We have gone through the first round with a few seeds already out notably Simon Whitlock, Wes Newton and Mervyn King. Max Hopp beat Mervyn King in a final set decider and it is great to see the young German starting to achieve his potential. That section of the draw is looking open now as the two seeds (Vincent van der Voort and Dean Winstanley) did not display their best darts as they struggled through their matches. The best performances of the first round belonged to Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis both of whom had 3-0 victories. Barney started a little slowly against Rowby John-Rodriguez but then had a perfect 3rd set averaging over 110 on his way to victory. Lewis got back to his best form averaging 101.90 in his win over David Pallett.
Peter Wright had a very professional display in his win over Gerwyn Price. Despite the Welshman causing several problems during the match Snakebite was able to kill off his opponent clinically when it mattered. Stephen Bunting got his PDC World Championship debut off to a winning start beating Robert Marijanovic while Brendan Dolan put in a ruthless display winning every leg in his match against Nolan Ardense.
Second Round Matches
Without doubt the tie of the second round will be James Wade’s encounter against Stephen Bunting. Bunting has managed to get the better over his opponent in his last two matches and I feel he is value to beat The Machine again at odds of 13/10. The Bullet should be more relaxed going into this match and I expect his performance to improve as a result. Wade did find some trouble in his match against Lewis and I do think The Bullet will exploit any weaknesses Wade could show.
I am also going to back Brendan Dolan to beat Michael Smith at odds of 9/5. Dolan was unspectacular but brilliant in his first round match giving his opponent little chance to win. Smith showed signs of getting very frustrated in his first round match against Mensur Suljovic due to the Croatian’s slow play. The youngster does seem to have some issues with his temperament when the rhythm of a darts game is not to his liking. I fully expect Dolan to do his best to unsettle his opponent and could throw him off his game to win.
I was impressed with Darren Webster’s win over Simon Whitlock and I think he will beat Dean Winstanley at odds of 7/5. Webster looked thrilled with his performance in the first round and it is clear he has put in a huge amount of effort in the PDC tour this year gradually rising up the rankings. He made amends from losing to James Wade in last year’s tournament and can get past Deano who did struggle despite having a big lead over Wayne Jones in their first round game.
Another bet that I like is that Ian White Kim Huybrechts to play over 5.5 sets at odds of 4/6. Huybrechts and White seems to be a tight match on paper and I would expect both players to be able to hold their throw effectively against each other. Kim has made big improvements in his game recently and Ian White is a regular in the PDC circuit having made the quarter finals last year.
I will also bet on Raymond van Barneveld to get past Jamie Caven comfortably by the sets handicap of -2.5 at odds of 6/4. Jabba had plenty of problems hitting his doubles in his first round match against Hogg and never looked confortable when closing out a leg. Barney did start a little slowly in his match but his subsequent performance will have given him a lot of confidence. He should have enough ability to win this match easily.
Finally I will back Kyle Anderson to cause an upset and beat Andy Hamilton at odds of 13/8. It has been a crucial year for the Austrailian as he has been playing on the PDC circuit for the first time this year. His win in the last round will give him enough prize money to invest further into his game. He does seem to be more focused on his game and is willing to make the sacrifices necessary to improve his game. I think he will do enough to get past Andy Hamilton who has been in inconsistent form of late.
2 points – Stephen Bunting to beat James Wade 13/10 888Sport
3 points – Brendan Dolan to beat Michael Smith 9/5 888Sport
2.5 points – Darren Webster to beat Dean Winstanley 7/5 Various
2.5 points – Over 5.5 sets Ian White Kim Huybrechts Match 4/6 Various
2.75 points – Raymond van Barneveld (-2.5 sets) to beat Jamie Caven 6/4 Boylesports, Paddy Power
3.5 points – Kyle Anderson to beat Andy Hamilton 13/8 Various