2023 Players Championship Finals Betting Preview – JP

by | Nov 22, 2023

2023 Players Championship Finals Preview & Tips

Now, it is time for James Punt’s 2023 Players Championship Finals outright betting preview. James had a stellar week at the Grand Slam, firing in a plethora of winners. Let’s hope the gravy train keeps on rolling…

2023 Players Championship Finals

Another week, another major championship.

The Players Championship Finals is, as the name suggests, the culmination of the thirty players championship qualifying events held throughout 2023. Prizemoney won at each event creates an order of merit and the top 64 players on the OOM qualify for the finals.

The draw is made on the basis of the number 1 on the OOM plays the 64th, number 2 plays 63rd etc. This means ‘the best players, play ‘the weakest’. The result should mean the players at or nearer the top of the OOM should have a better chance of getting to the latter stages, and indeed win.

Of the fifteen previous tournaments, five number 1 seeds have won and one was runner up. The second seed has won twice, runner up once, the third seed has won once and was runner up once.

Ten of the finals have been won by a top six player and seven runners up have been top 6 players. It is not an exact science, but the principle is there. The higher seeds, tend to be the better players, they get better draws and have a good record as a result.

Managed Schedules

These days, many of the top players have to manage their schedules and choose not to play in many of these events. Say MVG wins PC1 and picks up £12k in OOM money, he can skip a few, picking and choosing which ones to play when his schedule is not so busy.

It has got to the stage that players like Nathan Aspinall have not played in enough events to win enough money to make the top 64 and failed to qualify. Peter Wright also failed to qualify but largely that was down to just not playing well enough for much of the season.

For this tournament, the OOM is a bit more mixed up than we might expect. Michael van Gerwen, the defending champion and six time winner, is ranked 40th. Michael Smith is the 27th seed.

However, the top seeds are indeed, top ranked players. The number 1 seed is Gerwyn Price, number 2 Gary Anderson, number 3 Damon Heta, number 4 Dave Chisnall, number 5 Josh Rock and number 6 Dirk van Duijvenbode.

Form & Pedigree Key

The usual selection criteria apply, which players are in great form and have a winning pedigree in big tournaments, or the potential to win big events. Their actual ranking is a hint, but not definitive.

The lowest ranked winner was the 22nd seed last year, MVG. Paul Nicholson was the second lowest as the 21st seed in 2010. I would be wary of backing a player outside of the top 10, unless there is a clear and strong reason to.

By only qualifying 40th this season, MVG in theory gets a harder draw. He will face Callan Rydz in the first round, so he got a bit lucky there as Rydz is not in great form. Gerwyn Price on the other hand, as number 1 seed plays the lowest qualifier, Ricky Evans, a player he has beaten nine times a row.

The first two rounds are played as a best of 11 leg format, so nothing is a given for the top seeds early on.

The 2023 Players Championship Finals Draw

First Quarter

Gerwyn Price tops this quarter as the number 1 seed. He plays Ricky Evans who Price is going for win number ten in a row against. Evans is playing OK. He has slowed down a little and there is more consistency in his game, but Price has won nine of his last ten and is in excellent form, if a little frustrated by results in the big ones.

Another notable player in this quarter is Stephen Bunting. He lost another major semi-final last weekend, but he is in very good form and should get past Mickey Mansell in the first round. 

Gian Van Veen is the new Kid on the Block and very capable of a good run. Former European Champion, Ross Smith, is in decent form and due a good run. Danny Noppert was a late withdrawal and is replaced by Dylan Slevin. 

Tricky Ties

Michael van Gerwen should face a tricky run of early round matches. Rydz can be very dangerous, and if MVG gets past him, he faces the likes of Ross Smith, but the withdrawal of Noppert increases MVG’s chances. Given MVG’s iffy recent form, he has lost four of his last six matches, I still wouldn’t be that confident that he would reach the quarter-finals.

Gerwyn Price gets an easier passage, as befits the number 1 seed. I expect he will face Schindler and Van Veen (he is 5-0 with Van Veen) en-route to a quarter final.

I’ll take Gerwyn Price to win the quarter. Price’s best result in this tournament is being runner up in 2019, when he was the number 1 seed. He was a semi-finalist in 2020 but he has also lost three first round matches and failed to get beyond the third round on six occasions.

Second Quarter

Dave Chisnall is the top seed in this quarter, but he has ended up with a tough looking potential pathway to the quarter final. He faces Lee Evans in the first round, and Evans has lost seven of his last ten. Chisnall himself is in good form winning eight from his last ten, but he isn’t the same player on TV and it is getting to him.

He looks likely to face Chris Dobey in the second round. That would be tough for both players. Dobey will be getting frustrated with playing so well for so long and having so little to show for it.

