Michael van Gerwen will open up the defence of his PDC World Darts Championship crown against fellow Dutchman Christian Kist.
Van Gerwen has proved to be in a league of his own for well over a year now, hoovering up titles at will, and he is an odds-on 1.70 shot with 188BET to win the PDC crown for a third time.
The standard in the sport is incredibly high at present, so the top seeds will know there are few easy games, but Mighty Mike could have been handed a kinder opening clash.
Kist has not truly kicked on since joining the PDC in 2014, but he has a pedigree in the game after winning the BDO world title in 2012. Van Gerwen will be a prohibitive price for his tournament curtain raiser at the Alexandra Palace on December 14th, but if he is off his game in any way Kist could pounce.
Phil Taylor, darts’ biggest name and a word champion on 16 occasions, is bowing out of the sport after this year’s event. Although not as consistent as in previous seasons, Taylor has shown patches of good form in 2017 and he will be desperate to go out on a high.
The 57-year-old from Stoke gets his championship underway on the second evening against Chris Dobey. For those who feel Taylor will go out on a high with world title number 17, he can be backed at 9.00 with 188BET.
Gary Anderson is seeking a third PDC world title after wins in 2015 and 2016; the big-scoring Scot is second favourite with 188BET at 7.00. The number three seed will have to wait to find out his opponent, as Anderson has been pulled out to face the winner of a preliminary-round game between Jeff Smith and Luke Humphries.
Peter Wright is seeded second at the Alexandra Palace and he will have his supporters at 188BET’s price of 8.00 after another consistent year. He is bidding to go one better than when beaten by Van Gerwen in 2014 and he opens up against Diogo Portela.
Steve Beaton, a BDO world champion in 1996 and a firm favourite amongst the fans, has the honour of getting the event underway on December 14th against William O’Connor. For those who feel Beaton can go all the way, they can step in for 188BET’s pre-tournament price of 301.
Whether you’re a Taylor or Van Gerwen fan – or any other player – the Alexandra Palace will be the place to be over the Christmas and New Year period. The darts will be of the highest quality, the action will come thick and fast and the crowd will be in full-on party atmosphere.