The 2021 World Matchplay, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the darts calendar, gets underway on July 17. Who are the favourites and where does the value lie? Read on to inform your 2021 World Matchplay predictions.
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What is the World Matchplay and how does it work?
The World Matchplay tournament has always been one of the premier events on the darts calendar. The Premier League has been elevated in terms of importance in recent years, but the Matchplay remains second to only the World Darts Championship in the eyes of many fans.
COVID-19 has hit darts hard and the majority of PDC events this year have been played in the absence of fans and away from their traditional homes. However, the World Matchplay is back at the majestic Winter Gardens in Blackpool and it promises to be a superb occasion.
The tournament is made up of 32 players with big-hitters Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price, and Peter Wright all in action. They are joined by their fellow top-16 players on the PDC Order of Merit and the top-16 chuckers on the ProTour Order of Merit not already qualified.
First-round matches are played over a best-of-19 leg format, with the second round being a best-of-21, the quarter-finals a best-of-31, the semi-finals a best-of-33, and the final being a best-of-35 leg marathon. The top-16 players are seeded according to the PDC Order of Merit and world champion Price is this year’s top dog.
2021 World Matchplay: Who are the favourites?
Michael van Gerwen, who is priced at 1.328* to win his opening match against Damon Heta (3.390*), claimed the title in 2015 and 2016 and he is the favourite to add a third crown to his collection. MVG is still a superb darts player but he hasn’t been performing consistently well of late, hence why he is available at a far bigger price than in previous years.
Jose de Sousa has been posting impressive numbers on the Pro Tour.
Gerwyn Price will be looking to end a run that has seen him lose in the first round on his last four visits to Blackpool. He can be backed at 1.275* to win his first-round tie against Jermaine Wattimena, who is priced at 3.800*.
Jose de Sousa is another fancied player and it’s no surprise, considering the incredible numbers that ‘The Special One’ has been producing on the Pro Tour. The Portuguese thrower is a serious contender, as he showed when winning the Grand Slam last year and making the final of the Premier League earlier this year.
Peter Wright is another strong contender and although he hasn’t been playing at the level of his World Championship triumph two years ago, he remains towards the top of the betting.
2021 World Matchplay: Notable outsiders
Dimitri Van den Bergh has to be at the top of the list after a sensational effort last year saw him crowned World Matchplay king in Milton Keynes. It’s always difficult to weigh up ‘The DreamMaker's’ chances as he just doesn’t seem to produce anything near his top form in the floor events. However, if he gives the tournament his best effort, he will have a good chance of success here.
Last year’s beaten finalist Gary Anderson is always a notable entry and he has been playing pretty well on the Pro Tour of late.
One player who has threatened to break into the big time for a while now is Joe Cullen and he has to be considered a very lively outsider, given the darts he has been throwing this year. ‘The RockStar’ is capable of some brilliant performances and it will be interesting to see how he fares in the first round against another capable outsider, Chris Dobey.