Grand Slam runner up, Rob Cross, should be too good for Cameron Menzies in round one. Josh Rock reached his first major quarter final last week and he looks good for another decent run here. A possible second clash with Gabriel Clemens would be tough as the big German is playing some good stuff. 

Jonny Clayton is struggling for form and hard to fancy, which leaves Daryl Gurney at the bottom of the quarter.

Chin Needs Wins

Superchin is playing well but not getting as many wins as he should. Perhaps a return to the venue where he won the 2018 Players Championship will give him a little extra confidence. His record here is good and he has reached the quarter finals in half of his eight appearances.

He has a reasonable path to the quarter finals, although fellow Ulsterman Josh Rock will be in his way. Gurney won their only match 6-2 at the recent European Championship and it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see Gurney reach the quarter final.

You can make a decent case for Cross, Dobey or Gurney for this quarter.

Third Quarter

Gary Anderson gets top billing here as the number 2 seed. He faces Steve Beaton in the first round and as the highest averaging player in the last 12 months, he should get past the 63rd ranked player (although, Beaton has a tendency to give Gary a proper game).

Anderson has lost five of his last ten matches, so while he is scoring very well, he is still vulnerable to Luke Humphries (four of his last seven defeats have been to Humphries), and anyone who plays well in a first to six leg format. Anderson hasn’t reached the final since 2014 and as he is drawn in the same Quarter as Luke Humphries, his chances this year have to be reduced accordingly.

Dimitri van den Bergh faces Jim Williams and I expect Dimitri to lose that one. Dancing Dimitri has lost seven of his last ten matches and while his A game is still very good, it is currently a rare beast.


Jim Williams is an enigma. He isn’t a full time professional darts player, preferring to run his business full time and play darts as a sideline. He is good enough to play full time, but it isn’t for everyone. Williams was in decent nick at the last round of qualifiers and has won seven of his last ten.

James Wade has won six of his last ten matches, was runner up in the European Championship and semi-finalist in last week’s Grand Slam. He is clearly up for the majors. He is 10-3 vs. Willy O’Connor and is taken to beat the out of form Irishman.

Andrew Gilding made the second round last week, but he isn’t playing well and has lost six of his last ten. His first round match is with Steve Lennon and that is a coin flip, but neither player can be expected to make much progress.

Dominant Humphries

Man of the season, Luke Humphries, is now favourite for everything. He simply swept all before him in the Grand Slam to win his second major of the season. His B game is a 95 average and in his seven matches last week, he had six ton plus averages. At his best, he is unplayable, his B game is very hard to beat and we haven’t seen a C game for a couple of months.

The first two rounds being best of eleven legs is where he is most vulnerable. He faces Martin Lukeman in the first round and Humphries has dished out three thumpings to Lukeman already. A fourth is to be expected.

The real banana skin is a possible second round clash with the quietly in-form Radek Szagański. The Irish based Pole won PC27 last month, was a semi-finalist in PC11 back in May, along with a couple more quarter finals in July and PC29 earlier this month. He has a puncher’s chance in a first to six match, but Humphries would still be a very short price to win that.

Heavy Metal At Home

Ryan Searle is ‘playing at home’ in this neck of the world, and his best performance came in this event when runner up in 2021. He reached the second round in last week’s Grand Slam but was beaten 7-10 by Luke Humphries.

Searle has won seven of his last ten matches but there is still a little too much inconsistency to think he is a contender for the title, or indeed the quarter. He faces the dangerous, but very inconsistent, Boris Krčmar in the first round but he should be able to handle that.

Boo Boys

Ricardo Pietreczko was last seen flouncing off the Grand Slam stage in a bit of a huff. He didn’t appreciate getting booed by the home crowd when playing Beau Greaves. He carried his ire into his final match and frankly, behaved like a complete dick. If he has got all his toys back in his pram, he should beat Christian Kist in the first round, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

The crowd here will have seen his antics and more than a few are going to delight in trying to wind him up again. The boo boys love nothing more than getting a reaction and Pietreczko gave it to them in spades. If he hasn’t learned his lesson, he has done himself no favours. Kist averaged 109 when he last played Pietreczko in September, on his way to a semi-final.

He won’t be much of a price, but it is hard to go against Luke Humpries winning the quarter.

Fourth Quarter

Damon Heta is the top seed in the final quarter, not because he is a serial winner, but because he is a very good money farmer. He reached the quarter final of last week’s Grand Slam but his opening match excepted, he didn’t play well. He will be vulnerable to defeat by Jules van Dongen in the first round but the American based Dutchman has lost his best form recently.

Krzysztof Ratajski has lost five of his last ten matches but he is playing better than that. He faces the unpredictable Maik Kuivenhoven in the first round. The Dutchman reached two quarter finals last month, but he is 0-4 vs. Ratajski.

