The UK Open is the largest darts tournament, in terms of field size, on the PDC calendar, with 138 players battling it out for the £50,000 winner’s share in Minehead this weekend.
Phil Taylor will be out to defend the title he won 12 months ago after he saw off Anthony Hamilton in the final but he heads into the tournament in poor form.
Michael van Gerwen Favourite
The young prodigy van Gerwen is vastly proving himself as the best darts player on the planet, and following Taylor’s slow start to 2014, is the bookies’ favourite for victory this weekend at Butlins Minehead.
After securing his first world crown at Alexandra Palace, the Dutchman has gone onto win the second European Tour event in Veldhoven in his homeland and has also made a promising start to the Premier League darts campaign.
A 7-0 whitewashing of Taylor in the opening round of fixtures in Liverpool was an impressive way to start the campaign although he tasted defeat against compatriot Raymond van Barnaveld in Glasgow last week.
Van Gerwen’s exploits last year were ended by his nemesis Taylor at the Quarter-Final stage but he’s currently available at 5/2 with Coral to claim the crown this year.
Other Outright Odds
Despite his disappointing start to the season, Taylor’s class mean’s he’s still priced as second favourite for the title this weekend.
The Stoke man has lost four out of five of his matches in the Premier League so far and has work to do in that competition if he’s to remain in the tournament.
The 53-year-old needs to spark into good form following an early exit at the World Championship in December but the defending champion has prowess in this tournament, having already won it on five previous occasions.
He’s currently available at 7/2 in the outrights with Totesport.
It’s also been an average start to the season for fellow Stoke man Adrian Lewis, with him only picking up two wins in the Premier League so far.
Lewis has never reached the final of the UK Open and is currently priced at 8/1 as tournament winner with Coral.
One player who has impressed in the Premier League darts this year is Peter Wright. Following his run to the World Championship final in January, the eccentrically-dressed Scot has performed well in the Premier League and will surely take that form into this weekend’s UK Open. He’s good value at 14/1 with a number of bookies including Boylesports.
This is Stephen Bunting’s first major PDC event since switching from the BDO earlier this season and he’s made a good start since switching tours. He won the second qualifying event for this tournament and goes in as sixth seed. He’s currently available at 33/1 with SkyBet.
The tournament operates with an FA Cup style draw meaning seeds protection does not happen beyond the first round, giving chance for lower ranked players to progress further than usual.
You can catch all the action from the TV oche on live on ITV4 from 11:45am on Friday and Saturday and from 12:45pm on Sunday.
Don’t forget that you can also claim free bets with Coral via their page on BritBets.