This weekend will see the first big PDC Darts tournament since the World Championships finished on New Year’s Day. The new world champion, Welshman Gerwyn Price will be the top seed and one of eight players seeded into the second round in the PDC 2021 Masters.

The tournament, which has been slightly increased in size and scope by adding eight players to the original 16 that competed, will see the top eight seeds placed into the second round. The remaining 16 players will battle it out in the first round of games to earn a shot at facing them.

A total of £220,000 in prize money is up for grabs across the weekend, with £60,000 for the winner. All games will be held at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes from Friday 29th to Sunday 31st January.

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The Masters is a relatively new tournament on the schedule so let’s take quick look back at its history.

The History of the PDC Masters

The Masters tournament was first contested back in 2013 when friends and rivals Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis met in the final with Taylor running out a 10-1 winner. Although not a ranking event, the tournament has always attracted the top stars in the world.

James Wade wo the second event, defeating Mervyn King 11-10 in an exciting final. Then from 2015 until 2019, it was a period of domination for Dutchman Michael van Gerwen who won the next five tournaments defeating Raymond van Barneveld (twice), Dave Chisnall, Gary Anderson and James Wade to claim his quintuple success.

Last year, Peter Wright added his first Masters title just a few weeks after his 2020 World Championship win when beating Michael Smith 2010 in the final.

Over those years, the event was open to the top 16 ranked players in the world only. However, from this year, it has been expanded to 24 players, with the top eight seeds given a bye through to the second round.

Let’s now check out how the first and second round of matches in the 2021 Masters shapes up.

2021 Masters – Seeds & Draw

The top eight seeds in the tournament are as follows:

  1. Gerwyn Price (Wal)
  2. Michael van Gerwen (Hol)
  3. Peter Wright (Sco)
  4. Rob Cross (Eng)
  5. Nathan Aspinall (Eng)
  6. Dave Chisnall (Eng)
  7. James Wade (Eng)
  8. Gary Anderson (Sco)

The remaining 16 players have been seeded from 9th through to 24th and will play each other based on those seeds in the following matches:

  • Joe Cullen (16) v Stephen Bunting (17) – Winner faces Gerwyn Price (1)
  • Michael Smith (9) v Adrian Lewis (24) – Winner faces Gary Anderson (8)
  • Glen Durrant (13) v Mervyn King (20) – Winner faces Rob Cross (4)
  • Ian White (12) v Mensur Suljovic (21) – Winner faces Nathan Aspinall (5)
  • Jose de Sousa (15) v Jonny Clayton (18) – Winner faces Michael van Gerwen (2)
  • Dmitri Van den Bergh (10) v Chris Dobey (23) – Winner faces James Wade (7)
  • Krzysztof Ratajaski (14) v Simon Whitlock (19) – Winner faces Peter Wright (3)
  • Daryl Gurney (11) v Jeffrey de Zwaan (22) – Winner faces Dave Chisnall (6)

What Are The Odds On The Outright Winner?

A quick look at the odds shown above reveal that despite being crowned World Champion just a few weeks ago, Welshman Gerwyn Price is the 3/1 second favourite for this event. Past five-time winner of The Masters, Michael van Gerwen is the 5/2 favourite with bet365 at the moment.

Outside of the top two, the odds on other competitors increases quite sharply. Peter Wright is 7/1, with Gary Anderson 14/1 and two players at 16/1 in Dmitri van den Bergh and Nathan Aspinall. Michael Smith and Dave Chisnall are both 20/1 before a handful of players at 33/1.

Unsurprisingly the lower ranked seeds are the longer odds outside bets for the tournament with 24th seed Adrian Lewis the 150/1 outsider to win the event.

Who is Worth Backing as an Outright Winner?

As the odds suggest, Michael van Gerwen (5/2) is probably the player that will attract most of the early pre-event betting. The Dutchman may have lost his world title and he may not be quite so invincible as he has been in previous years, but his record at this tournament is incredibly good.

Last year, Peter Wright followed up his world title win with a victory here and Gerwyn Price is a decent shout at 3/1 to do likewise.

The Welshman has his critics, not least for his over-effusive celebrations whenever he hits a finish or a 180, but he is a remarkably competitive and difficult player to beat as he proved at the Alexandra Palace a few weeks back.

In truth though, while I think van Gerwen and Price are the most likely to contest the final, their odds are not the most appealing although either is a good choice for a bet to win the event.

However, if one or both of these were to falter, who out of the longer odds selections would likely come through to win the tournament?

That’s a good question and for me the pick here is Gary Anderson (14/1). He found a bit of form at the World Championship and with his back problem now sorted, he has promised to dedicate himself to darts for the coming year. I am sure he will have been practicing hard for this after his World Championship final defeat to Price on New Year’s Day and in terms of talent he is one of the very best.

Plus, The Masters is one tournament that has eluded him in his trophy-laden career so far.

For a real outside bet, James Wade (33/1) is one to consider. He has won this event once and reached the final on another occasion. He did disappoint a little at the World Championships but before that tournament he had been in great form.

Check out the action from Milton Keynes from Friday night to see who becomes the next Masters Champion!

*All odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport as of 1.20pm on Mon 25th January 2021.