World Darts Championship 2023 – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

Welcome to the Alexandra Palace…

For 3 weeks, the Grade 2 listed venue transforms into a darting cathedral where boundaries between sportsmanship and showmanship obscure into a mosaic of sporting entertainment.

Don’t let the inevitable tweets of cynics denouncing darts as a sport prevent you from enjoying one of the best and most unique sporting spectacles available in the United Kingdom.

Analysis that follows will cover Quarter Winner markets, as well as players to follow in match markets throughout the tournament.

TOURNAMENT WINNER
3/1 Luke Humphries
7/2 Michael van Gerwen
11/2 Gerwyn Price
12/1 Gary Anderson
12/1 Michael Smith
16/1 Rob Cross
22/1 BAR

QUARTER 1
9/4 Michael Smith
5/2 Rob Cross
15/2 Jonny Clayton
8/1 Chris Dobey
8/1 Ross Smith
18/1 Krzysztof Ratajski
20/1 Jose De Sousa

⭐ STARSPORTS.BET MARKETS ⭐

Michael Smith at 9/4 to win his quarter and 12/1 outright should tell you all you need to know about where his current game is, especially considering he went off at a shorter price of 6/4 for his quarter during his winning campaign last year.

Despite being the current World Number 1, the Bully Boy is 5th favourite to hit the jackpot again this year. His averages and scoring power have fluctuated more than usual recently and it feels like he’s been coasting slightly since scratching the itch of an Alexandra Palace victory in January. I think some players simply want it more this year.

I’m not particularly positive on Rob Cross at 5/2 despite his terrific form in recent months with a Grand Slam final appearance. His average of 99.1 in that event says his scoring power is returning to its peak, however, his loss in the second round in Minehead to Luke Woodhouse the week after with an average of 89.9 somewhat puts a stop to that narrative. He’s been knocking on the door but he’s not there quite yet.

Johnny Clayton and Chris Dobey both occupy similar prices and have recently been very patchy players. For the Ferret, despite boasting a fantastic checkout strike rate, four out of his last five major matches have contained averages of less than 92 and it looks as if personal issues might understandably be affecting his game. Hollywood Chris Dobey has displayed some fantastic performances this year, notably in the Masters, and although he’s been on the up in recent months I don’t think he’s at a high enough level to reach a semi-final. Outside his Masters win, he’s only reached one semi-final or better since 2020 in televised events.

My selection in this quarter is Ross Smith. He burst onto the darting radar when winning last year’s European Championship beating Michael Smith and since then he’s displayed a great degree of consistency. In majors, he’s hit the post many times when playing fantastic darts and losing.

Examples include averaging 104.5 in a 6-1 defeat to van Gerwen and 98.6 in a loss to Pietreczko. He’s hit the most 180s per leg this year and if he can translate his recent Players Championship average of 101.8 across 15 games to the Ally Pally stage he can go seriously far and at


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he’s certainly worth a swipe.

QUARTER 2
6/4 Gerwyn Price
4/1 Gary Anderson
5/1 Peter Wright
8/1 James Wade
16/1 Luke Littler
22/1 BAR

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Last year’s ear defender hero leads the market at 6/4 and for someone who hasn’t reached the playoffs in any of his last three television majors, he’s short enough for me. In addition, the Welshman has lost on all four occasions this year to Gary Anderson. I believe the differential between the two is too large and that’s why I’m taking the Flying Scotsman at


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.

He’s on the same half of the quarter as Price so they could well face off in the round of 16. Gary’s lack of major playoff runs in 2023 fails to tell you the full story of how he’s been playing. He has the highest average on tour this year and says he’s rediscovered his love for the game. I believe him, and his performances match his bold statements. Something has been brewing for Gary for some months now and I think this Christmas could be the pinnacle of a long-drawn comeback to the sport.

In this quarter, I’ll also be backing Luke Littler at


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who plays on the other side of the quarter to the big two. I can add no further insight to his well-known story of outstanding Modus Super Series dominance and World Youth Championship performance, but I do believe he learned a lot in the Youth final against Gian van Veen in Minehead.

His game started to decline ever so slightly when Gian van Veen was coming back into the match, but to kick on and maintain an average of 102.2 when the seeds of doubt were starting to be planted makes him a fascinating proposition this Christmas.

Luke the Nuke has a very fair draw in the top half of the quarter and his matches read Christian Kist and Andrew Gilding, likely followed by James Wade and Peter Wright. All of these I believe are manageable if Luke operates at his best.

There is no doubt in his raw ability and therefore the price per match is dependent on whether the 16-year-old talent handles the rowdy conditions on the stage of all stages.

While Wright and Wade (the latter more so) have had their moments this year, I don’t think they are playing at a high enough level to reach the semi-final and represent no value in the context of their respective prices.

