PDC World Darts Championship: Format Explained, Best Odds and Picks

The world's best darts players will be in London for the annual PDC World Darts Championship over the next two weeks.

The sport's showpiece event will be hosted at the Alexandra Palace, the venue that has staged the event every year since 2008, and as has become tradition the final will be held on New Year's Day.

There are plenty of talking points ahead of this year's edition of the PDC World Championship.

Michael Van Gerwen is aiming to win back-to-back world titles for the first time in his career, while fellow Dutchman Raymond Van Barneveld seeks a fairytale finish to a glittering career and Gerwyn Price looks to clinch a first world title.

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Here's all you need to know about the tournament.

Michael van Gerwen, PDC World Darts Championship
Michael van Gerwen of the Netherlands lifts the trophy after defeating England's Michael Smith in the final of the 2019 William Hill World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace on January 1 in London, United Kingdom. Jordan Mansfield/Getty

How does the scoring system work at the PDC World Darts Championship?

The PDC World Championship follows the traditional format adopted in professional darts, in which two players compete against each other.

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Both players start on a score of 501 and throw three darts each, with each player subtracting the total scored from his current tally until the first player to check out—reach zero—declared the winner of that particular leg. At the PDC World Championship, players have to win three legs to take a set.

A player can only check out by hitting either the bullseye or a double segment in order to win. In other words, if a player requires 32 to win, they can't hit single 20 and single 12, but have to hit 20 and double 6.

How does the PDC World Darts Championship work?

Ninety-six players will be competing in London, with the top 32-ranked players in the world earning a first-round bye.

These include current world No. 1 and defending champion Michael van Gerwen, 2018 PDC World Champion Rob Cross and two-time world champion Gary Anderson.

The first round, meanwhile, will see the 32 highest-ranked players on the PDC Pro Tour Order of Merit—who have not gained automatic qualification to the second round—take on 32 qualifiers in the first round.

The qualifiers include two women—Ireland's Fallon Sherlock and Japan's Mikuru Suzuki—and the only two Americans in the tournament—Danny Baggish and Darin Young.

The first two rounds of the PDC World Championship are decided over a best-of-five sets format and best-of-seven sets in the third and fourth rounds.

The quarterfinals are played over a best-of-nine sets format, which increases to best-of-11 in the semifinals and best-of-13 in the final.

Players to watch

Michael Van Gerwen is once again the man to beat at the PDC World Darts Championship as he looks to defend the title he won 12 months ago.

The current world No. 1 has won three of the last six PDC world titles and aims to become the first player to win back-to-back world crowns since Gary Anderson achieved the feat in 2016.

Behind the Dutchman, world No. 3 Gerwyn Price arrives in London in the form of his life after winning the PDC Grand Slam this year and finishing runner-up in both the European Championship and the Players Championship Finals.

Price also reached the semifinals of the Champions League, while Peter Wright went a step further and finished in second place.

The world No. 7 also took the runner-up spot in the Grand Slam and will be desperate to clinch a first PDC world title, after finishing losing the 2014 final.

World No. 2 Rob Cross looks to repeat his 2018 triumph, while two-time world champion Gary Anderson and World No. 4 Michael Smith are also among the players who could lift the trophy come January 1.

PDC World Darts Championship odds

According to BetOnline, defending world champion and reigning world No. 1 Michael Van Gerwen is the favorite to win the tournament for the fourth time.

The Dutchman is a 5/4 favorite to lift the trophy on New Year's Day, followed by Gerwyn Price at 9/2 and Peter Wright at 12/1.

Behind the trio, 2018 PDC World Champion Rob Cross and two-time world champion Gary Anderson are 16/1 and 18/1 outsiders respectively.

PDC World Darts Championship: Format Explained, Best Odds and Picks | Sports