PDC darts have been gone for a little under a month now but the wait is over as the 2021 Darts Masters get underway at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes this Friday. And there is plenty to look forward too.
Breaking from its normal 16 team format, this year’s tourney has stretched its field of participants to 24 in reflection of just how good the extra eight players are.
Another thing about this season’s Masters is that it is also the last chance for players to nab the 10th and final Premier League of Darts place.
For the first time in seven years, Mighty Michael van Gerwen goes into a tournament ranked second in the world.
This is because Gerwyn Price is the new world number one following his World Championship win at the Ally Pally earlier in the month.
If we are being honest, this pair are quite a bit above everyone else right now, even Peter Wright who goes into this tournament as the defending champion and is himself clear of the rest of the chasing pack.
From there, there is a bit of a drop off.
Despite their switch in the rankings, Mighty Mike begins this tourney as the 12/5 favourite while the Iceman Price is the 31/10 second favourite.
Obviously, there have been no televised darts thrown since the holiday season so we cannot base our darts betting predictions on any recent form but, given the gap between the front three players and even more so between the top pair, the likely outcome of this tourney is likely to boil down to two elements.
Wounded, how will Michael van Gerwen approach this event?
Elated, how will Gerwyn Price cope with being number one darter?
To answer the first, I don’t think Mighty Mike knows any other way to play but to win like a machine. I also think he will be more determined than ever to get his ranking back as well as winning this trophy for a sixth time. As such, MVG will be extremely dangerous.
Regards matter two, Price will be overjoyed to be world champion and will want to make this his best season ever, starting here at the Marshall. A former Rugby star, the Iceman has the sporting drive to push on and is sure to have another great year make no mistake about that.
Plus, a win for Gerwyn Price would see the Welshman repeat what Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright pulled off a year ago when he took down the Masters right after lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy at the Ally Pally.
As for Snakebite, he is available 27/4.
Potentially Juicy Fixtures
These three, along with Rob Cross, James Wade, Nathan Aspinall, Dave Chisnall and Gary Anderson will all sit out Friday’s action and join in the competition on Saturday when the second round commences.
This means that there are some potentially heavy clashes to look forward to.
Either Ian White or Mensur Suljovic will come up against Nathan Aspinall while Mervyn King – a good 45/1 outsider if ever there was – takes on Glen Durrant with Rob Cross awaiting the victor in the second stage.
There are players in the field, 22/1 shot Michael Smith being chief among them, that will need to go deep here if they are to stand a chance of getting that last Premier League spot.
To that end, keep an eye on the possible matchup between world number six Dave Chisnall and Daryl Gurney, should Superchin make it past first round opponent Jeffrey de Zwaan.
As we said, plenty to look forward to.