PDC Darts World Championship First Round Betting Preview : There are always shocks at the Palace

Darts previews
Last Updated : 6th December, 2017 By Peter Roberts

Event Venue: Alexandra Palace, Starts December 14, 2018. Live on Sky Sports.

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A year never goes by without a big name falling to a lengthy underdog at the PDC World Championship and the 2018 edition of the tournament will be no different.

Some look far more vulnerable than others this time around, but none seem more in danger of an early exit than number two seed, Peter Wright, who is going into the tournament with apparently serious health concerns.

There is an air of mystery over what is ailing Snakebite, but it was announced on December 1 that he was rushed to hospital and was unable to any exhibition work in the coming days and weeks. Sky Sports confirmed that he was indeed a doubt for the World Championships starting on December 14.

He is on the mend but what condition he will be in when the action begins at Alexandra Palace is completely unknown. He does have until Thursday, December 21 when he is scheduled to face Brazil’s Diego Portela.

In any other circumstance, the Brazilian would have next to no chance against Wright in a darts match, he would rightfully be as long a price as any bookmaker would be willing to give. However, in this case, Portela has got to be worth a punt.

Some bookies have reacted to Wright’s health problems and Portela is as low as 9/1 in places, whilst he is still available at 22/1 with Bet Bright. He remains a long shot, but there is no doubt that he is great value for a flutter at those lengthy odds.

At a much shorter price, but still providing great value is James Wilson, who takes on Ally Pally debutant Krzystof Ratajski.

The Pole is coming into the tournament with something of a fanfare having won the BDO’s World Masters earlier in the year. He was impressive in that competition, beating world champion Glen Durrant en route to victory, but his experience in other big tournaments is limited.

Ratajski has played in just two PDC events, losing in the first round of the European Championship and the second round of the European Darts Trophy this year. Wilson is far more experienced and it is easy to forget that he was shining in the BDO before his PDC move as well, holding the world number one spot on the other side of the darting divide.

The Yorkshireman has also shown good form of late, reaching the final of a Players Championship as recently as October. There is no doubt that Ratajski is very capable, but it Wilson looks great value as the outsider at EVENS with Ladbrokes.

One more outsider that looks like very decent value is the precocious young Belgian Dimitri van den Bergh who takes on Stephen Bunting in round one.

Van Den Bergh is the reigning youth world champion but even at his tender age (23), he will be making his third appearance at the World Championship. Two years ago the Dreammaker made his debut and stunned the world by beating Ian White in the first round. His next two Ally Pally contests may have ended in defeat, but he does have experience on the big stage.

So does Bunting, of course, but he has not had a good year, not going past the second round in any major tournament. This run of poor form has been going on for the best part of two years and included going out in the first round last year as the number 16 seed to Darren Webster.

Bunting is one of the best players on the planet when he is on form, but he has not been anywhere near his best for a long while. He has not won a tournament since March 2016, whilst Van den Bergh has won the Youth World Championship and three Development Tour competitions. Obviously the standard is not the same, but the Belgian is in the winning mind-set, the Englishman is not.

Van den Bergh will have to be at his best, but he looks a very good bet at 5/4 with bwin.

Freebets.org.uk’s Predictions

Diogo Portela is worth a punt to beat Peter Wright at a massive 22/1 with Bet Bright

James Wilson is surprisingly good value at EVENS to beat Krzystof Ratajski with Ladbrokes

Back Dimitri van den Bergh at 5/4 with bwin to see off Stephen Bunting in round one

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  • Six seeds fell in the first round of the 2017 PDC World Championship
  • Michael van Gerwen is a best price of just 4/5 to win the tournament

PLEASE NOTE : The opinions expressed here are those of FREEbets.org.uk and based on our staff's use and experience of the betting industry.

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