On Thursday 15 December, the 2012 PDC World Darts Championship gets underway at Alexandra Palace, with this excellent venue hosting the tournament for the fifth time.
Crowds will flock to Muswell Hill throughout the festive period to watch the world’s finest players compete for the ultimate prize in the sport, with Adrian Lewis hoping to retain the title he won for the first time twelve months ago when spectacularly throwing a 9-dart finish in the final.
Lewis has had a mixed twelve months since then, although the Stoke City fan is among the favourites to claim the 2012 crown, with bet365 (£200 free bets) offering 8/1 that Jackpot scoops the £200,000 prize money yet again.
The good news for the number two seed is that he’s in the opposite half of the draw to Phil Taylor. The Power is a legendary figure within the sport of darts, with the 51-year-old having claimed 15 World Championships already and he looks extremely determined when it comes to landing number 16.
Sponsors Ladbrokes (£50 free betting) are the only bookmaker to offer even money about the most decorated player in the history of the sport and he certainly seems hungrier this time around compared to twelve months ago where Mark Webster claimed a surprise victory in the quarter final.
Webster was expected to kick on from that bright showing at Ally Pally a year ago, although the Welshman had a miserable time of things in the Premier League and can be backed at odds of 28/1 to win this tournament.
However, Gary Anderson is given more respect by the bookmakers and the Flying Scotsman certainly has the scoring potential to win, something which he demonstrated when winning the Premier League in 2011. Anderson is set to meet Taylor in the semi-final and his odds of 8/1 might interest a few people.
James Wade is the number three seed in the tournament and it has been a transitionary twelve months for the Aldershot man since a disappointing showing at the 2011 World Championship.Wade won the 2011 UK Open Darts to suggest he was returning towards his best and is 11/1 to claim a first world title.
Can anyone win from outside the top four? Probably not, although Raymond Van Barneveld is capable of brilliance as well as the inconsistency which has dogged his game in recent years. The Dutchman has had the beating of The Power in the past, although odds of 33/1 illustrate the bookies are happy to take him on.
Wes Newton has been tipped as the best outside chance by Taylor, while Justin Pipe is a 100/1 shot and the 40-year-oldsimply needs to start shining in front of the cameras to make a major breakthrough.