a far more reliable back these days.
World number one Van Gerwen will head the market of course, but whether he will be suffering a hangover from playing so recently after a major title win is anybody’s guess. A potential quarter final clash with Van Barneveld/Smith/Webster is also a bit of a turn off.
Instead, give Gary Anderson a go at 6/1. He will be well supported on home soil, and despite an early exit from the Grand Slam he will have plenty of fire in his belly for this one.
The Scot tends to perform better at this time of the year with the Worlds just around the corner, and a second round clash with either Terry Jenkins or Chris Dobey – followed by a quarter final against one of Adrian Lewis, Keegan Brown or Ian White – is an agreeable run to the last four.