This week, one of the biggest sporting events over the Christmas and New Year period in the UK gets underway, as a total of 96 players from all over the world will compete to try and follow Rob Cross into the history books as the PDC World Darts Champion.

Starting on the 13th December and running right through until the final is contested on New Years Day, the 2019 event is the biggest World Championship in PDC history, featuring an additional 24 players in the field compared to last year, and an increase in prize money to £2,500,000, £500,000 of which will go direct to the eventual winner.

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The tournament will also feature two female players, Lisa Ashton and Anastasia Dobromyslova, who both qualified for the event as part of the International Qualifiers in the run up to the tournament, with an expanded First Round draw to accommodate the extra players and the top 32 seeds in the world having byes through to the Second Round.

The PDC World Darts Championship is always one of the most exciting sporting events over the festive period and as such, it attracts plenty of punters interested in a wager. If you fancy a flutter on the games, then bet365 Sport offers great pre-match and In Play betting on the tournament. You can sign up today if you are not already a customer with the latest bet365 Sport New Player Offer, which sees you able to earn up to £100 in bet credits.

The 32 Seeds

All of the 32 seeds listed below are given a bye into the second round and will face the winner of a First Round clash as decided by a pre-determined draw.

1 Michael van Gerwen 9 James Wade 17 Raymond van Barneveld 25 Alan Norris
2 Rob Cross 10 Michael Smith 18 Stephen Bunting 26 James Wilson
3 Peter Wright 11 Ian White 19 Mervyn King 27 Kyle Anderson
4 Gary Anderson 12 Dave Chisnall 20 Steve Beaton 28 Jamie Lewis
5 Daryl Gurney 13 Darren Webster 21 Kim Huybrechts 29 Jermaine Wattimena
6 Gerwyn Price 14 Joe Cullen 22 Steve West 30 Benito van de Pas
7 Mensur Suljovic 15 Jonny Clayton 23 John Henderson 31 Cristo Reyes
8 Simon Whitlock 16 Adrian Lewis 24 Jelle Klaasen 32 Max Hopp

First Round Matches

*All Odds Correct as of 9.30am on Friday 7th December 2018

It is certainly going to be interesting to see how the two women players perform, current ladies World Champion Lisa Ashton is in action on the opening night against Jan Dekker in what should be a very good game, while Anastasia Dobromyslova gets her campaign underway on Monday 17th December with a tough first round battle against Ryan Joyce.

There are a number of big name players in the first round draw including the current World Youth Champion Dmitri van den Bergh who went deep into this tournament last year, he will face Chuck Puleo in his opening match on the 18th December, while other more familiar names in the draw include Paul Nicholson, Danny Noppert, Jeff Smith (a former BDO finalist), Keegan Brown, Brendan Dolan, Vincent van der Voort and the veteran Singaporean legend and the player to throw the first ever nine-dart leg on television, Paul Lim.

The first round will be completed over a week of games from Thursday 13th through to Wednesday 19th December. After which the Second Round matches will get underway on Wednesday in the evening session, which is when the very top players will join the fray.

Who are the players to watch out for?

Michael van Gerwen (1)

The supremely talented Dutchman seems to have been around for an age but he is still just 29 years old. The hugely talented right-hander is without doubt the best and most consistent player in the world today and has been dubbed as the successor to Phil Taylor. A two-time World Champion, van Gerwen is the player to beat in the field.

Gary Anderson (4)

In terms of sheer talent alone, Gary Anderson is perhaps the only player that could match up to van Gerwen at his best. The Scotsman is a two-time World Champion himself and has the talent to not just beat, but obliterate most opponents on his day. Anderson’s form however has been up and down this season and he can allow himself to become distracted in games, as he did when losing to Gerwyn Price recently. If he is on form though, he will be extremely difficult for any other player to beat.

James Wade (9)

After missing out on the Premier League at the start of 2018, Wade’s career seemed to be drifting but two back-to-back wins in the past couple of months at the European Championships and the World Series of Darts Finals, both of which came after the birth of his son Arthur, Wade has returned to form and the World top ten in a big way. He has won many top tournaments but a World Title has eluded him so far. He goes into the tournament as one of the most in form players in the draw.

Raymond van Barneveld (17)

It’s Van Barneveld’s last World Championships as a professional as he will retire following the tournament. The popular Dutchman has admitted he hasn’t the stamina or motivation required to stay at the top these days but it would be just like him to roll back the years and put on another masterclass performance at some point in the tournament. He may not be the force he once was, but on his day he is one of the few players in the tournament still capable of beating anybody.

Bookies Outright Winner Odds

  • Michael van Gerwen – 11/8 favourites
  • Gary Anderson – 10/3
  • Peter Wright – 10/1
  • Michael Smith – 14/1
  • Rob Cross – 18/1
  • Mensur Suljovic – 20/1
  • Daryl Gurney, Gerwyn Price – 33/1
  • James Wade – 40/1
  • Raymond van Barneveld, Dmitri van den Bergh -66/1
  • Dave Chisnall, Adrian Lewis, Simon Whitlock, Jeffrey de Zwaan – 80/1
  • 100/1 bar

Our Tip to Win – Michael van Gerwen – 11/8

The 29-year old Dutchman has enjoyed another great year, winning the World Grand Prix, Premier League and Masters titles and he has picked up a further eight titles on the European tour this season too. He is clearly the best player and the most consistent player in the world and has been for the past few years, although he has only won the World Championship twice (in 2014 and 2017), which is not enough for a player of his talent.

While van Gerwen hasn’t been in quite the same steam-rollering his opponents form this year compared to other years, he seems to have judged his commitments to the season well and he will go into this tournament a little fresher and without the added pressure of being

Our Each Way tip – Dmitri van den Bergh – 66/1

He may start his journey in the first round, but make no mistake that Dmitri van den Bergh has all the qualities needed to make another big impact at the World Championships this year. The two-time World Youth Champion reached the Quarterfinal in the World Championships last year and repeated that in the Grand Slam and the 24-year old is ranked just outside the top 32 (36 before the tournament began).

A hugely talented player, van den Bergh’s ability to play the longer games well suits the World Championship format and if he can get through the first round, I think he will be a very tough opponent for any seed in his half of the draw, which is the different half to Michael van Gerwen’s.  At 66/1, he may not win the tournament, but he has a chance of reaching the final. In addition, he has won eight times on the European Tour this season,