The PDC World Darts Championship, the biggest party in the sport, kicks off on Thursday afternoon at Alexandra Palace in London, England.
Before you scoff at the idea that a darts tournament can be considered the best atmosphere in all of sports, do yourself a favor and take the time to watch some of the highlights from years past on YouTube. The World Cup of Darts is basically what happens if you take the best parts of March Madness, SEC Football and Oktoberfest and throw them into a blender.
But this is also a serious business. The winner of the 96-player tournament, featuring the best tungsten players from around the world, will walk away with £500,000 from Alexandra Palace. That’s life-changing money, especially in a sport where most competitors still work regularly on the side.
Betting on darts is like betting on a major tennis tournament. It’s one-on-one, the swings are ridiculous, and the action feels non-stop because there are very few breaks between matches.
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Michael van Gerwen (Darts Tigers) is the tournament favorite with +250. MVG is a three-time winner of the event and is having a great season, so it’s no surprise that he’s the consensus ahead of Gervin “Iceman” Price (+600), Michael “Bully Boy” Smith (+750) and Def. . champion Peter “Snakebite” Wright (+1200).
Wright, Price and van Gerwen have won the last four championships, but the event has been the longest-running winner in recent history. Rob “Voltage” Cross won his debut at the 2018 World Championship just 11 months after turning pro.
The best bets to win the 2022/23 World Darts Championship, which starts on December 15 and runs until January 3 on Discovery+.
PDC World Cup of Darts Predictions and Picks:
Joe Cullen (+4000, Caesar):
It has been a remarkable season for Joe ‘The Rockstar’ Cullen, who is ranked 13th in the world on the PDC Merit Order. Not only did the 33-year-old win the Premier League, he also won his first major title at the 2022 Ladbrokes Masters. Cullen has never made it past the fourth round at Ally Pally, but he has never been in that form.
Ryan Searle (+6600, Caesar)
A sleeper at last year’s tournament, Searle is flying under the radar ahead of the World Cup despite having a solid year. “Heavy Metal” won’t win a title in 2022, but he had the 14th-best average on tour over the past year, and he had the fourth-best payout percentage in the PDC. A potential fourth-round fight with Gervin Price awaits Searle, but he has an elite matchup.
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James Wade (+8000, Caesar)
It’s been a bad year for James “The Machine” Wade. Still, he is the caliber of player who can heat up at a moment’s notice, and he has plenty of experience on the Alexandra Palace stage, including in the semi-finals last year. Wade’s draw isn’t too scary, but he’ll need to beat Danny Noppert and Price to advance to the semifinals. One of the best players to never win the title, Wade’s odds are worth a splurge.
Mike de Decker (+75000, Caesar)
This bet won’t win (because it’s 750/1), but if you’re looking for some life-changing luck, why not throw a few bucks at Mike de Decker? Although he is ranked 57th in the world, The Real Deal plays well above that ranking. Additionally, de Dekker has been in excellent form and has ranked 14th in tour average since September 1st. After a semi-final appearance at the Players Championship in November, de Decker must be confident that he can be a goalkeeper. At Ally Pally.