Phil Taylor is the defending champion although The Power wasn’t at his formidable best when edging out Mervyn King 10-8 in the first round and there could be a potential banana skin awaiting the Stoke player in round two in the form of Ian White.
Nevertheless, Taylor is the even money (bet365 £200 free bets) favourite to claim yet another World Matchplay triumph, with Gary Anderson having been eliminated on Tuesday night after Dean Winstanley produced an excellent comeback to beat the Flying Scotsman.
Winstanley recently followed countless other players in making the switch from BDO to PDC and his dramatic 13-11 win against Anderson will fill him with confidence ahead of Thursday’s match against Ronnie Baxter, with Sportingbet offering 33/1 that he goes all the way.
Meanwhile, Adrian Lewis appears to mean business after an amazing 10-0 win against Robert Thornton in his first round match and Jackpot is not a player that anyone wants to face in this format, with the world champion capable of rising to the big occasion.
Lewis is an 11/2 chance (Skybet bookmaker) and appears to have the bottom half of the draw at his mercy, especially with a second round match against Andy Smith coming up, although James Wade is also looking good.
The Machine beat Richie Burnett in his first round match and looks to have a straightforward path to the semi-finals considering that Michael van Gerwen and Steve Beaton are also in the same quarter of the draw.
Wade is a 15/2 chance (William Hill free £25 bet) to win the World Matchplay, while Raymond van Barneveld will need to get past Terry Jenkins and Lewis to stand a chance of winning this event and the Dutchman looked to be in reasonable form when downing Michael Smith.
Barney is 11/1 to claim this title and the popular player is one of several arrowsmiths with lively chances, with Wes Newton now the world number five and looking a tasty price at odds of 25/1.
Newton was too strong for James Hubbard on Tuesday night and now has a grudge match against Justin Pipe for a place in the quarter final, with the latter renowned for slow play that saw Newton mimic a sleeping act when the pair clashed in the World Championship at Alexandra Palace.