After an almost month-long break, the PDC tour kicks off its new season this Friday when the 2021 Darts Masters gets underway the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
In a break from the norm, this year’s event has been expanded from its usual 16 player format to include a field of 24. Also this year, the Masters will provide the final opportunity for players to nab the 10th and final Premier League of Darts place.
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Peter Wright goes into the tournament as the defending champion, but it is Gerwyn Price who is the new world champion and also the new world number one, meaning this is the first time in seven years that Michael van Gerwen goes into a tournament ranked second in the world.
Odds for the PDC Darts Masters
Not that it has done anything for the odds. Mighty Mike begins this tourney as 5/2 favourite with bet365.
That said, this is probably the longest price we have seen on MVG in a long time. Given that he now plays with the pressure off, or at least dimmed, can he be expected to bounce back from his Ally Pally disappointment and claim this trophy for a sixth time? Yes, of course he can.
A win for the new world number one would see Gerwyn Price repeat what Peter Wright achieved this time last year and follow on the success in the World Championships by immediately taking down the Masters too. One thing is for sure, the Iceman won’t rest on his win at the worlds and has the sporting drive to push on and have another great year.
Not seeing anyone throw since the festive season, we have no idea about current form for any of the 24 competing darters, but it would, at first glance, seemingly come down to two things as to who wins this first new event of the season. Whether a stung Michael van Gerwen is looking for revenge or whether a buoyed Gerwyn Price is in invincible mode.
These two are quite a bit above everyone else right now after all so the answer to the above could unlock the next destination of the Masters trophy.
Gerwyn’s Price is 3/1 at bet365.
These two, along with Rob Cross, James Wade, Nathan Aspinall, Dave Chisnall, Gary Anderson and Peter Wright, will all wait out the first night and join in play during in Saturday’s second round.
This means that there are plenty of interesting match ups on day one and some potentially explosive games likely on day two.
Nathan Aspinall could face either Ian White or Mensur Suljovic, while Glen Durrant takes on Mervyn King for the chance to play Rob Cross in the second stage. Looking at Duzza’s post Premier League form, Mervyn King looks a good shout to run deep here and wont fear Cross right now should that play out.
Elsewhere, there are several players who must do well to stand a chance of getting that last Premier League spot. The potential eye-catcher in regards to the Premier League participation is the possible matchup between world number six Dave Chisnall and Daryl Gurney, should Superchin make it past Jeffrey de Zwaan in the first round.
Bet365 odds wise, Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright is 7/1, which is half the value offered on Gary Anderson who may be inspired after making the final at the Alexandra Palace. Punters can get 16/1 on Dimitri van den Bergh should they be looking for it, while Nathan Aspinall is available at 16/1.
Bully Boy Michael Smith, who will surely be the most disappointed to miss out on a Premier League place, can be backed at 20/1. It’s the same price that’s being offered on Dave Chisnall, who so brilliantly dismissed MVG a little over a month ago.
PDC Darts Masters 2021
Friday January 29
First Round (Best of 11 legs)
- Ian White v Mensur Suljovic
- Glen Durrant v Mervyn King
- Dimitri Van den Bergh v Chris Dobey
- Krzysztof Ratajski v Simon Whitlock
- Michael Smith v Adrian Lewis
- Daryl Gurney v Jeffrey de Zwaan
- Jose de Sousa v Jonny Clayton
- Joe Cullen v Stephen Bunting
Saturday January 30
Second Round (Best of 19 legs)
- Rob Cross v Glenn Durrant or Mervyn King
- James Wade v Dimitri Van den Bergh or Chris Dobey
- Nathan Aspinall v Ian White or Mensur Suljovic
- Dave Chisnall v Daryl Gurney or Jeffrey De Zwaan
- Gary Anderson v Michael Smith or Adrian Lewis
- Peter Wright v Krzysztof Ratajski or Simon Whitlock
- Gerwyn Price v Joe Cullen or Stephen Bunting
- Michael van Gerwen v Jose De Sousa or Jonny Clayton
Sunday February 1
Quarter-Finals (Best of 19 legs)
- Four Matches
Semi-Finals (Best of 21 legs)
- Two Matches
Final (Best of 21 legs)
- Winner SF 1 v Winner SF 2
QUICK GLANCE AT 2021 DARTS MASTERS
Venue: Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Dates: Jan 29 – Jan 31
Format: Best of 11, 19, 21 legs
Current Champion: Peter Wright
Where To Watch: ITV 4
When To Watch: (1900 GMT)