It’s an exciting week in the world of Darts as worlds collide when Britain’s weirdly popular pub game turned pro, Darts, meets the glitz and glamour of Vegas for inaugural hosting of the US Darts Masters and before that the North American Championship. Darts and Vegas have met before of course, back in the days of the now defunct Desert classic but this stopped in 2009 having run for seven successful years as the sport found new fans over the Atlantic. But now Darts is back and bigger than ever.
For the next five days, at the Tropicana casino resort in Las Vegas, the best darters in the world will descend on Sin City for a festival that culminates in the U.S. Masters event next weekend. That is with the exception of Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor who caught a sickness in Shanghai last week and has since withdrawn his participation in Nevada. Taylor’s place in the US Masters has been taken by seven-time PDC Premier Event champion James Wade. Taylor began to feel unwell as he was narrowly beaten in the quarter finals by Michael van Gerwen where the Dutchman clawed his back into the game after finding himself 5-0 down to the 16-time World Champion Taylor.
Naturally, MVG went on to win the whole event in China, just as he did last year, this time whitewashing a stunned Dave Chisnall in the final of his second World Series event of 2017. Having taken out James Wade in the semi-finals, Mighty Mike moved on to his next prey, Chizzy, who was unable to answer back from the relentless stream of successful checkouts from van Gerwen. In fact, Chisnall, who was making his seventh appearance in a televised final, was restricted to one lone shot at the bull in the entire match as his rival, the world number one, confirmed victory with a 102.77 average.
Now, the eight PDC merit players (without Taylor) meet up with eight qualifiers to play out the U.S Darts Masters at the Tropicana Las Vegas on July 14-15. Before then, on the 13th of July, there will be the North American Championship. Here, eight players from Canada and the US will play off over one day for a domestic title, with the winner earning a place in December’s World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace, lovingly known to us Brits as the Ally Pally.
US Darts Masters Betting Tips
Betway’s offer of 13/10 for the field against Michael van Gerwen is as good a place to start as any, given the imperious form shown by the big Dutchman who is 8/13 in all three of our sportsbooks. It is hard to look beyond MVG who will want to make a new set of fans in the US as well as adding yet another title to his swollen collection.
With Phil Taylor, a five-time winner of the Desert Classic, having pulled out due to an illness picked up in Shanghai, and Raymond van Barneveld, also a Desert Classic winner, still bedding in a totally new set of darts, the field either tightens or opens up depending on your view point.
While Barney is a best price of 20/1, only two of the world’s top three sit between him and the other Dutchman, MVG’s hot odds-on favourite. Gary Anderson, who has been playing well enough all year with little to show for it, is available at 9/2 with Betway, while Peter “Snakebite” Wright, who I fancy to make the final as well as winning a new army of fans, is 9/2 at Skybet, Bet365 and Betway. There is no Adrian Lewis or Dave Chisnall here meaning James Wade, a replacement for Taylor and a decent outside shot if ever there was, the next up in the betting at 28/1 with Bet365 before Gerwyn Price who is a 33/1 shout at Skybet.