Phil Taylor favourite in betting for PDC World Darts Championship

By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH.   Last Updated: 24/12/12 2:04pm

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Phil Taylor: Still favourite for world title

Phil Taylor: Still favourite for world title

Sky Bet

After a break for Christmas the darts returns to action on Thursday with Phil Taylor still the tournament favourite after already booking a place in the quarter-finals.

'The Power' made light of a tough assignment against Robert Thornton and his 4-0 victory over the UK Open champion saw him head into the break as the 21/10 favourite with Sky Bet for the Sid Waddell Trophy.

Andy Hamilton awaits Taylor in the last eight, with 'The Hammer', who is a model of consistency having reached at least the quarters in every major event this year, now a 14/1 shot for the tournament due to his tough draw.

Whether the break will do Taylor good or not remains to be seen but he and Hamilton can enjoy their Christmas dinners at home in Stoke safe in the knowledge they are the only two men already with quarter-final places guaranteed.

Michael van Gerwen remains the second favourite at 3/1 despite having to dig deep against Peter Wright, and he is a heavy 1/8 favourite to beat Colin Lloyd (5/1 for the match), while Sky Bet go 100/30 that the young Dutchman will meet Taylor in the final.

There have been few surprises in the World Championship this year and as a result all the big names are involved in some cracking ties to be played on what should be a tasty day of action at Alexandra Palace on Thursday.

The tie of the third round is on Thursday afternoon when five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld tackles 2011 finalist Gary Anderson. Barney is 4/6 favourite after Anderson (6/5) struggled to overcome qualifier John Bowles - and the big Dutchman remains 8/1 third favourite for the title.

James Wade has moved up on the rails and is in to 10/1 to claim his first World Championship trophy, and is 1/3 to move on for his match with Vincent van der Voort.

Double defending champion Adrian Lewis is also a 10/1 shot after so far failing to impress, and he faces a big task taking on Kevin Painter, who came through a superb match with Ronnie Baxter in the last round.

Painter is 7/4 to beat Lewis (4/9), and will fancy his chances having hit five more 180s and averaging 10 points higher than 'Jackpot' so far in the event, while he also won their last World Championship meeting back in 2007.

We've already seen a perfect nine-dart finish at Alexandra Palace, but Dean Winstanley still could not win his match after achieving the feat, but there are plenty of players left in that are capable and Sky Bet go 13/8 that there will be two or more scored in the tournament and 4/9 that it will remain as just one.

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