This week, one of the more unusual darts tournaments of the season takes place. The European Championship will get underway with 32 of the best players in the PDC battling it out to claim the lion’s share of a £500,000 prize pool.
Current World Champion Gerwyn Price leads the field and starts as the favourite in a tournament which features a greater number of lower ranked players than usual, due to the somewhat unusual qualifying format for the event, where just European Tour events are counted and the top 32 on the European Tour Order of Merit qualify for the event.
This year’s event once again takes place at the Salzburgarena in Salzburg, Austria and Peter Wright will be defending the title he won back in 2020 with an 11-4 victory over Englandman James Wade.
Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen have won the trophy most times with four wins apieces, with Simon Whitlock, Adrian Lewis, James Wade, Rob Cross and the aforementioned Wright also landing wins.
There’s plenty of great pre-match and In Play betting available on this tournament with bet365 Sport, so if you would like to enjoy a bet on the outcome, check out the wide range of bets available with the site.
Let’s now take a look at the tournament in a bit more detail.
PDC European Championship 2021
The tournament sees all the 32 players that qualified given a seed between 1 and 32 based on their performances on the European Tour Order of Merit. The draw for the tournament then pits the number 1 seed against the number 32, number 2 against number 31 and so on.
This has resulted in the following first round draw (seed number in brackets).
- Gerwyn Price (1) v Ritchie Edhouse (32)
- Adam Gawlas (16) v Joe Murnan (17)
- Michael van Gerwen (8) v Boris Krcmar (25)
- James Wade (9) v Adam Smith-Neale (24)
- Michael Smith (4) v Ryan Searle (29)
- Krzysztof Ratajski (13) v Danny Noppert (20)
- Nathan Aspinall (5) v Mervyn King (28)
- Damon Heta (12) v Gabriel Clemens (21)
- Mensur Suljovic (2) v Adam Hunt (31)
- Peter Wright (15) v Florian Hempel (18)
- Simon Whitlock (7) v William Borland (26)
- Joe Cullen (10) v Ted Evetts (23)
- Brendan Doyle (3) v Kim Huybrechts (30)
- Rob Cross (14) v Keane Barry (19)
- Jose de Sousa (6) v Lewy Williams (27)
- Luke Humphries (11) v Callan Rydz (22)
Latest Outright Winner Betting
Gerwyn Price is the 3/1 favourite to win the event ahead of Peter Wright at 4/1, Michael van Gerwen at 9/2 and then the odds drift somewhat to Jose De Sousa at 10-1, Krzysztof Ratajski at 20/1 and then three players at 22/1, Nathan Aspinall, Joe Cullen and James Wade.
Another trio of Englishmen are 28/1 chances in Michael Smith, Luke Humphries and Rob Cross, with Danny Nopper, Ryan Searle and Mensur Suljovic all rated as 33/1 chances.
The rank outsides are Adam Hunt and William Borland at 200/1, Richie Edhouse at 250/1 and Adam Smith-Neale who is the 300/1 rank outside for the tournament.
The tournament is played in a legs (matchplay) format rather than sets, and the first round will see players compete to be the first to win six legs as it is best of 11.
First Round games are scheduled to be played on Thursday 14th and Friday 15th October.
The Second Round and Quarter Finals are both then played over a longer format of the best of 19 legs, with the Second Round being completed in full on the 16th October.
The Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Final are all played on the 17th October, with the semi final and final both being contested over the best of 21 legs format.
The winning player takes home a top prize of £120,000, with the runner up receiving £60,000.
Who Is In Form Heading Into The Event?
It is not difficult to see why Gerwyn Price is the man the bookmakers think will win the event this week. Price was the winner of both European Tour events this season (Hungarian Darts Trophy and Gibraltar Darts Trophy), meaning he took home the maximum available £50,000 in prize money and secured the top seed spot for this event.
The 2021 season has been shortened to just two events due to the pandemic, but it is hoped that next season, the European Tour will once again revert to a much larger number of tournaments with 13 slated to take place next season.
Then just this past weekend, Price was in action at the World Grand Prix, one of the PDC Major events and he landed a spot in the final, only to be defeated by the in form Jonny Clayton who won his third televised darts title of the year.
Clayton had previously won The Masters and then the Premier League Darts title, both.
However, Clayton did not qualify for this event, which makes Price’s position as favourite all the more understandable.
Given that Price, Clayton, James Wade and Peter Wright have been the players to win the PDC Majors this season, it is unusual not to see Michael van Gerwen’s name on the list, but the Dutchman has tasted victory in the recent Nordic Darts Masters tournament in Copenhagen.
Peter Wright has had a very solid season on the Pro Tour Super Series, winning a number of events to add to his World Matchplay title he won in Blackpool in July, and his World Cup of Darts title he won for Scotland alongside John Henderson in September.
It does very much appear that the title will be fought out between these three, but the unusual seeding and draw of this event means that some top names can meet up much earlier in the tournament than usual, which often opens up a route into the later stages of the event for an unheralded player.
So while my money would be on Peter Wright continuing his excellent form of late to win this, I would also consider a wager on the talented Michael Smith, who at 28/1, is excellent value for a player that has so much talent but has yet to land that first major win.
*All odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport as of 9.45am on Wednesday 13th October 2021.