It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

The festive fun that comes with some Ally Pally arrows returns next week as the 2021 PDC World Darts Championship gets underway on Tuesday December 15.

96 players will be heading to the Alexandra Palace with the hopes of picking up the Sid Waddell Trophy live on Sky Sports Darts.

Qualifiers are drawn from the top 32 of the PDC Order of Merit, who will each join in round two. In addition, the 32 highest ranked but unqualified players on the PDC Pro Tour Order of Merit and an additional 32 qualifiers drawn from around the world will also join the action.

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Peter Wright is the returning champion but will have his work cut out if he is repeat his heroics of 12 months ago and retain the Sid Waddell trophy.

Around 1,000 fans per session will be allowed to attend, which is great given that the fans really make this event more than any other.

As many as 29 countries will be represented at the Ally Pally, a World Darts Championship record. These include 35 players from England, 11 from the Netherlands, four each from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Australia, plus notable entrants from Portugal and Belgium.

The broken season schedule this year has fogged our thinking when trying to make World Championship Darts betting tips and predictions, but we do know that the world’s top three players have each won more than one PDC title this year. 

As a countdown to events, we will take a look at the top ten ranked players on the PDC Order of Merit and rank their chances.

PDC Order of Merit top 10


PDC World Ranking: 10

Age: 50

Home Town: Runcorn, England

Nickname: Diamond

Walk on Music: Play that funky music (Wild Cherry)

Best World Championship Performance: Quarter-Final 2014

For the second year running Diamond has found himself among the world’s top ten chuckers come party season. It’s consistency rather than championship titles that find him here though. As with last year, his best-ever TV appearance remains a 2019 semi-final at the Players Championship Finals.

Here at the Ally Pally, he has reached but never surpassed the Quarters, and that was almost seven years ago. This, perhaps more than anything, explains why he carries by far the biggest price out of all of the guys in the world’s top ten. Opening up, possibly, against Kim Huybrechts is another reason.

Bet365 Price: 80/1


PDC World Ranking: 9

Age: 26

Home Town: Antwerp, Belgium

Nickname: The Dream Maker

Walk on Music: Happy (Pharrell Williams)

Titles: World Matchplay (2020)

Best World Championship Performance: Quarter-Final 2018, 2020

The Dream Maker from Antwerp has really forced his way into the minds of darts bettors over the second half of this year following a string of strong performances.

Despite a sloppy semi-final, Dimitri looked good at the Players Championships and the as part of the Belgium pairing at the World Cup of Darts just before then. But van den Bergh’s best performance for sure came in the World Matchplay, which he brilliantly took down after beating Gary Anderson in the final.

That title, the second biggest in darts, plus dual quarter-final appearances at the Ally Pally set him up nicely for a tilt at this title. A potentially tough opener against Luke Humphries shouldn’t worry him.

Bet365 Price: 18/1


PDC World Ranking: 8

Age: 40

Home Town: St Helens, England

Nickname: Chizzy

Walk on Music: Dizzy (Vic Reeves and The Wonderstuff)

Best World Championship Performance: Quarter Final 2017, 2019

Despite having a wobbly season, Chizzy actually ranks higher this year than he did 12 months ago. He is still the longest of shots to do well here, however, while a deep run remains a reasonable expectation.

One of Keegan Brown or Ryan Meikle awaits in the second round, while certainly tricky, shouldn’t be of too much concern. Fifty to one doesn’t really justify itself enough for a punt though.

Bet365 Price: 50/1


PDC World Ranking: 7

Age: 37

Home Town: Aldershot, England

Nickname: The Machine

Walk on Music: Baba O’Riley (The Who) followed by The Boys Are Back in Town (Thin Lizzy)

Titles: World Matchplay (2007), World Grand Prix (2007, 2010), Premier League (2009), Champions League (2010), European Championship (2018), UK Open (2008, 2011), Darts Masters (2014)

Best World Championship Performance: Semi-Final 2009, 2012, 2013

A late season return to form has seen The Machine playing some of the best darts we’ve seen from him in a long time as evidenced by making the Grand Slam final a month back.

Ok, so he lost to Portuguese Jose De Sousa, but it was the first time Wade has made a PDC televised final since 2016, which was also at the Grand Slam. Wade has consistency, composure under pressure and could well mount a serious challenge.

The Machine has collected a respectable eight major trophies in his career, but the closest he has come to the big one is making the semi-final three times, most recently as far back as 2013.

I can’t see him winning, and he does have the defending champion in his corner, but another deep run wouldn’t surprise.

Bet365 Price: 33/1


PDC World Ranking: 6

Age: 29

Home Town: Stockport

Nickname: The Asp

Walk on Music: Mr Brightside (The Killers)

PDC Titles: UK Open (2019)

Best World Championship Performance: Semi-Final 2019, 2020 

In just two years since he turned pro, the Asp has risen to the world’s top six and has a UK Open title to his name. He has also reached the Premier League of Darts final at the first time of asking, plus has two World Championship semi-finals under his belt.

