What will life on the PDC be without the great Phil Taylor? The Power walked away from the game as the runner-up at the recent World Championships as he failed to get the better of Rob Cross in the showcase match. He now heads off into the sunset of retirement from the game and so very shortly, the PDC will roll on with the 2018 Masters, sans-Taylor.
However, not even the presence of Taylor has stopped Dutchman Michael van Gerwen from dominating this competition in the recent years. Mighty Mike has gotten his hands on the Masters title for the last three years running and he took down the tough challenge of Gary Anderson in last year’s final, winning the match 11-7 at the Arena MK.
Mighty Mike dominates
It is little surprise that Mighty Mike is dominating the outright winner market for the 2018 Darts Masters which begins on January 26th and runs through to the 28th. Van Gerwen is the 8/11 odds-on favourite with the nearest challenger to him being Rob Cross coming in at 4/1.
The Masters is a short, small tournament, a non-ranking one at that, and those in attendance are those who occupy the top sixteen placed on the PDC Order of Merit at the conclusion of the preceding World Championships.
Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts is the one who benefits from the retirement of Phil Taylor the most for this event, as The Power would have been ranked 4th, but it is Huybrechts who comes in to take his spot in the line up as 16th seed as everyone else from fifth moves up a place. But at the end of the day will anyone be able to stop MVG?
Anderson in the way
Gary Anderson is in the top half of the draw along with Van Gerwen so there could be a huge clash at the semi-final stage and it’s a fair bet that the winner of that would go on to win the title. If they were in separate halves of the draw you would probably have little hesitation about backing them in a Name The Finalists market.
So which one is it likely to be? Well, Van Gerwen has a 66% success record against Anderson, holding a 29-15 head to head against the Scotsman and after his success over Anderson in last year’s final, plus with MVG getting further in the recent World Championships than Anderson did, a picture starts to paint itself.
Opposite from the other half of the draw is the newly crowned World Champion Rob Cross. There will be extra pressure on the Englishman though to now follow that up with consistency. Actually, the draw really favours a good run at the Masters for him on his debut. But it is a pretty big ask to see him win two huge tournaments back to back. Peter Wright is in the bottom half too, but he is working back from health issues.
Roll with MVG going all the way again in the Masters. He has a great affinity with this tournament clearly and he will be hungry to get back in the winner’s circle after missing out the defence of his World title. He can take down anyone that the could potentially meet from the bottom half of the draw in the final, and his big test to overcome will be Anderson. But you would still have to back him to do it.