The pinnacle of darts, the PDC World Championship, might be over following Gary Anderson’s thrilling 7-5 triumph over Adrian Lewis in the final, but tungsten aficionados should fear not as the BDO World Championship got underway on Saturday and there is still plenty of betting value to be found.
Okay, so the BDO is less of a spectacle than the pizzazz of the PDC, and the quality of play is generally lower – the PDC has now had a perfect nine-dart finish at their World Championships every year since 2009. The last nine darter in the BDO came way back in 1990. But many of the world’s best players made their bow in the so-called ‘lesser’ organisation, and there is still plenty of darting action to be enjoyed from the more sedate Lakeside Country Club.
So who is the player to back this week?
Who Let the Dog(s) Out?
The reigning BDO world champion, Scott Mitchell, is the easy back here: he has the safest route to the final, and showed glimpses of his best form in a tough first round win over the Kiwi, Gary Caldwell.
As ever, we can apply a process of elimination to further Mitchell’s claims. The bookmakers’ favourite is Glenn Durrant, and he is a fine player who was unlucky to lose in the semi-finals last year in a titanic tungsten tussle with Martin Adams. But it is easy to be put off backing the number one seed by virtue of the fact that he plays the wily Larry Butler in the last 16, before a probable meeting with the former world champion Scott Waites in the quarters. Durrant may be spent before he even gets to the Lakeside finale.
There’s a lot to promote the cause of Waites as well, and he is tempting value at 13/2. As mentioned, a potential meeting with Durrant in the quarters could lay waste to either man, but given Waites’ pedigree if he can get through that match then we don’t need to worry about his stamina or his bottle. He won this tournament in 2013, and also triumphed in the 2010 Grand Slam of Darts after a pulsating clash with the PDC’s James Wade in the final. The world number 12 has endured an indifferent year on the BDO Tour however, and that could count against him.
On the other side of the draw is the crowd-pleasing Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams, who certainly is a contender for this crown. But he must first overcome Jeff Smith, the talented Canadian who made a mockery of his qualifier status at the Lakeside to reach the last four. This is a potential banana skin for Wolfie, and he will do well to traverse it. But if he can, he will be overjoyed to see that he could meet two of his old muckers in the last 16 and last eight respectively: John Walton and Martin Phillips. Neither of those opponents will be giving Adams sleepless nights, although a possible semi final clash with Mitchell might.
One tungsten tosser that offers cautionary each way value is Jamie Hughes at 12/1. He despatched Ross Montgomery 3-0 in the first round – and the Scot is a fine player in his own right – and will benefit from sneaking through to the semi finals under the radar should all go to plan. There he is likely to meet Durrant/Waites, hence the note of caution, but should either of those combatants have had to suffer a couple of tough battles to reach the last four then the relatively fresh Hughes could prosper.
But it is Mitchell that really catches the eye given his form, pedigree and status as defending champion. At 8/1, and with bookies paying at 1/2 odds for reaching the final, ‘Scotty Dog’ looks a smart pick.