It is, indeed, a very rapid rise to the top of darts. 2020 very quickly became the year that Aspinall made his mark on the game, and despite a potential opening matchup with BDO powerhouse Scott Waites, remains an “outsider” to keep a close eye on.

Bet365 Price: 20/1


PDC World Ranking: 5

Age: 30

Home Town: Pembury, England

Nickname: Voltage

Walk on Music: Hot Hot Hot (Arrow)

PDC Titles: World Matchplay (2019), European Championships (2019)

Best World Championship Performance: Winner (2018)

A winner here in 2018, Rob Cross has had a 2020 to forget. Voltage, who is also a former Matchplay champion, does tend to save his best form for the majors, and will need to dig out a level of form we haven’t seen from him in quite a while.

He remains fifth in the world though but has a possibly sticky opening fixture against aubergine farmer Dirk Van Duijvenbode of Holland, who has had a very good 2020. We know through past experience that Voltage definitely has the pedigree but there is nothing pulling me towards backing him this year.

Bet365 Price: 50/1


PDC World Ranking: 5

Age: 30

Home Town: St Helens, England

Nickname: Bully Boy

Walk on Music: Shut Up and Dance (Walk the Moon)

Best World Championship Performance: Runner Up (2019)

Another guy who seems to have gone off the boil of late is Michael ‘Bully Boy’ Smith. He is still a favourite to watch at the oche thanks to his rapid throwing style and the maximums specialist cannot ever be ruled out.

He always seems to fall at the last hurdle and here at the Alexandra Palace he has made a habit of starting slowly and poorly, numerously requiring a deciding set to win his opener against much lower-ranked opposition.

This year he has been handed an easy start where two debutants stand in his way, and while we remain understandably unconvinced, his form has been ok enough. With some much needed resilience added to his game, there is enough to suggest that he could pose a threat to the more senior darters in the competition. 

Bet365 Price: 14/1


PDC World Ranking: 3

Age: 35

Home Town: Markham, Wales

Nickname: The Iceman

Walk on Music: Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice)

Titles: Grand Slam of Darts (2018, 2019), World Grand Prix (2020), World Series Finals (2020), World Cup of Darts (2020)

Best World Championship Performance: Semi-Final (2020)

A likely 2020 Player of the Year and the guy that poses the biggest threat to Michael van Gerwen. He should be a dead certainty for the semi-finals at the very least, the Iceman will definitely be disappointed with anything other than a win.

Gerwyn was playing like a machine around October time but will need to carry that over for another next three weeks if he is to stand a chance of nailing down the one he really wants.

As someone who feeds off the love/hate that emanates from the crowds, that smattering of fans in attendance could make or break the man from South Wales. To be fair, even without the crowds, Price has been on tip-top form so he has a strong chance to do well and become the first Welsh PDC world champion.

Bet365 Price: 5/1


PDC World Ranking: 2

Age: 50

Home Town: Livingston, Scotland

Nickname: Snakebite

Walk on Music: Intro to The Greatest Show (The Greatest Showman soundtrack) followed by Don’t Stop the Party (Pitbull)

PDC Titles: UK Open (2017), World Cup of Darts (2019), European Championships (2020), Darts Masters (2020)

Best World Championship Performance: Winner (2020)

The defending champion started off 2020 in spectacular form but has receded plenty since then. Snakebite has also taken to changing back and forth between darts again, something fans, of which he has many, would have hoped he had consigned to the past.

The world number two has been handed a tougher draw than he would have hoped for in Steve West and likely Gabriel Clemens. Up for grabs with a second win, is Michael van Gerwen’s seven-year hold on the world number one spot, something that won’t be lost on Snakebite.

He has landed in other half of the draw to van Gerwen, but in his half remains Gerwyn Price, the other member of a quite distanced top three and who memorably clashed with Snakebite in the semi-finals one year back.

Bet365 Price: 6/1


PDC World Ranking: 1

Age: 31

Home Town: Boxtel, Netherlands

Nickname: Mighty Mike

Walk on Music: Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Pink Floyd) followed by Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes)

PDC Titles: World Matchplay (2015, 2016), World Grand Prix of Darts (2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019), Grand Slam of Darts (2015, 2016, 2017), Darts Premier League (2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), European Championship Darts (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), UK Open (2015, 2016, 2020), Players Championship Finals (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020), Darts Masters (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), Champions League (2019), World Cup of Darts (2014, 2017, 2018)

Best World Championship Performance: Winner (2014, 2017, 2019)

Ominously, the final PDC event of the season – and last before the World Championships – the Players Championships was won by Mighty Mike. MVG’s second PDC win of an otherwise quiet year comes at exactly the wrong time for his rivals, who would have been hoping that MVG’s dip in form would at least stretch beyond this year’s Ally Pally renewal.

Now, MVG will once again be the man to beat at the Darts World Championship. With this win it seems like the green machine is back and that the only break from the norm is that he comes into this year’s event in a different way and not off the back of a dominating year.

