THE European Tour finale gets underway on 29th October and despite it appearing to be an open field like most of 2020, there’s little standout value in the outright market.
You’d have to say that Gerwyn Price is the most likely exception, having won four of the last seven events and on that basis alone he has to be better than a 5/1 chance (Betfair, Paddy Power).
Price has exited the last two Euro Tours with underwhelming displays, perhaps leading some to believe that the Iceman is beginning to melt as the season hots up.
It’s a certainty that he’ll be hungry for this one though – the carrot of another major and a small added incentive of £120,000 will have the Red Dragon man fully fired up.
Michael van Gerwen’s odds are getting longer at the start of events, although the fact he still starts as favourite suggests the bookies (if not the players) remain afraid of him.
How can Price go off at two points longer than the Green Machine? Quite frankly, you’d be nuts to want a piece of MvG at the prices on offer.
His favourite tag is false – even though he reached the final this week there was only one performance of any note.
The greatest player of his era simply isn’t showing enough to indicate that somebody won’t take him out and assuming he beats Darius Labanauskus he could face Mervyn King who has turned him over recently, with a likely quarter-final opponent waiting in Devon Petersen or Rob Cross.
The former has been a revelation this year and has beaten Van Gerwen the last two times excluding the unique double-in format at the World Grand Prix.
Petersen is 16/1 at best to win the title (Betfair). Rewind six months and you could have put a zero on the end of that for a major tournament.
The African Warrior has been a sensation since Lockdown and arguably has the most frightening scoring power in the game right now. It’s tough to judge his form with him having not featured in Riesa and his last match prior to that being a flat defeat to Price.
Petersen is a student of the game and will no doubt have prepared well during his mini break. Whilst 16/1 is too short with only one pro title to his name, if he starts to hit his doubles and displays the same prowess on the treble-20 as is now his trademark, he has a definite shout. Against Andy Hamilton in Round 1, Petersen is 4/7 (Skybet) to throw the most 180s in the match. Given his overwhelming favouritism and the fact he is hitting almost a 180 every two legs in 2020, this should be like buying money!
Defending champion Rob Cross comes with an extraordinary record in the European Championship, making the final twice in three years of participation including his win in 2019. He is on the back of his worst season since hitting the big time and his best price 35/1 (Betfair) reflects exactly that.
Cross has shown signs of improvement in the last six weeks or so and could be peaking at the right time; his defeat to Franz Roetzsch should be taken in context of Roetzsch averaging 103 and landing 60% of doubles.
However, winning the event is probably a bridge too far for Voltage at this stage of his revival and the sense is that his odds are about right.
Portugal’s Jose De Sousa is a handful for anybody and he destroyed MvG in the European Darts Grand Prix final just over a week ago.
His quarter looks a minefield with many in-form players who are high on confidence. The maverick De Sousa may struggle to dodge all of those bullets. Within the same section, Michael Smith (25/1: 888 and Unibet) faces off to his namesake Ross (80/1: Betfair and Paddy Power) in an intriguing clash. Both players have the potential to go a long way – Ross looked a million bucks at times in the International Darts Championship and will have his tail up.
Bully Boy also showed signs of his old self and they both lost to eventual winner Joe Cullen. Bully Boy might also prefer being under the radar a touch having not really been a contender in recent times. 25/1 is on the verge of being enticing – if he finds himself in the latter stages he’ll almost surely be playing well to get there and is a real danger man. He could be turning the corner after a torrid year.
Cullen is of course the man of the moment and could consider 28/1 (Betfair) for the championship as a bit of an insult. It’s a tough ask to win back-to-back, and the likelihood is the standard of this event will go up a notch. 9/2 (various) on Cullen winning his quarter looks too long though and is worth a tickle. In the outright market there are higher calibre contenders than Rockstar, who have been priming for this one and will be going in slightly fresher. One of those contenders is Peter Wright.
Wright (6/1, various) has a horrible draw. It’s Gabriel Clemens up first – a stern test with the reward likely to be a second-round tie against his old foe Gerwyn Price. With these obstacles known, Snakebite’s odds are on the tight side.
He has had a break for obvious tactical reasons, and being the tinkerer he is, has surely been working on his latest adjustment (and darts) in a pressure-free environment. It’s well known that he hasn’t won on the Euro Tour for a long time but he’ll turn up in Germany very assured of what he is doing. If he weathers the early storm, this could be his for the taking. It has to happen for him soon, and what a way to end the drought? Ultimately though, with 6/1 on offer, a bet on the more consistent Price looks the sensible one if you want to back one of the top three.
In the match market, the only eye-popper is Mervyn King (6/5, various) to beat Ian White. White has been a shadow of his pre-Lockdown self, is a perennial struggler on TV and showed mental frailties with his reaction to the crowd in Germany against Max Hopp. The King, by contrast, has been sharp of late and on current form should be starting that match as favourite.
Gerwyn Price to win @ 5/1 – Betfair / Paddy Power
Michael Smith to win @ 25/1 (each way) – 888 / Unibet
Joe Cullen to win Quarter 1 @ 9/2 – Various
Devon Petersen most 180s versus Andy Hamilton @ 4/7 – Skybet
Mervyn King to beat Ian White @ 6/5 – Various
Words by: Chris White, Pictures by Taylor Lanning.
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