Daily Star World Darts Champs predictions – winner, most 180s and odd moments

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    You know it's Christmas when the Paddy Power PDC World Darts Championship is back in town.

    The countdown is well and truly on until the arrows are flying, pints are chugged and 3,000 festive fans fill the air with chorus after chorus of Yaya and Kolo Toure chants. What do you mean they've both been retired for the best part of half-a-decade?

    As for the action on the oche, it's Luke Humphries who's at the top of the market after winning three tournaments in the build-up to Ally Pally. With just hours to go until it all kicks off, our merry band of Daily Star Sport gurus have had their say on who will walk away with the Sid Waddell Trophy, which player will hit the most 180s, plus plenty more.

    READ MORE: ‌'I'm a PDC darts champ who went from depressive recluse to church-singing guitar nut'

    READ MORE: 'Babe magnet' Peter Manley posts saucy Christmas message that has darts fans in bits

    Get your ultimate World Darts Championship 2024 preview here

    It's the most wonderful time of the year – and we've got the perfect magazine to get you in the Ally Pally spirit!

    With this year's PDC World Darts Championship set to be another thriller, Daily Star Sport have prepared your ultimate 40-page preview magazine to get you ready for all things arrows.

    From interviews with Grand Slam of Darts champion Luke Humphries and former world champions Gary Anderson and Rob Cross to in depth features on the PDC's angriest moments and why they start on 501 – we've got you covered.

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    Aaron Flanagan

    Winner: Luke Humphries

    Surprise Package: James Wade

    Most 180s: Michael van Gerwen

    Shock Early Exit: Michael Smith

    Best International Qualifier: Wessel Nijman

    Bizarre/random thing that will happen: Someone to fall off the stage. How it's not happened yet I'll never know.

    I've got my eyes on semi-final night. It should bring us the game that we all want: Luke Humphries vs Michael van Gerwen. Humphries is unquestionably the best player on the planet right now and, particularly in a long World Championship format, MVG might be the only person who can get close to stopping him.

    It's Nathan Aspinall I feel sorry for. He would have been my pick a couple of months ago. His scoring is superb and he knows how to manufacture deep runs at the Worlds. But he has been drawn a) in the wrong half of the draw and b) in Humphries' quarter, so he's probably going to bow out in the quarters.

    Many years have passed since James Wade would be considered a surprise package, but he has Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright and Gary Anderson in his quarter. But I back him to get out of it. He's playing better darts now than he has in years – made three TV quarters in a row for the first time since 2011 – and is playing superbly while the others have been stuttering.

    Wessel Nijman might be a new name for some, but he has a seasonal average of over 92 and if he can get past Steve Beaton, he plays Daryl Gurney which is one of the more favourable seed draws right now.

    As for Michael Smith, it’s been a torrid year. He has looked unfocused and beatable. His first round draw – where he will likely play Stowe Buntz – presents a huge problem for him. Don’t be surprised to see him bow out on the very first night.

    Ben Crawford

    Winner: Gerwyn Price

    Surprise Package: Ross Smith

    Most 180s: Luke Humphries

    Shock Early Exit: Michael Smith

    Best International Qualifier: Luke Littler

    Bizarre/random thing that will happen: Jarvo's sex-noise prank comes to Ally Pally

    Falling to the fifth seed might help Gezzy out, as he avoids the two ‘in-form’ throwers in Humphries and MVG on a potential road to the final – where he’d most likely face one of them.

    He wants to win the title with the crowd in attendance, having done it in an empty arena in 2021, and I fancy him to get it this year if he can stomach the boos. His quarter features a low-on-confidence Wright, a red-hot but yet-to-reach-a-world-final Wadey and the best player on the floor this year, Gary Anderson. It's a tough ask, but he beats any of them on his day, and who’s to say he can’t win the lot?

    Ross Smith has been poor this year, no doubt, but he loves the worlds and is the best 180-hitter on the planet when he’s on it. Potentially upsetting the world champion could spur him to conquer a quarter featuring Clayton and Cross.

    Humphries, on the reverse side of Gezzy’s draw, should drown in a sea of maximums on his potentially deep run. Littler should also impress on the back of his youth final win.

    Joshua Peck

    Winner: Gary Anderson

    Surprise Package: William O'Connor

    Most 180s: Gary Anderson

    Shock Early Exit: Peter Wright

    Best International Qualifier: Boris Krcmar

    Bizarre/random thing that will happen: A big player will retire

    Gary Anderson is in the toughest quarter of the draw, alongside Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price, but he has what it takes to go all the way again. And if he does, that T20 bed is in for an absolute hammering. Price has bowed out at the quarter-final stage the last two years while Peter Wright has had a tough year despite his European Championship success and didn't even qualify for the recent Players Championship finals.

