Michael van Gerwen will want to get back to winning ways in the Masters this week after his defeat to Peter Wright in the William Hill World Darts Championship earlier this month.

I have to say, he seemed to have lost that sharp edge that he had and a 106 plus average has not been there for a while, which will always bring him back into the pack.

The Masters is a 16-man field from the PDC’s world ranking. It’s a seeded draw and MVG actually has the best draw of all the top seeds – and that’s why I’m with him to win this event at 11/10.

I see him making the final without too much of a problem and he will be wanting to see Wright across the stage to get his own back. I do believe it will be Wright because the confidence he would have taken from the Worlds will make him a tough player to beat, and at 6/1 there will be a lot of punters that see that as great value.

It will be interesting to see how Gary Anderson will perform in this event as last year we certainly did not see his best, while neither Rob Cross nor Daryl Gurney played to their potential. Gerwyn Price should still be in fine form from the best year of his career so far.

Outsiders are very hard to find but I always expect Dave Chisnall to be a tough player to beat and Nathan Aspinall seems to be getting better and better on the big stage.

So it’s Van Gerwen to play Wright in the final.

There are eight games in the first session of play on Friday night and below are a few of my tips.

Michael Smith vs Mensur Suljovic

Both players seem to have lost their edge, however, out of the two I’m with Michael Smith on this one as he leads when it comes to scoring power.

Go for Smith -1.5 legs on the handicap for a bit more value at 10/11 and Smith to have the most 180s at 8/13.

Nathan Aspinall vs James Wade

Aspinall has become a quality player in a very short time. He also has plenty of grit and determination so you know he will never give up.

James Wade did not have a very good end to 2019 and an early exit in the Worlds did not help, but on his day he’s a frightening player to play because of his checkout ability.

I am going with an Aspinall to win here at 4/6, he just seems to lead the form line.

Michael van Gerwen vs Jonny Clayton

If Van Gerwen has sorted his form out then I see him winning this by a few legs. His scoring power can be overpowering as he rolls off several legs at a high standard and is very quick so you can lose four or five before you realise.

Jonny Clayton will not be a pushover if MVG is not on his game, however, over this distance it will be a tough task for him to get a result.

I’m going for the MVG treble of winning the match, highest match checkout and most 180s at 5/4.

Rob Cross vs Adrian Lewis

Although Rob Cross did not play well in the Worlds, he did put in some very good shifts last year so if he can find that form then he should get the win. However, a slow start could cause him big problems as Adrian Lewis is starting to find some of his old form.

I see this as a close game because both players blow hot and cold at the moment, however, I am going with a Cross win at 8/15.

These two players are always very good at big checkouts so I’m also going for over 126.5 at 5/6.

Daryl Gurney vs Dave Chisnall

Gurney has slipped to number seven in the rankings and he needs to start the year off well and stop that slide. He seems to have lost a little bit of his scoring power, which in turn puts more pressure on his doubles, so he needs a flying start to get the confidence going early.

Chisnall had one of his best years for a while and has flown up the rankings. He has never won a major tournament because of his doubling, but his scoring power matches them all and he certainly is a big danger to anyone in the early rounds of an event.

This is a tough call because both players on their day have exceptional scoring power, however, both miss doubles under pressure at times.

I’m going for over 16.5 legs in the match at 7/10 and also over 10.5 180s at 4/5.

Gary Anderson vs Ian White

Anderson still has not got back his edge from when he won these sorts of tournaments for fun. At times his scoring power is there, however, under the cosh he has started to miss doubles. He is another player that needs a good start to the year to level out and get the confidence back.

Ian White is one of the toughest players to beat in the minor events, however, he just cannot get over the line in the big TV events. He has good scoring power but has too many missed doubles at crucial times.

I am with Anderson on this one, hoping that he will start strong, and going for -16.5 legs at 21/20 for some extra value.

I’m also going over 9.5 180s at 10/11.

Peter Wright vs Joe Cullen

Wright must still be flying after his William Hill World Darts Championship win and I certainly see him winning more TV events now he has finally got over the line in a major. I’m hoping he has stayed with the same darts as he was very comfortable with the ones he used in the final when beating MVG.

Joe Cullen has never really got to the high standards that we thought he would. In early rounds he can throw some great darts, however, normally when he plays one of the top ranked players he misses doubles and sometimes loses by a way, although he has nothing to lose here and can just try and play his own game.

I have to go with Wright here at 1/4.

I’m also going for under 16.5 legs in the match at 4/6 as I have Wright winning it 10-5–10-6, and Wright for the highest checkout at 8/13 as he is hitting loads.

Gerwyn Price vs Simon Whitlock

Price did lose his way when exiting at the Worlds, however, that was the first time for over a year that he did not perform at a high standard. The break might have done him a bit of good and he should be refreshed.

Simon Whitlock does have great games when he beats them all, however, he also has games where he just can’t find it. He’s always a hard player to tip against in early rounds because you just don’t know what Whitlock will turn up.

I think Price will carry on with the form of last year and win this on over 118.5 on his checkout at 5/6.

I also have a couple of extra bets for you on this first day, with Anderson, Smith and Aspinall to all win paying around the 7/2 mark, and MVG and Wright both to win with the William Hill treble paying over 5/1.

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