Luke Humphries is the 10/3 favourite for the World Darts Championship after capturing his third major tournament in recent times with his 11-9 victory over Michael van Gerwen in the Players Championship Finals.
|Michael van Gerwen||4/1|
Luke Humphries is riding the crest of a wave as he gets set to toe the oche at Ally Pally as favourite to capture the coveted world title for the first time.
'Cool Hand' has been touted as one of the stars of the future since winning the Youth World Championships in 2019, and is undoubtedly one of the most naturally gifted players on the circuit.
The 28-year-old's reputation has continued to rise over the past couple of months, following up his maiden televised ranking success at the World Grand Prix in October by reigning supreme at the Grand Slam of Darts and the Players Championship in November.
Humphries lived up to his billing with a sensational triumph over Price in the Leicester final; breaking his duck in the most eye-catching fashion, before dismantling Rob Cross in a remarkably one-sided affair in Wolverhampton and producing a marvellous comeback to beat Michael van Gerwen in the Players Championship Finals.
The Crewe-based thrower will have been disappointed by a fourth-round exit at the World Championship last year, after making the quarter-finals in three of the previous four tournaments, but now, more than ever, the Cheshire-based arrowist will feel he has the game to mix, and overcome, the biggest names on Planet Darts, on the very grandest stage.
It is little surprise to see Michael van Gerwen towards the top of the betting as he was seen as the heir apparent to the dominant Phil Taylor, with suggestions he could get somewhere close to The Power's whopping 16 world titles.
Things have not panned out that way, yet, but Mighty Mike is still second on the all-time list, being the only other player to have won the PDC world crown on three occasions - in 2014, 2017 and 2019.
He was also world number one from 2014 to 2021 but form and fitness issues, along with the progression of others, mean he is no longer officially recognised as the world's best.
The Dutch ace was ranked third going into the last World Championship but powered his way to the final, only to succumb to a 7-4 defeat to Michael Smith.
While he hasn't been as successful this year as 2022 perhaps, he still became the Premier League champion for a record seventh time and the 2023 World Series Champion to suggest he is absolutely not one to be taken lightly.
Gerwyn Price knows what it takes to win on the biggest stage of them all, having triumphed at Alexandra Palace in 2021, a success which saw him take the world number one ranking.
However, perhaps due to the strength of the competition, he is not quite as dominant as in the past.
The Iceman did win the European Darts Open and International Darts Open, and made the Premier League final - only to lose to Van Gerwen. He also won the World Cup of Darts for Wales, playing with Jonny Clayton.
However, his World Championship bid last year will be forever remembered for his decision to wear ear defenders in his 5-1 defeat to Gabriel Clemens as the crowd got on his back.
The Iceman will be keen to ensure all of his talking is done with his undoubted darting prowess this time around.
Michael Smith has been touted for success ever since he won the Youth World Championship back in 2013, and although it took a while, those premonitions finally came to be realised when he claimed his first title back in January in what was his third final, throwing a nine-darter along the way in that classy win over MVG.
His Ally Pally success made it a unique double as he is the only player to have won both the Youth World Championships and the World Championships.
He also claimed top spot in the rankings in the process - a position he still holds over MvG as we edge ever closer to the start of the PDC's annual showpiece.
Smith shed his previous nearly-man tag (eight runner-up finishes in ten major finals) with victory in the Grand Slam of Darts a month before his world triumph, and having reached the final in three of the last five years at Ally Pally, he is without doubt a live contender at the 2024 Championship.
Make no mistake about it, Gary Anderson is back firing on all cylinders - just in time for the tournament that matters most to him!
The Flying Scotsman is a two-time World Champion and five-time world finalist, and if he can maintain the levels of performance he has shown over the past few months, then there is every chance he could extend that record yet further.
Anderson triumphed at Ally Pally in 2015 and 2016 as he asserted his dominance on the game, but since then, successes haven't been quite as regular as the Scotsman would have hoped.
He has since tinkered with both his darts and his stance in a bid to recapture his very best form, and, at long last, something appears to have clicked back into gear, with few players on the tour heading to London in better form than the 52-year-old.
If Anderson can maintain his impressive three-dart average and remain consistent with his finishing, then he looks an incredibly appealing bet to go deep.
Peter Wright is one of six players to have won the world title on multiple occasions, with victories in 2020 and 2022 seeing him lying alongside Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis and John Part with two wins - only Van Gerwen and Taylor have won more.
However, his title defence in 2023 never got going, despite a comfortable 3-0 win over Mickey Mansell, as he was dispatched 4-1 by Kim Huybrechts to fall in the second round.
Like the rest of the perceived established order, Wright seemed to be struggling for form and victories, although that changed at the European Championship in October, as he stormed through the field to defeat James Wade in the showpiece final.
As well as his success in Dortmund, 'Snakebite' has won both the Nordic Masters and Czech Open, as well as reaching the final of the World Cup of Darts, and there are signs that the former world champion is peaking at just the right time to seriously challenge for a third world crown in 2024.
Nathan Aspinall has previous at Alexandra Palace, and buoyed by his World Matchplay success earlier this year, could 2024 be the time that Aspinall's quality shines through in North London.
The Asp famously reached the semi-finals of the 2019 staging as a 500/1 outsider, before repeating that feat with yet another heroic run to the last four 12 months later.
His 2023 success in Blackpool was undoubtedly his biggest achievement to date, but that success, together with his maiden ranking triumph at the UK Open in 2019, will only have served to further his hunger for more titles in the future.
Providing he can show the consistency that has sometimes deserted him, Aspinall will be one to watch at the World Championship given his appealing 16/1 tagging.
Jonny Clayton has been something of a late bloomer, having secured his first major titles, and plenty of them, in 2021 to announce himself as one of the big stars of the game.
The 48-year-old has not quite followed up that trophy-laden campaign in the subsequent two years, while he has yet to really stamp his mark on the World Championships.
His best finish at Ally Pally came earlier this year when he reached the quarter-finals, and a run all the way to the World Matchplay final in July might just be the boost he needs for a strong showing at the end of the year.
To Win Outright
Any odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.