Of course, this could make the three-times winner more focused than ever. Time will tell on which MVG will show up, but most players cannot live with him and if he hits his stride this is his title to lose.

Bet365 Price: 12/5

PDC World Darts Championship 2021 Schedule

Tuesday December 15

First/Second Round (Best of 5 sets)

  • Steve West v Amit Gilitwala
  • Steve Beaton v Diogo Portela
  • Jeff Smith v Keane Barry
  • Peter Wright v West/Gilitwala

Wednesday December 16

First/Second Round (Best of 5 sets)

  • Ryan Joyce v Karel Sedlacek
  • Ross Smith v David Evans
  • William O’Connor v Niels Zonneveld
  • Chris Dobey v J Smith/Barry
  • Max Hopp v Gordon Mathers 
  • Callan Rydz v James Bailey 
  • Adam Hunt v Lisa Ashton
  • Glen Durrant v Beaton/Portela

Thursday December 17

First/Second Round (Best of 5 sets)

  • Madars Razma v Toru Suzuki
  • Mike De Decker v Edward Foulkes 
  • Ryan Murray v Lourence Ilagan
  • Daryl Gurney v O’Connor/Zonneveld
  • Will Gerwyn Price play Michael van Gerwen in the final
  • Luke Woodhouse v Jamie Lewis
  • Ron Meulenkamp v Boris Krcmar 
  • Ryan Searle v Danny Lauby
  • Jose de Sousa v R Smith/D Evans

Friday December 18

First/Second Round (Best of 5 sets)

  • Mickey Mansell v Haupai Puha
  • Darius Labanauskas v Chengan Liu
  • Wayne Jones v Ciaran Teehan
  • Jamie Hughes v Hunt/Ashton
  • Dirk van Duijvenbode v Bradley Brooks
  • John Henderson v Marko Kantele
  • Luke Humphries v Paul Lim
  • James Wade v Rydz/Bailey

Saturday December 19

First/Second Round (Best of 5 sets)

  • Steve Lennon v Daniel Larsson
  • Scott Waites v Matt Campbell
  • Kim Huybrechts v Di Zhuang
  • Mervyn King v Hopp/Mathers
  • Andy Hamilton v Nico Kurz
  • Andy Boulton v Deta Hedman
  • Damon Heta v Danny Baggish
  • Michael van Gerwen v Murray/Ilagan

Sunday December 20

First/Second Round (Best of 5 sets)

  • Derk Telnekes v Nick Kenny
  • Jason Lowe v Dmitriy Gorbunov
  • Maik Kuivenhoven v Matthew Edgar
  • Vincent van der Voort v Meulenkamp/Krcmar
  • Martijn Kleermaker v Cameron Carolissen
  • Keegan Brown v Ryan Meikl
  • Jeffrey de Zwaan v Searle/Lauby
  • Jonny Clayton v Henderson/Kantele

Monday December 21

Second Round (Best of 5 sets)

  • Krzysztof Ratajski v Joyce/Sedlacek
  • Ian White v Huybrechts/Zhuang
  • Gerwyn Price v Woodhouse/J Lewis
  • Gabriel Clemens v Hamilton/Kurz

Tuesday December 22

Second Round (Best of 5 sets)

  • Brendan Dolan v De Decker/Foulkes 
  • Joe Cullen v Jones/Teeha
  • Simon Whitlock v Labanauskas/Liu 
  • Adrian Lewis v Heta/Baggish 
  • Danny Noppert v Kleermaker/Carolissen
  • Devon Petersen v Lennon/Larsson
  • Rob Cross v Van Duijvenbode/Brooks
  • Dimitri Van den Bergh v Humphries/Lim

Wednesday December 23

Second Round (Best of 5 sets)

  • Ricky Evans v Mansell/Puha
  • Gary Anderson v Razma/Suzuki 
  • Stephen Bunting v Boulton/Hedman 
  • Mensur Suljovic v Kuivenhoven/Edgar
  • Dave Chisnall v Brown/Meikle
  • Jermaine Wattimena v Telnekes/Kenny
  • Nathan Aspinall v Waites/Campbell
  • Michael Smith v Lowe/Gorbunov 

Sunday December 27

Third Round (Best of 7 sets)

  • 6x Third Round

Monday December 28

Third Round (Best of 7 sets)

  • 6x Third Round

Tuesday December 29

Third Round (Best of 7 sets) & Fourth Round (Best of 9 sets)

  • 4x Third Round
  • 2x Fourth Round

Wednesday December 30

Fourth Round (Best of 7 sets)

  • 6x Fourth Round

Friday January 1

Quarter-Finals (Best of 9 sets)

  • Four matches

Saturday January 2

Semi-Finals (Best of 11 sets)

  • Two matches

Sunday January 3

Final (Best of 13 sets)

  • Winner SF 1 v Winner SF 2


Venue: Alexandra Palace, London

Dates: Friday 15.12.2020 to Wednesday 03.01.2021

Format: Best of 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 sets

Current Champion: Peter Wright

Where To Watch: Sky Sports Darts

When To Watch: (1230, 1900 GMT)