We’re back in Blackpool this weekend as the stars of the PDC alight on the Winter Gardens for the second biggest prize in darts.
The World Matchplay is considered one of the Triple Crown events and has a habit of throwing up drama year-on-year.
Michael van Gerwen is the defending champion in Blackpool but is only a three-time winner of this event.
We’ve had different winners of the Phil Taylor Trophy – including the man himself – over the last six years, so if you think the 2023 edition will be a foregone conclusion then think again...
Let’s take a look at some of the best bets for Day 1 in Blackpool:
Joe Cullen vs Mike De Decker – Over 17.5 legs at 13/8 with bet365 (Saturday @ 19:00)
Joe Cullen has buckets of talent but has historically struggled at the Winter Gardens and isn’t having a 2023 to remember.
The Rockstar has advanced past the second round just once in eight attempts and will be wary of a potential banana-skin fixture with Mike De Decker.
De Decker ran to the fourth round of the UK Open and has held his own on the European Tour so far in 2023 – this off the back of winning his second World Championship match at the end of 2022.
We’re not picking the upset outright, but a lengthy affair at over 17.5 legs looks right.
Rob Cross vs Daryl Gurney – Cross to win match and most 180s at 6/4 with bet365 (Saturday @ 20:00)
Rob Cross has an impressive habit of flying under the radar.
His no-thrills style has seen him reach the Masters final, win the European Darts Grand Prix and run deep at the UK Open and World Cup in 2023 already.
Gurney on the other hand is making a habit of sliding down the rankings.
Superchin is down to No. 28 now and shouldn’t put a dent in Cross if he’s playing to 80% of his potential.
Gerwyn Price vs Stephen Bunting – Price to win 10-5 or 10-6 – both at 6/1 with bet365 (Saturday @ 21:00)
Stephen Bunting is another man who has struggled at the Matchplay.
The Bullet has been dumped out in the first round of six of eight appearances, and things don’t look to be getting much better against Gerwyn Price.
Price is a battler on the oche and will be wary that the Matchplay is on of the only PDC titles he is yet to secure.
Price has a 5-2 lead over Bunting in their head-to-head and the Welshman should stretch this advantage at a canter.
Dave Chisnall vs Gary Anderson – Chisnall to beat Anderson with a -2.5 handicap at 2/1 with bet365 (Saturday @ 22:00)
After being left out of the travelling roadshow that is the Premier League of Darts, Anderson has flourished.
His season average is up there with the best of them, but the level of competition he has been up against is a concern.
Chisnall is a real hot and cold player but something tells us he is going to piece it all together on Saturday.
Anderson’s missed doubles can often snowball into missed visits, and Chizzy can capitalise.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.