    He'll fall early at Ally Pally. Snakebite admitted last month the thought of retirement crossed his mind earlier this year, and this World Championships could see one of the big guns call it quits. It may even be king of the floor this year Gary Anderson. What better way to end it than by doing something Phil Taylor couldn't and winning the worlds in your last ever match.

    Mark Whiley

    Winner: Luke Humphries

    Surprise Package: Gian van Veen

    Most 180s: Gerwyn Price

    Shock Early Exit: Michael Smith

    Best International Qualifier: Stowe Buntz

    Bizarre/random thing that will happen: A player will trip over while dancing their way to the stage

    I feel a bit boring writing this but it’s hard to look beyond Luke Humphries after his trio of major wins at the back end of the year. It’s not just the fact he’s won them, but who he’s beaten – Gerwyn Price in the Grand Prix final and Michael van Gerwen in the Players Championship final. He looks so confident, so assured, but without being cocky. He’s also proved he can dig himself out of a hole, rallying from 9-5 down against Van Gerwen in the Players final.

    However, with about 10 potential winners in a field packed with quality, Cool Hand won’t have it all his own way at Ally Pally. The old ‘big four’ of Van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price, Michael Smith and Peter Wright remain potential winners too, but all have lacked consistency this year. I can even see defending champion Smith tumbling out of the tournament early doors.

    Tom Sunderland

    Winner: Dimitri van den Bergh

    Surprise Package: Keane Barry

    Most 180s: Luke Humphries

    Shock Early Exit: Michael Smith

    Best International Qualifier: Berry van Peer

    Bizarre/random thing that will happen: Gerwyn Price gets into a fight with a fan.

    The last couple editions of the WC have seen some surprise entrants emerge on top, and it’s a trend that could very well continue with back-to-back maiden title winners. But it won’t be Luke Humphries having his name etched as many have foretold.

    After reaching the semis last year, Dimitri van den Bergh has it in him to stage a surprise run provided he can surpass some huge tests early on in his side of the draw. Van Gerwen has proved a bogey opponent for the Belgian in the past, but if he can overcome Bunting and Mighty Mike in the first few rounds, that confidence could be the key to unlocking his full potential at Ally Pally.

    Cameron Winstanley

    Winner: Luke Humphries

    Surprise Package: Jim Williams

    Most 180s: Luke Humphries

    Shock Early Exit: Peter Wright

    Best International Qualifier: Luke Littler

    Bizarre/random thing that will happen: Damon Heta to abseil onto the stage

    Luke Humphries is the man to beat at Ally Pally and, off the back of three major tournament wins leading up to the World Champs, he will reign supreme again. Cool Hand is in the tougher side of the draw and will certainly have to ride his luck at times with a number of high-class players in his quarter. Joe Cullen, Ryan Searle, Nathan Aspinall and Dave Chisnall who proved before at the worlds they can really turn it on. But I back Humphries to beat all before him, and he’ll have to be at his best so I expect the T20 to take a battering off him.

    Peter Wright looks far from the player he was a couple of years ago and the surprise package of Jim Williams could be the man to cause the upset in the same way he dumped out James Wade last year, with the pair to then meet in the second round should Williams take care of Norman Madhoo. Luke Littler could also be one to watch with a winnable run to the third round and potentially beyond if he finds his feet.

    Nick Murphy

    Winner: Nathan Aspinall

    Surprise Package: Stephen Bunting

    Most 180s: Gary Anderson

    Shock Early Exit: Michael Smith

    Best International Qualifier: Stowe Buntz

    Bizarre/random thing that will happen: Just Stop Oil protestors will interrupt a game

    This year’s Paddy Power PDC World Darts Championship looks wide open – if it wasn’t for Luke Humphries, that is. Cool Hand has put the freeze on his competitors in the last few months and is a rightful favourite to win the Sid Waddell Trophy. It’d be no surprise whatsoever if he sweeps aside all before him and lifts his maiden world title. However, there’s no fun in predicting the favourite to win the thing, so I’ve gone for Nathan Aspinall to continue his brilliant year with another big showing at Ally Pally.

    The Asp won the World Matchplay in July, reached the World Series finals in September and has two semi-final appearances already under his belt in north London. He’s a huge price at 33/1 to go all the way, even if he’s on the same side of the draw as Cool Hand. Elsewhere, defending champion Michael Smith’s struggles could continue, while in-form pair Gary Anderson and Stephen Bunting will be primed for big runs. Just watch out for the Just Stop Oil Tarquins spoiling the show.

    Jack Staplehurst

    Winner: Luke Humphries

    Surprise Package: Callan Rydz

    Most 180s: Luke Humphries

    Shock Early Exit: Peter Wright

    Best International Qualifier: Luke Littler

    Bizarre/random thing that will happen: Two players will have to be separated after squaring up

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