Skip to content
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800 GAMBLER Responsible Gaming Responsible Gaming
Join

World Matchplay - Darts: Preview

Darts' second most important ranking tournament is back on Saturday, when 32 of the world's best begin the battle at Blackpool's Winter Gardens to win the World Matchplay.

It is arguably the most open field of for a very long time and the draw has thrown up some potentially cracking first-round ties.

World number one Peter Wright will be looking to defend his crown following his victory against 2020 winner Dimitri van den Bergh in last year's final, while Michael van Gerwen, Rob Cross, Gary Anderson, and James Wade have all tasted success on the Blackpool stage before.

Welshman Gerwyn Price will be hoping to win in Blackpool for the first time, while the likes of Michael Smith and Luke Humphries are still searching for that elusive first major win.

What

World Matchplay

Where

Winter Gardens, Blackpool

When

Saturday 16th July - Sunday 24th July

How to watch

Sky Sports Darts

OddsMichael van Gerwen 5/1, Jonny Clayton 13/2, Gerwyn Price 7/1, Peter Wright 8/1, Luke Humphries 10/1, Michael Smith 10/1

MVG and Lewis in blockbuster clash

The most eye-catching tie of the first round is probably Van Gerwen against Adrian Lewis with the multiple world champions set to do battle in Blackpool.

Around ten years ago, this looked like it could be a rivalry for the ages, but Lewis has fallen some way short of the world's best since, though there are encouraging signs he is getting back to where he feels he belongs.

In the recent Players Championship series, Jackpot took one of the titles, beating Boris Koltsov in the final, and will head to the North West with a renewed sense of confidence.

Van Gerwen ended his major drought last month with a stunning last-leg win against Joe Cullen in the Premier League final and his form has been good in 2022, with no other player picking up more titles.

However, he recently underwent wrist surgery due to carpal tunnel syndrome and there might be an element of doubt in the back of his mind as he looks to get back to his best.

Van Gerwen hasn't won the Matchplay since 2016, but is priced at 1/3 to come through his opening game, with Lewis out at 12/5.

Wright and Price handed favourable draws

Both Wright and Price have had below-par years from the unbelievable standards they've set previously, which partly explains why this year's tournament is so open.

Wright only has one title to his name since winning the World Championship in January, while Price has a Players Championship and a European Tour title, both of which were won early in the year.

The Iceman has battled a wrist injury while Snakebite's trademark tinkering with his darting set-up has proven not to be helpful.

So when the draw was made on Monday, both players will have been quietly pleased to be handed tournament debutants.

Wright faces Latvian Madars Razma, whose consistency has seen him qualify via the Pro Tour order of merit on a one-year basis - Wright is 1/4 to win, with Razma 3/1.

Meanwhile, Price gets German Martin Schindler, a player whose A Game can match anyone's, but who hasn't yet produced that on the biggest stage - Price is 4/11 with Schindler 11/5.

Related Darts News

World Matchplay - Darts: Steve Davies' Tips

Humphries gets tough assignment

A dark horse to win the Matchplay prior to the draw would have been Luke Humphries following a sensational breakout year.

The 27-year-old won the first Players Championship event of the year in Barnsley and has since won four European Tour events, proving he can perform in front of an audience.

His scoring power has never been in question, but his improving temperament is leading to better results, though he is set to face former UK Open winner Nathan Aspinall in round one.

The Asp is another one who has suffered with injury this year, but he is still performing at a very high level and has been a beacon of consistency this year.

It is a coin toss who wins this match while the whole quarter is stacked with talent and only one of these two - Van Gerwen, Lewis, Joe Cullen, Damon Heta, James Wade, Humphries and Aspinall - can reach the semi-finals.

Humphries is 8/15 to progress to round two, with Aspinall rated at 6/4.

Who else is in contention?

Many in the darts world will be desperate to see Michael Smith win a first major title after years of near misses.

Wright proved too strong for him at Alexandra Palace in January, while Danny Noppert won a last-leg decider at the UK Open in Minehead.

Smith has responded to those disappointments well, winning a hat-trick of Players Championships, a European Tour event, the US Darts Masters, and the Newcastle night of the Premier League.

Hitting doubles at the key moments will be what separates Smith from winning, because few players can live with his scoring power.

Jonny Clayton will also fancy his chances after topping the Premier League table and showing wonderful consistency - the Ferret hasn't actually won a title this year, but those Premier League performances stand him in good stead.

Discover more from the world's favourite online betting brand

More darts betting news

Latest sports betting and odds

Watch sports live streaming

Latest darts results

Head to the bet365 YouTube channel for exclusive content

Sign up - bet365 Open Account Offer

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalised service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy