RECOMMENDED OUTRIGHT BETS:
|Glen Durrant (each-way)||50/1||Betfair||Rob Cross||15/2||Betway|
|Peter Wright (each-way)||12/1||William Hill|
FIRST ROUND BETS:
|James Wade to beat Jeffrey de Zwaan||8/13||Paddy Power||Nathan Aspinall (-2.5 legs) to beat Mervyn King||19/20||Black Type|
The 26th edition of the Betfred World Matchplay Darts starts on Saturday night in its perpetual home, the Empress Ballroom in the Winter Gardens, Blackpool. Sky Sports cameras will be there to broadcast every match live giving in-play bettors a feast of opportunities.
This 32-player competition, the second most important darting competition on the calendar behind the World Championships, features 16 seeded players from the top-16 of the PDC Order of Merit and 16 PDC ProTour Qualifiers.
The seeds are separated in the opening round meaning they will tackle a qualifier in their opening match and the draw is pre-set. It features Michael van Gerwen (MVG) and defending champion Gary Anderson in the top bracket and sees the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, Rob Cross and Daryl Gurney, housed in the second bracket.
MVG can be backed at an industry top-priced 13/8 with Ladbrokes but he is just 11/10 with many other firms. The Dutchman was odds-on to win the title at the outset in 2018 and 2017 – he lost both years but did win this title in 2016 and 2015.
Gary Anderson is top-priced 10/1 with Paddy Power which is a result of a possible semi-final clash with MVG in the semi’s. If the Scotsman was drawn in the bottom-half of the draw he would surely be a 5/1 poke
So it’s Rob Cross who is second favourite in the outright lists - Betfair is the place to shop as they are offering the best price of 15/2 about the 2018 Wold Champion. Fellow bottom-bracket players Peter Wright (12/1 Unibet), Gerwyn Price (20/1 Paddy Power) and Daryl Gurney (25/1 Bet365) complete the top six in the betting.
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Three Against The Field
Mindful some firms are going half the odds and others a third in their each-way terms, I’m backing three relatively big priced players for varying stakes. The first is three-time BDO World Champion Glen Durrant who meets Adrian Lewis in the opening round and is then scheduled to play MVG in the second round.
Durrant played MVG for the first ever time two months ago in a Barnsley Players Championship where he thrashed the world champ 7-2 before going on to claim the title. He’s quickly finding his feet on the PDC circuit, he has won taking nine BDO majors since 2015 and he clearly rises to the big occasions. 50/1 is simply too big about him.
Nailing Cross to the Ante-Post
The draw has worked out well for 2018 world champion Rob Cross who is holding his form well and also playing well. He was impressive throughout the Premier League where he ultimately finished runner-up and while he threw in a stinker in the final of the UK Open he played some exceptional stuff to reach the decider.
Admittedly he was a second round casualty in the German Masters last weekend but he posted 100+ averages in both his games and its noteworthy MVG and Gary Anderson were both beaten by lowly ranked players in the opening round of the same tournament. It’s not difficult to see Rob Cross go very deep given his current form.
But talking of form, Peter Wright won that German Masters event on Saturday giving the trophy he won in last month’s World Cup of Darts some company. Wright has never been reliable in finals – he’s lost eight of the nine major PDC finals he has been in – but now he has found the winning habit, who knows what is possible. He’s certainly in great form.
While we are talking about ‘form’, the primary reason MVG is being opposed is his run of five consecutive competition defeats in the Dutch Masters, World Cup of Darts, Czech Open, US Darts Masters and German Masters.
Wade Into First Round Plays
Amongst the 16 opening round matches James Wade looks a good thing to beat Jeffrey de Zwaan. The former won this tournament in 2007 and boasts an additional five finals and two semi-finals. More recent form shows an 8-0 drumming of Daryl Gurney last weekend and a Players Championship victory just three weeks ago.
The latter gained acclaim with his first round dismissal of Michael van Gerwen in this competition 12 months ago. He went on to defeat Adrian Lewis and Dave Chisnall before semi-final defeat to eventual winner Gary Anderson. But the 23-year-old Dutch player has not shown this kind of form for a long time and he’s now regularly beaten in qualifiers and on the PDC’s Development Tour.
First Timer Aspinall to Dethrone King
Saturday night’s opening match features Nathan Aspinall and Mervyn King. Aspinall is making his first appearance in Blackpool and courtesy of some outstanding 2019 results he finds himself in the draw as a top-16 seeded player.
A semi-finalist in the 2019 World Championship, the 27 year-old landed the Ladbrokes UK Open in March beating Rob Cross in the final and registering a stunning 170 finish to seal the deal. His form has not wavered since, he’s been winning aplenty claimed outright victory in the US Darts Championship two weeks ago.
Conversely King’s form has been truly dreadful. He’s played 36 tournaments since the start of February and has not made a dent in any of them. That makes this contest look like a mismatch and I’m taking Aspinall to win on the handicap with a -2.5 leg deficit.
That means he has to win by a 10-7 score-line or greater but that should not be a problem and buoyed by the fact ten of last year’s 16 first round matches were won by a 10-6 score-line or greater, I’m making it the nap.