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The fifth day of the 2017 PDC World Championships and we’ve seen most of the big guns of the darting world make their bow, as Gary Anderson, Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor and Peter Wright have made it through to the second round. Tonight, we’ve got Adrian Lewis, the two-time world champion taking on Magnus Caris, while Mervyn King faces Steve West. In the night’s opening game, young Australian sensation Corey Cadby opens proceedings in the evening’s prelim match, taking on Quang Sun. The winner of this prelim match will face Joe Cullen in the night’s final match.
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Qiang Sun vs Corey Cadby – Prelim Match
Corey Cadby is the shortest price of all the prelim players and while I can understand why after his win at the Youth World Championship, backers of him at 1/12 against a relatively unknown opponent are just asking for trouble. Qiang played in the 2016 World Championship, and he was truly awful against Mick McGowan, averaging 64.73 and hitting one double out of nine. But this is Cadby’s debut and while I can see the Aussie winning 2-0, it’s far too short and I wouldn’t put people off backing Qiang as a value bet. Howeer, like most of the prelim matches, it’s no bet for me.
Mervyn King vs Steve West
Mervyn King and Steve West are old foes, with their first meeting going back to the Leylstad Open in their BDO/WDF days, which Marvyn King won. In fact, King won their first four meetings. Before West won the next three in 2015 and 2016. King won their last meeting in July, and leads the head to head 5-3 overall. The bookies have King as a slight favourite at around 5/6 and West at 11/10.
Mervyn King hasn’t had a great year by his once lofty standards. He started off well, with a semi-final at the Dutch Darts masters, but then it’s been three quarter-finals and a lot of early exits since then. King did put a decent run together at the European Championship, however, but that was after making an early exit in the Grand Slam of Darts Qualifier. He’s struggling to fin any consistency, but we did see some of that old magic in the European Championship, which was great to see. In fact, his 10-9 defeat to James Wilson would have been heart-breaking for King, as he averaged 99.23 and his 45% of his doubles. But that’s decent form to be bringing into this tournament and King tends to enjoy playing on the Ally Pally stage.
For Steve West, 2016 has been his real breakout year. While he started off slowly, he was qualifying for a lot of the European Tour events, and eventually the breakthrough came in September, with a final in the floor event. He backed that up a week later with a semi-final in Ireland and then a quarter-final in the German Darts Championship. West went well enough at the European Championship, even though he lost in the first round to Jelle Klaasen, averaging 95.71 in defeat, it was his inability to hit the doubles, hitting 30%, that cost him dearly. However, West reverted to early 2016 form in the Players Championship Finals, losing to Jan Dekker 6-3 with an average of 85.68. However, the highlight of West’s year was beating Phil Taylor at the World Grand Prix, where he averaged 83.24, but his 70% of his doubles.
This is a tight one, if I’m being honest. King has the quality, there’s no doubt, but he’s struggling to find any kind of consistency with his form, but then West is also the same. If we could rewind the clock back two months, West would certainly be odds-on, and as it stands, he’s odds against, and that actually looks like a great prospect here, given that West has better form in the second half of 2016 compared to King. Steve West to beat Mervyn King is the real value bet, as I think West should be the slight favourite for tonight’s match.
Adrian Lewis vs Magnus Caris
So, here’s something interesting, Magnus Caris leads the head to head with Adrian Lewis. Yes, Caris won their last meeting in 2015 and their first meeting in 2011. In between, Lewis won, so their head to head record is 2-1 in favour of the Swede. Now, they were all floor tournaments, but it’s actually quite interesting to see that stat. As you would expect, Adrian Lewis is a very short price to win tonight, and that’s no surprise, with his best price around 1/12, while Caris is around a 10/1 shot generally.
I have to say, Adrian Lewis was one of the players I was hoping to take on before the tournament started. He’s not been in great form this year, and although he’s been solid enough, but by his high standards, it’s not great. I think he’s been a bit fortunate to draw Magnus Caris, but he’ll have to be careful, as a dip in form for him might not work out well against this old stalwart.
Magnus Caris has bee dominating in Sweden, with a win, two semi-finals and a quarter-final in their four tournaments which got his qualification for the World Championhip. He also went well in the Scandinavian Darts Championship events in Denmark, winning one and making the semi-final in another. There’s no doubt that he still ha a bit of class, but it’s obvious his glory days are behind him and he’ll probably be looking at just putting together a solid performance tonight.
As I say, I’m looking at Lewis as a player to take on, and although I can’t see Caris winning, the head to head in favour of Caris, coupled with Lewis’ average form, means I actually like the Swede to at least take a set tonight. Caris is 6/4 to win at least one set, and he’s been playing well enough to warrant a bit of interest on the handicap. So, Magnus Caris +2.5 sets is a definite play here, not even for the great value, just because I think Lewis’ form leaves him open to some danger.
Joe Cullen vs Sun or Cadby
Cullen is a huge price to win this, by all accounts, given that the bookies don’t know who he’s facing. Obviously, as I don’t know who Cullen will be facing, I can’t recommend a bet, but I would suggest that Cullen might just be a big price to beat the qualifier. Yes, everyone is loving Corey Cadby at the moment, but Joe Cullen has been playing well and has the game to beat most players on his day. Still, as I don’t know who he will be facing, and just how well the prelim winner has paid, I have to suggest no bet.
I’ll be back with more free tips for day six of the 2017 PDC World Championship tomorrow, so enjoy the darts.