Michael Smith has won seven of his last ten but he is playing worse than that sounds. He is showing signs of frustration as he knows that this is the most important time of the year and he has come into it struggling to find his A game.

A Frustrated Smith used to beat himself quite often and there are signs that is where he is heading again. He has a very good draw but I’m not sure he can take advantage. Smith has failed to get beyond the second round here in nine of his eleven appearances.

Struggling Rockstar

Joe Cullen didn’t qualify for the Grand Slam and didn’t bother playing in the qualifying event. Perhaps it was because his form was so poor? He has lost seven of his last ten matches and just one of his last eight. Hard to fancy.

This quarter is very weak. There are a lot of players who are out of form or not at their best and that includes the lower ranked players.

Heta and Ratajski look best equipped to win the quarter, and they are scheduled to meet in the third round (Heta is 4-1 with Ratajski). Ratajski has never gone beyond the third round here. Heta has reached the quarter final once, but he is yet to progress beyond the quarter final in any ranked major.

If Michael Smith found his form, he could breeze through, but he isn’t inspiring any confidence. This could be a quarter which produces a surprise semi-finalist, but picking who that could be is very hard. Dolan made the semi-final in 2021 and maybe he can grind out another but it is hard to find a good reason to back him.


The nature of how the draw is arrived at for this event does tend to favour those at the top end of the OOM. Those have been the best players over the 30 qualifying events. Ten of the fifteen past winners have been ranked in the top 6, and seven of the past fifteen runners up have also been ranked in the top 6.

The top six ranked players this year are Price, Anderson, Heta, Chisnall, Rock and Van Duijvenbode.

Dirk van Duijvenbode is injured and can be ruled out.

Josh Rock

Is very inexperienced when it comes to major championships. He has only played in ten, but at least his first quarter final was in the Grand Slam last week. He is in decent form, feeling confident and he has the game for good run. His best odds are 34.00.

Dave Chisnall

Is a 23.00 shot but is he backable on TV? History suggests not. He was runner up in 2016, he has won eight of his last ten matches, but I can’t see him keeping it all together in front of the cameras.

That said, he is having a great year away from the TV cameras, so maybe this will be the one? That is said every time he comes to a major in good form. He has not gone beyond the second round for the last six years.

Damon Heta

Is in the very weak looking 4th quarter. He is used to having long runs on and off TV and he has reached two major quarter finals in 2023. With a very winnable quarter he may make another, but his timeline is littered with losing quarter and semi-finals.

His game isn’t in top shape right now, but it is not a mile off. His best odds are 41.00 and for a top 6 ranked player, those are tempting, but will he just pull up short again?

Gary Anderson

Has thrived in the qualifying events, his game is in great shape, he has won a UK Open at this venue and this championship back in 2014. It is close to his home and he knows how to win major championships.

A very good run is on the cards, but he has one huge obstacle. Luke Humphries. Cool Hand has got Anderson’s number and they are in the same quarter. That really does look an impossible task for Anderson.

Gerwyn Price

The top seed, Price is one of the top two or three best players in the world right now. He is playing very well, winning nine of his last ten matches. That he gets beaten is the surprise.

He may be getting a bit frustrated by his lack of major silverware as his last ranking major is now over two years ago. The Iceman is still winning plenty on the floor and the Euro Tour, so he hasn’t lost the winning habit. He ticks all the boxes and his odds are a little better than expected at 6.50.

Luke Humphries

If Price isn’t the best player in the World right now, it has to be Luke Humphries. Cool Hand has won the World Grand Prix and now the Grand Slam of Darts in 2023. He is ‘only’ ranked seventh, but with Van Duijvenbode crocked, he is a ‘moral’ sixth.

Like Price, Humphries has won nine of his last ten matches and it is hard to make a case against his chances, other than saying that going back to back could be tough. He has played a lot of darts recently and he has only four days off before starting another major.

Looking at the last ten Grand Slam winners, only three times did the winner go back to back with the Players Championships. They were all MVG 2015 to 2017. The Slam Winner has gone on to be runner up twice. Taylor in 2013 and Price in 2019.

Can Humphries be put in the same bracket as MVG in his pomp? There are some that are saying that he can be. I think it will be hard for him to stay on the boil for another six matches over three gruelling days, but it has been done.

Ante Post Selections


2 points Gerwyn Price to win the 2023 Players Championship Finals @ 6.50 with Unibet

Quarter Betting

2 points Luke Humphries to win Q3 at the 2023 Players Championship Finals @ 2.37 with Fitzdares
1 point Damon Heta to win Q4 at the 2023 Players Championship Finals @ 6.50 with SpreadEx
0.5 point Daryl Gurney to win Q2 at the 2023 Players Championship Finals @ 15.00 with Betfred, Fitzdares

Selected first round matches will be posted in due course.



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