Rag2gar looks ahead to the World Grand Prix Darts from Citywest Hotel in Dublin and he likes Michael Van Gerwen to win, with a bet also advised on James Wade.
World Grand Prix outright preview
I'm pretty sure it was by accident rather than design that the only "double-in" format darts tournament on the PDC calendar, the World Grand Prix, is held each year in Ireland's capital city.
The "double-in" in Dublin is certainly one of the highlights of the year as this unique format can so often throw up some rather strange results. None more so than the three occasions when 11-time World Grand Prix champion Phil Taylor was dumped out of the competition in the first round. Darts biggest star has had an up and down couple of years of late and it's hard to see him landing title number 12 next week. His opposition has strengthened significantly over the years and Taylor himself has regressed. Gone are the days of the snarling, arrogant Englishman who had so many an opponent beaten before they even toed the oche. Now Taylor looks a pale comparison of himself not only in ability but in demeanour too and his domination days have clearly diminished.
Last year's champion Michael Van Gerwen is however very difficult to discount. Unfazed by a short-format Van Gerwen can play great darts right from the get-go and that's why I think he'll be a hard man to stop again this year. Obviously the winner of this tournament will have to be excellent on doubles (and MVG is certainly that) but he will also have to overcome short formats, boisterous crowds and plenty of downtime over the course of the eight days. None of this will be a problem for the world number one who can seemingly just turn it on whenever he needs it.
For the older players however this has proved increasingly difficult of late. Darting legends like Raymond Van Barneveld, Phil Taylor and even Gary Anderson have struggled to produce their best darts in short formats lately. Sometimes it can be up to half an hour into a match before we really get to see their best darts! Such warning-up time will not be afforded next week and any player who has their sights set on the title will have to be able to produce their best darts literally as soon and we here the scream of "Game On!"
Last year's beaten finalist James Wade also has good pedigree for this tournament. His doubles are as good as anybody in the world and being steady on the outer section of the board is absolutely imperative next week. A former two-time winner of the event, don't be surprised to see the machine raise the trophy aloft once again in Citywest this year.
5 points win Michael Van Gerwen to win the World Grand Prix at 21/10 with Boylesports.
2 points win James Wade to win the World Grand Prix at 16/1 with Bet Victor.