QUARTER 3
EVS Michael van Gerwen
6/1 Josh Rock
17/2 Stephen Bunting
9/1 Danny Noppert
11/1 Damon Heta
12/1 Dimitri van den Bergh
28/1 BAR

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Michael van Gerwen is one of my stronger quarter-winner bets going into this year’s World Championship. Even with a Premier League and World Series title to his name this year, it can still be described as an underwhelming time by peak Michael standards.

His tour average this year has noticeably slipped compared to more dominant periods in his career and trebleless visits have started to creep into his game where once upon a time sub-60 visits were sparse. However, if he plays his best, his ceiling is simply unreachable for everyone else.

I doubted him going into last year’s event and was somewhat proved wrong when he fell at the final hurdle against Smith, but he was certainly near his ceiling in matches before that.

He let the Players Championship Finals slip through his fingers when 9-5 up before losing 6 legs on the bounce to Cool Hand Luke who stole the title and I think that might see him step up his game to seek revenge in the semi-final.

Stephen Bunting is certainly a massive danger and he’s a player that I think will be going close in majors next year. However, his lack of clinical ability when it matters most has hindered him lately, most recently against the selection van Gerwen when losing a 9-6 lead 10-9.

I expect the Dutchman’s performance to step up a gear at Ally Pally – more so than other players. You can expect a much more polished version of him compared to Minehead and Wolverhampton. At


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, he’s the first leg of a double I’m backing with someone in Q4.

In the remainder of Quarter 3, Fallon Sherrock could certainly progress to a respectable round. Her first game is against Wattimena who, if not playing at 100%, can have some seriously dismal performances in the mid 80s. This won’t be enough to beat Fallon near her peak which we’ve seen in the Modus Super Series this year. Her following games will be against Martin Schindler and then Noppert/S.Williams. I’m expecting to see the ‘Queen of The Palace’ at least cross the drawbridge.

QUARTER 4
5/6 Luke Humphries
13/2 Nathan Aspinall
9/1 Dave Chisnall
14/1 Joe Cullen
14/1 Ryan Searle
16/1 Gian van Veen
28/1 BAR

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‘Cool Hand’ Luke heads the Q4 market at odds on and it’s understandable why. With 3 majors to his cabinet this year he’s fulfilled his potential and has become the complete player with no flaws in his game.

In previous iterations, you could be critical of his mental attitude when losing or sometimes poor patches in legs but now there’s nothing. Nothing that would make me oppose Luke Humphries at


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and that’s why he’s the second leg of the double that pays 13/5.

I think this quarter might be the weakest one with Aspinall and Cullen both inconsistent on the big stage in the second half 2023. Dave Chisnall is yet to match his European and Players Championship exploits on television.

Coming through the top side of the quarter, Luke will only be required to play either Cullen or Searle, with the other players visible in that market list doing battle on the other side. I expect Luke to have a smooth and easy ride to the last eight.

PLAYERS TO FOLLOW

Notorious for his counting errors, the ‘Special One’ Jose De Sousa is a player I’ve been fond of for a few months now – maybe to my detriment. But if he brings his best game to London, you’ll certainly be well-compensated for backing him where he’ll face Edhouse/de Graaf and then (likely) Rob Cross. 2023 has seen his annual average slip to nearly 5 less than his Grand Slam winning peak of 2020, but if he wants to play darts, I believe his scoring power will give him a massive ceiling that’s able to contest with many players in Q1.

Connor Scutt in Quarter 2 is someone who I believe will be imminently breaking the Top 64 barrier. The 27-year-old came through the county league pub circuit and in recent months has more consistently been averaging in the 90s than ever before. The only downside is that his second game will be against Iceman Gerwyn Price. Although this might be mission impossible for Connor, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him nick a set, and is certainly one to keep on side going forward.

My final player to keep track of throughout Christmas as the draw unfolds is Ricky Evans. Known for his record-breaking pace of throw, Ricky’s average is starting to be more and more consistent in the high 90s and I think he has every chance of pulling off a big result soon. The style of his throw can mean he looks disinterested when he’s not playing well, until he hits 7 perfect darts out of nowhere…

Evans’ draw is the primary angle here that sees him play Simon Adams, Nathan Aspinall, and then (likely) Daryl Gurney. These three matches are extremely winnable for me and although he’ll be odds against in every match after the first, I think he’s a player to keep tabs on throughout the event.

LEWIS WILLIAMS

RECOMMENDED BETS
BACK Ross Smith to win the first quarter 2pts at 8/1 (⭐


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BACK Gary Anderson to win the second quarter 2pts at 7/2 (⭐


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BACK Luke Littler to win the second quarter 1pt at 16/1 (⭐


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BACK Michael van Gerwen to win the third quarter and Luke Humphries to win the fourth quarter 2pt at 13/5 DOUBLE (⭐


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PROFIT/LOSS (NOV 2023): -5.02 points points

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Author: Eugene Morris