PDC World Darts Championship 2024 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

The calendar is ticking around towards Christmas which can only mean one thing – that the Alexandra Palace is set to open its doors to the biggest and best in the darting world for the PDC World Darts Championship, which begins on Friday.

Michael Smith fulfilled a lifelong dream in the capital at the beginning of 2023 and he is back to attempt to make a successful defence of the title but this feels the most open renewal of this competition yet given the number of players in good nick.

Recent Winners

2023 – Michael Smith

2022 – Peter Wright

2021 – Gerwyn Price

2020 – Peter Wright

2019 – Michael van Gerwen

2018 – Rob Cross

2017 – Michael van Gerwen

2016 – Gary Anderson

2015 – Gary Anderson

2014 – Michael van Gerwen

The Format

There has been no change to the format for the 2024 renewal so the top 32 in the world rankings all progress through to the second round with the first round of the event seeing the 32 qualifiers from the pro tour order of merit meeting one of the international qualifiers for the right to take on a seeded player in the second stage of the event.

The first and the second round are the best of five sets. The third round and the last 16 are the best of seven sets with the quarter finals up to the best of nine. The two semi-finals are the best of 11 and the champion will be crowned on January 3 over the best of 13 sets. From the second round onwards there is a final set tiebreaker which means that a deciding set needs to be won by two clear legs unless it gets to 5-5 in which leg 11 is a sudden death as has been the case ever since the competition moved to Alexandra Palace.

Top Quarter

Unlike most tournaments on the darting calendar, this is not one of those where the defending champion is automatically the number one seed but as Michael Smith is world number one going into this event this is a year where the current title holder is the top seed. He has been placed at the top of the draw bracket and if everything goes to plan he will meet Rob Cross in the quarter final. Six seeds bypass the first round of the tournament and will be out to stop that match happening. They are the former Premier League champion Jonny Clayton, Ross Smith, The Masters winner Chris Dobey, Krzysztof Ratajski, Jose de Sousa and Madars Razma.

There are 16 unseeded players in each quarter of the draw in this tournament and in truth in the top section there aren’t too many in the way of appealing names on show. One man who might get some attention is the American qualifier Stowe Buntz, a recent quarter finalist at the Grand Slam of Darts while the likes of Mike de Decker, Kevin Doets, Niels Zonneveld, William O’Connor and Mario Vandenbogaerde will be looking for a couple of wins and a big boost to their world ranking. The 2022 WDF finalist Thibault Tricole is in this quarter too.

Second Quarter

Peter Wright has slipped down to number four in the world and he is under plenty of pressure to have a big run in this tournament because he is defending the 500,000 ranking points he won when he lifted this title two years ago. He has been very up and down this year with his win at the European Championship a clear highlight. He is seeded to run into Gerwyn Price in the quarter final but a strong set of seeds are out to put the kybosh on that happening. Raymond van Barneveld is one of those as he looks to revive past glories while James Wade is considered by plenty as the best player never to have got his hands on this trophy. UK Open champion Andrew Gilding is in this quarter as are the in form former winner Gary Anderson, Brendan Dolan and Dirk van Duijvenbode.

There are some real standout qualifiers in this part of the draw with much of the attention being on the youngster Luke Littler who is already being tipped for big things after he demolished Gian van Veen in the World Youth Championship final. Jim Williams was a WDF world finalist who has had a good year on the PDC circuit while Simon Whitlock and Christian Kist are former world finalists in the two different codes. Radek Szaganski has won a Players Championship event this term and makes his debut here while Matt Campbell, Keegan Brown and Boris Krcmar are all competent players.

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Third Quarter

Michael van Gerwen goes into this tournament as the highest seed in the third quarter of the draw. It is now five years since he has got his hands on this trophy, although he was a win away from winning the competition last time. MVG is on a collision course with his fellow Dutch player Danny Noppert in the quarter final but with neither being in blinding form in the TV events in 2023 the other six seeds in this section will fancy their chances of a huge run. They are Kim Huybrechts, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Stephen Bunting, Martin Schindler, Damon Heta and Josh Rock.

This is another of the quarters where we have a high profile player among the qualifiers as Fallon Sherrock will line up in this section. In truth, there aren’t many other standout qualifiers although Luke Woodhouse had a couple of good wins at the Players Championship Finals. Ryan Joyce was another who had a good run there while Richard Veenstra took Michael Smith out of that event. Keane Barry, Florian Hempel and Scott Williams are some of the other players in this part of the draw to keep an eye on in the match betting.

Bottom Quarter

This is the quarter where the man of the moment Luke Humphries will look to add the World Championship crown to his World Grand Prix, Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals titles. If form coming into the event is the deciding factor in the champion then Humphries is a huge favourite to be crowned world champion on January 3 but a potential quarter final against Nathan Aspinall would certainly have to be considered a stumbling block. Once again though six seeds will be out to get in the way of that. Callan Rydz is one of those along with Joe Cullen, Ryan Searle, Daryl Gurney, Dave Chisnall and the semi-finalist of last season in Gabriel Clemens.

There are plenty of appealing qualifiers in this section of the draw with Gian van Veen probably the standout among them. The second female into the draw is Mikuru Suzuki and she is in this quarter while Ricardo Pietreczko already has a European Tour event to his name and will hope to transfer that form onto the biggest of stages. Ricky Evans, Ian White and Steve Beaton are seasoned campaigners in this section while Wessel Nijman and Rusty-Jake Rodriguez are talents who could surprise their first round opponents at the very least.


Stephen Bunting has made the semi-final and quarter final of the last two TV events and he has made a European Tour final this year as well. He probably should have gone further than the last eight in Minehead last month but coughed up a lead to Michael van Gerwen but was that match to be in set play his advantage would have been almost unassailable. I’ve always thought Bunting was better in set play than match play. In this tournament he has made the semis once and two quarter finals in eight goes and he has twice made the last four of the World Grand Prix. Before that, he won the Lakeside world title and twice won the Winmau World Masters. Bunting has plenty of form in set play, is piling in the big scores and if his finishing holds up he can make a monster run at this.

In a wide open tournament there is always a forgotten man in any betting market and that would appear to be Jonny Clayton this year. He is 50/1 to win the title which feels huge for a man who has won four TV titles on his own and two others alongside Gerwyn Price as well as two European Tour titles. In addition to that, he has made the final of the World Matchplay earlier this season and has reached the semi-finals or better of six of the last 14 TV events and two other quarter finals in that time. Two of his TV titles came in the World Grand Prix which shows he can handle the pressures of set play and the Premier League where he proved he can take down the very best. There is a consensus that Clayton has had a bad year. He has won two titles, admittedly both on the floor but won them nonetheless, sits at 10 in the seasonal averages on the PDC Tour in 2023 and leads the way in checkout percentages on stage this year. If all that wasn’t enough, he has landed in the weakest part of the draw and at 50/1 I can’t resist backing him for this.


Back S.Bunting to win PDC World Darts Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 41.00 with Betfred (1/4 1-4)

Back J.Clayton to win PDC World Darts Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 51.00 with Betfred (1/4 1-4)