Not many bets put up yesterday and I was right that the Dave Chisnall vs Vincent van der Voort game could be a coupon buster with the Dutchman throwing somewhere near his best and winning 3-0.
James Wade landed the 5/6 bet on his checkout line being over but that was about as good as it got for ‘The Machine’ as he was knocked out by Keegan Brown.
Mensur Suljovic vs Kevin Painter
Mensur Suljovic has gone from strength to strength in the past 18 months and the Champions League of Darts winner looks to have the ideal tie here in the first round.
Kevin Painter won the first two meetings between these players, including one in the First Round of the 2010 World Championships, however, the Artist has slipped down the rankings as his form has declined.
Painter has only reached on Players Championship Final this year, despite competing in all 22 events and in those events he rarely made it past the Last 64.
In the Players Championship Finals in Minehead, he faced an out of sorts James Wade in the first round and lost with just an 86.84 average. He did take out a 121 checkout but he missed 14 darts out of 18 at a double and that is something he can’t afford to do here.
‘The Artist’ didn’t make it past the First Round of qualifying for the Grand Slam losing 5-4 to Andy Jenkins in the Last 128, which makes the point that his game has slipped a lot over the last couple of years.
Last year the Englishman beat Jamie Caven 3-1 in the first round but with an 85 average and in the 2015 Championship he beat Kim Viljanen 3-0 in the opening round.
Two nice draws for him there but this is much tougher with him facing his first-round defeat since 2007.
Suljovic is likely to be included in the Premier League when that restarts in March after he’s continually put in good performances.
However, the unorthodox Austrian has never really performed here in the big one. His best efforts have been in 2011 and 2016 when reaching the Last 16.
In last year’s event, he fell at the second hurdle to Mark Webster after beating Ron Meulenkamp 3-0 in the opening game.
‘The Gentle’ can be a slow starter in matches, so that gives Painter a chance to put him under some early pressure but he’ll have to sustain an average in the 90’s to bare any chance of causing a shock.
This is a game where I’m looking at checkout markets. Suljovic was impeccable during the Grand Slam on three-dart combinations with a range of outshots from 161, 100, 123, 110 & 113.
Painter is capable of those two as he proved last month with his 121 and it’s those finishes he’ll need to take to have any chance.
So, look at either Suljovic Highest Checkout Over 111.5 (5/6 – Betfair) or Over 2 Checkouts Over 99 (3/1 – William Hill).
The latter means three finishes of exactly 100 would be enough but with both players suited by those checkouts then the 3/1 looks a big price.
One market available with Ladbrokes is ‘Match Winning Double’. This could be a good opportunity for a small bet on ‘Double 14’ at 10/1 given it is Suljovic’s favourite and that’s the one he will try to leave if possible.
Daryl Gurney vs Ronny Huybrechts
This could be quite one-sided in truth with Daryl Gurney being one of the best players on the circuit this season.
The Northern Irishman got his reward when scooping his first major in the World Grand Prix when beating Simon Whitlock in the Final.
‘Superchin’ has consistently reached the latter stages of tournaments this season and he should make at least the Quarter-Final phase here at Alexandra Palace.
He reached that stage last year when MvG ousted him but with him full of confidence and going from strength to strength he should be able to brush aside his Belgian opponent.
Ronny Huybrechts hasn’t had the best of years and he’ll struggle to live up to the scoring power of Gurney.
Ronny reached the World Cup Semi-Final for Belgium but was carried through much of that tournament by brother Kim.
The 52-year-old was comprehensively beaten 3-0 by James Wade last year averaging 87.72. To trouble Gurney here, he’ll have to average in the mid-90’s or else it’ll be curtains before Christmas once more.
With Gurney the short odds-on favourite, you can look at him to win the match on ‘Double 16’ (3/1) or ‘Double 8’ (5/1) with Ladbrokes. He’ll try and leave himself on 32, so those two options should give you a good run for your money. He’s ruthless on that side of the board when on the outer ring and even if he has a bull finish and splits it for 25, he’ll go 9, D8 to win it!
Gurney has hit five maximums in the first round in the last two years. He’ll want to send a message saying ‘I’m a contender’, so Gurney to Win 3-0 & Gurney to hit 4+ 180s (6/4 – Sky Bet) is a bet that appeals. He’s a power scorer and I can’t really see Ronny laying a glove on him.
For in-play betting purposes, this could be a good match. The market to look at is ‘Winning Double Colour’ – like I’ve said before Gurney is a strong hitter of D16 and that’s his favoured double. ‘Green’ in that double colour market is always odds-against – for the first leg, Sky Bet go 2/1 on Green, so throughout this match that is a market to look at.
Mark Webster plays the winner of the Preliminary Round match between Kai Fan Leung and the vastly experienced Paul Lim.
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