The Masters kicks off this weekend and the competition looks a lot different from last year. Firstly, the event has increased the number of competitors from 16 to 24. This is the first major change that the tournament has seen since its inception in 2013. Secondly, we have a new world number one heading into the event.

We’ve taken look at the main competitors as well as players to look out for.

Ice cool Price

Gerwyn Price couldn’t have asked to start the year in a better way, winning the William Hill World Championship and becoming world number one for the first time in his career. He’s riding the crest of a wave at the moment after winning three televised titles and five non-televised titles last year. He will be hungry for more and taking his first-ever Masters title will continue his fine form.

He’s currently joint-favourite at 11/4 alongside Michael Van Gerwen, and is the man to beat after his Christmas exploits. However, Price has a difficult draw, facing either Stephen Bunting or Joe Cullen in the second round. Both men had incredible World Championship campaigns with Bunting reaching the semi-finals and Cullen unlucky to lose to Van Gerwen in the fourth round.

MVG out to regain his crown

2020 was a strange year for MVG. Although he won the UK Open as well as multiple Players’ Championships, Mighty Mike never looked in full swing. We saw glimpses of prime MVG in this year’s World Championship where he averaged 100+ in the second, third and fourth rounds. This good run soon ended when he was dismantled by Dave Chisnall in the quarter-finals, though. Having lost his world number one status also, MVG will be keen to get 2021 off to a positive start.

He has previous in this event too, winning it a record five consecutive times between 2015 and 2019. The Dutchman is the only player to have won the event multiple times and when at his best is more than capable of wiping the floor with the opposition. As mentioned previously, he’s joint-favourite at 11/4. He will face either the current Grand Slam of Darts champion Jose De Sousa or Johnny Clayton, who won the World Cup of Darts alongside Gerwyn Price last year.

Wright to defend his title

Peter Wright won the event last year on the back of his World Championship victory to cap off an incredible January. He became the first Scotsman to win the Masters when beating Michael Smith in the final. However, he had a disappointing World Championship run over Christmas after being knocked out by Gabriel Clemens in the third round. He should be able to brush off that defeat and hit the ground running here though.

Snakebite is 13/2 to defend his title and become only the second man to win multiple Masters titles.

Others to look out for

The field looks more stacked than ever thanks to the increased number of participants this year, but we also have multiple Masters debutants to keep an eye on. One of these is Dimitri Van Den Bergh. The DreamMaker had his best year in the PDC in 2020 after winning his first major title – The World Matchplay. He was well-fancied going into the World Championships and made it to the fourth round before being knocked out by Dave Chisnall, despite averaging 102. He’s 14/1 to win the tournament. He faces another debutant in the shape of Chris Dobey the first round. Dancing Dimitri is 2/5 to progress through that fixture but will then face James Wade in the second round.

Mervyn King is another name that has been hitting headlines recently. He seemed to be in fantastic form at the back end of last year, coming runner up in the Players Championship Finals. He followed up that brilliant display with a great run in the World Championship, reaching the fourth round before being eliminated by the eventual winner Price. A veteran of the PDC circuit with three televised and eight non-televised titles to his name, King has experience on his side. He’s 40/1 to win the tournament and faces current Premier League champion Glen Durrant in the first round, a game is he is evens to win.

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