Phil Taylor can get back to winning ways in a tournament he dominated last year
It is very rare indeed that Phil Taylor goes four tournaments without a win, making the law of averages alone a decent reason to back him at the Masters this week. However, there are a couple of more convincing motives for sticking a few quid on the Power in Edinburgh.
The Masters has only been held once before and it appeared to be a competition that suited Taylor down to the ground. The legendary chucker conceded just seven legs in four matches and ended with an obscene tournament average of 105.38. The Royal Highland Centre was certainly to the Stokie’s liking and he is going to be looking forward to heading back there this week.
Despite three poor recent results, his early exits at the Players Championship, Grand Prix and European Championship do not tell the full story. He averaged well over 100 in two of those defeats and out-averaged his opponent in the other, losing out narrowly to James Wade in Dublin. Two last 16 exits and one run to the quarter-finals in three tournaments looks pretty disastrous for Taylor, but he has certainly been unlucky and is in perfectly decent nick.
Playing Wes Newton first up was once a very tough draw, but the Warrior should not pose much of a threat to the Power in the opening round this week. With other big names having much trickier tests first up, Taylor is an even more tempting bet. He is on offer at 11/4 which looks a tremendous price for the defending champion.
Of those tricky tests in the first round, the highlight is another clash between Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld. MVG is the clear favourite to win this tournament but with RVB playing excellent darts at the minute, this could be a rare early exit for the world champion. Certainly a meeting with the leader of the Barney Army is enough to put us off backing Mighty Mike this week.
Of the other first round matches in Edinburgh, the pick of the bets seems to be Mervyn King who takes on Simon Whitlock. King reached the semi-finals at the European Championship and the last eight of the Grand Prix, whilst Whitlock was eliminated in the first round of both.
The Aussie has not won on stage since late 2012 whilst King lifted the trophy at the European Darts Grand Prix just last month which adds to his appeal still further. The King is a very tasty 7/5 to see off the Wizard and should tempt in a few punters with Whitlock a much less attractive prospect at 11/20.