It is the hottest ticket in town at this time of year – no, not the Returns Desk of Argos’ jewellery department – the PDC World Darts Championships from Alexandra Palace, where the world’s leading tungsten tossers will get it on for the most prestigious prize in the sport.
We’ve already offered our outright plays and a first 4/1 accumulator in this blog, and now we are following up with the second set of first round matches and another 5/1 acca to whet the whistle.
This betslip appears to be an even more probable winner than the first, so get stuck in and earn yourself some late order Christmas pennies:
Terry Jenkins vs Josh Payne – Over 3.5 Sets (1/3)
The wily old veteran against the young pretender – it would take a brave punter to wager on which way this match will go.
We would be siding with Payne, just, ourselves, his run to the last 16 of the Players Championship Finals in late November testament to his progress and current form.
But Jenkins has plenty of history on that Alexandra Palace stage – which can be a daunting place for first timers, and so we’re going to wager that in this best-of-five-sets match both players will win at least a solitary set.
Stephen Bunting vs Darren Webster – Over 3.5 Sets (2/5)
What a couple of weeks it has been for Darren Webster, who has trousered some £35,000 in prize money for reaching the group stage of the Grand Slam of Darts – where he beat Phil Taylor 5-0 no less, qualifying for the World Championship and reaching the semi-finals of the Players Championship Finals, where he was 6-0 up against Michael van Gerwen before eventually succumbing to defeat. Form and confidence is there for the ‘Demolition Man’.
You could argue that Stephen Bunting hasn’t quite lived up to his billing since switching to the PDC as the BDO world champion, and 2016 in particular has been a difficult year for the St Helens man.
But a decent couple of pay days in the last few months, courtesy of last 16 appearances at the World Grand Prix and European Championships, suggest that some kind of form is returning. That should be enough for the Bullet to clinch at least a set against Webster.
Justin Pipe vs Chris Dobey – Over 3.5 Sets (1/3)
It’s good to see Justin Pipe returning to form; it’s been a turbulent year off the oche for the Somerset thrower, but a couple of decent showings of late will have pleased him no end.
Chris Dobey earned the biggest single pay day of his career at November’s Grand Slam of Darts – £15,000 for reaching the quarter finals, and so his star is clearly in the ascendancy. In darts, hard work eventually pays off.
We’re making no bold predictions about the winner of this match, but we expect both to win at least one set.
Alan Norris -1.5 Set Handicap against John Michael (2/5)
John Michael is one of those players that seems to appear and then disappear quickly thereafter each year at the World Championships, and that is due to a complete lack of consistency on the Pro Tour.
No such problems for Alan ‘Chuck’ Norris, who reached the last eight of the 2016 Worlds and who made the last 16 of the most recent tournament – the Players Championship – while hitting a nine-dart finish along the way.
We only need Norris to win 3-1 at worst here, and we’re confident the world number 22 will get the job done.
Vincent van der Voort vs Max Hopp – Over 3.5 Sets (4/11)
The strength of Vincent van der Voort’s game is so often his undoing too; that rapid, almost wild throwing style contributing to moments of sheer excellence as well as complete hopelessness; sometimes in the same match.
The Dutchman will have his hands full with Max Hopp, a former World Youth champion and somebody who is improving all the time on the circuit. But it is van der Voort’s ability to veer from the sublime to the ridiculous in the blink of an eye that suggests both players will win at least one set here.