One of the most unique and exciting darting events on the calendar, the UK Open is a must watch this weekend.

It’s a competition that always throws up surprises but this year the competition looks so heated that it could be a classic.

We preview the best of the action.

The Iceman is feeling the chill

Gerwyn Price is at the forefront of what feels like a new era in the sport of darts. He’s the world number one and the current PDC world champion and up until recently was the player in form. The darts calendar moves quickly and if you get caught in a slump you could be in for a tough few weeks. To say Price is in poor form is completely untrue but luck hasn’t been on his side in the early stages of this year.

He was beaten by a flying Mervyn King in the Masters before suffering a shock defeat to Aaron Beeney on the second day of the Super Series. The Iceman had to withdraw before the Players Championship Three due to a recurring ear infection, opting to rest up ahead of the UK Open. The slightest change to the body can make a huge impact in darts and it will be interesting to see how he bounces back this weekend.

Despite all of this, the Iceman is still the 5/1 second favourite in the market and if back to his best, he could be a real threat. Price has been the runner-up in this tournament twice before, most recently last year, and knows what it takes to get in the final. This could be his year to finally get over the line.

What has happened to MVG?

It’s no secret that Michael van Gerwen didn’t have the greatest season last year. There was something missing, with Wayne Mardle even stating that he’d “lost his swagger.” However, there is no denying that the world number two remains a force to be reckoned with and he still picked up the UK Open, the Players Championship Finals and multiple Players Championships along the way last year.

Mighty Mike is the second most successful player in this tournament, behind none other than Phil Taylor. MVG has picked up the honours three times in the past and is looking to make it consecutive UK Open titles. Van Gerwen will be looking for a boost after going out in the second round of the Masters and failing to make an impact so far on the pro tour. He’s the 9/2 favourite and if he can win this then it could kickstart his year.

Clayton a man in form

Jonny Clayton. Where do we even start? He is playing the darts of his life and is comfortably the man in form on the circuit. Since his shock win in the Masters and subsequent Premier League qualification, the Ferret has appeared in three out of four Players Championship finals, being successful in one of them. Everything he throws seems to be going where he wants it to and he’s riding the crest of a wave.

Price has marked Clayton as the man to beat and knows exactly what he’s capable of as the pair won the World Cup of Darts together last year. Clayton is 12/1 to continue his incredible start to 2021 and his consistency suggests that he might be lifting his third PDC title of the year.

Others to look out for

Raymond van Barneveld secured his spectacular return to the professional game in February when successfully earning his PDC tour card. Who would have known that a mere three days later he’d have won his first ranking title since being back? It’s an incredible achievement but also shows that Barney is bang on it. Many were sceptical about his return but he silenced a few critics last weekend. He’s a massive 66/1 to win the UK Open. Can he roll back the years?

Up there form-wise with the likes of Clayton is Joe Cullen. A consistent performer on the PDC circuit, Cullen has seemingly stepped it up a gear since his emphatic shootout with MVG at the World Darts Championships. He took home the first Players Championship but also appeared in the final of the third event. Similarly to Clayton, Cullen is throwing the best darts of his career and if that continues, he could have a massive chance at UK Open success. He’s 16/1 for glory.

Check out all the latest darts betting odds at William Hill