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World Matchplay Darts betting

The World Matchplay Darts tournament is a hugely popular stop on the PDC calendar. It is hosted at the famous Winter Gardens in Blackpool and it a tremendous tournament for the atmosphere. Ever since its inaugural edition, the winter Gardens have been home to the World Matchplay.

The World Matchplay is played in the middle of the year, the first big event following the UK Open. For so long it was the legend of the sport Phil Taylor who dominated things on the north west coast. But since his retirement, it has given others the chance to get their hands on the title.

The first-ever edition of the World Matchplay was held in 1994 and it was American Larry Butler who landed the title with a victory over Dennis Priestly, who would incidentally go on to lose each of the first three World Matchplay finals consecutively.

The World Matchplay format

The World Matchplay tournament is played in a legs format. Each round of the tournament is played over a bigger number of legs than the previous. Each match is played on a best-of format, so for example if a match if played over 19 legs then it needs a player hit ten legs before the match can be won.

But for a player to win the match from there, they have to be two legs clear of their opponent. If not, extra legs are played to try and settle things, much like a tiebreaker in tennis. If the players still can’t be separated by two legs after six additional legs, it all boils down to just one-tie break leg.

The Blackpool Legacy of Phil Taylor

Phil Taylor was an absolute beast at the World Matchplay. He got his first-ever title in the second edition, a 1995 win over the aforementioned Dennis Priestly. Taylor went on to win it for the second time in 1997 and it was just two titles that he took in the first six editions, the same number as Rod Harrington managed.

But then Taylor produced a remarkable run of titles. He won five straight titles between 2000 and 2004 and he went better than that with a run of seven straight World Matchplay titles between 2008 and 2014. It was staggering. In his last appearance at what was one of his favourites tournament, he collected the 2017 title over Peter Wright.

He bowed out of the game with sixteen World Matchplay titles from seventeen appearances in the final. His one defeat in the final happened against Micahel van Gerwen in 2016. Taylor would set a record 38 straight matches at the World Matchplay in his career. In all of his appearances there he only lost eight matches. Taylor also produced two nine-dart finishes at the event as well.

2018 World Matchplay Review

There was a bit of history made at the 2018 edition. It produced the longest ever final when Gary Anderson and Mensur Suljvic battled it out for the crown. In total, the match produced 40 legs before Anderson managed to pull two legs clear with a 21-19 victory in an epic match-up. That was the first title for the Scot at the tournament.

Pre-tournament favourite Micahel van Gerwen suffered a huge shock defeat in the very first round of action. He was up against his fellow Dutchman Jeffrey de Zwaan and that win put some wind in the sails of de Zwaan who was stopped in the semi-finals against eventual winner Gary Anderson.

The other semi-final was between Mensur Suljhovic and second seed Peter Wright. Scotland’s Wright was in brilliant form throughout, only dropping exactly five legs in each of the first three rounds of matches. Suljovic made the most of his opportunity in a favourable draw, not meeting another top-eight player until his final four fixture against Wright. The Austrian took the semi 17-13.

2019 Preview

Michael van Gerwen leads the way in the outright winner market for the 2019 World Matchplay tournament. The Dutchman will be looking for his third title at the tournament to add to his back to back wins in 2015 and 2016. Despite him dominating the game though overall, he has failed to make it past the quarter-finals in his last two trips to Blackpool.

So that will give the field some hope against him. Peter Wright, last year’s losing semi-finalist has a wonderful record at the event in recent times but hasn’t quite managed to get the title in his hands. He hasn’t finished lower than the quarter-finals in the last four editions.

Besides Michael van Gerwen, and the reigning champion Gary Anderson, the only other previous winner of the World Matchplay in this current draw is James Wade. The Englishman was crowned champion in 2007 when he took an 18-7 win over Terry Jenkins. Wade is more of an outsider though at a long odds-against price.

Other key contenders shorter than the Englishman in the market include former World Champion Rob Cross, Gerwyn Price and Daryl Gurney. While no-one is ever likely to match the kind of wins that Taylor recorded at the World Matchplay, that doesn’t detract from the glory of the player who goes on to lift the trophy this year.