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Grand Slam of Darts Day Four Premium Picks
If Sunday was our day of glory, Monday was our night of heartbreak. Wayne Jones and Tony O’Shea both had chances to win their matches, and just one double from each of them would have made the difference from a poor night into a decent night. So we started with the agony of Wayne Jones losing 5-4 to Mark Walsh, then Martin Phillips didn’t really turn up against Terry Jenkins. Barrie Bates managed to get whitewashed by Paul Nicholson, not to the surprise of many. And then we got a lovely turn from John Part, who beat Adrian Lewis. I would say he outclassed Lewis, but the fact is, Lewis was shocking on the doubles. And when I say shocking, I mean 11% shocking. Part won 5/2, giving us a nice 7/4 winner. Then Brendan Dolan couldn’t be bothered putting up a fight against Andy Hamilton, losing 5-2. And then it happened. Tony O’Shea took a 4-2 lead, looked like he was home and hosed, giving us a nice 7/4 winner. And then he blew it. Blew it big time, missing darts for the match and letting Anderson back in to win 5-4. Of course, then we got fortunate with Christian Kist beating Raymond van Barneveld 5-4, with Barney missing darts for the match, but that’s not the point! Finally, Wesley Harms managed to undo all the good work he had done against Terry Jenkins, by crumbling on the oche against Wes Newton, in what can only be described as an embarrassing performance from the youngster.
Still, onwards and upwards. We’ve got the final round of matches from Groups A-D, and there’s the potential for a lot of drama this evening, as there has been in the past during the GSOD. We start off with a battle of the youngsters, when Jan Dekker takes on Arron Monk in a rematch from the 2011 Grand Slam of Darts. Then Mark Webster looks to try and clinch a place in the second round against Co Stompe. Kevin Painter takes on James Hubbard, who needs a monstrous performance to reach the second round. Robert Thornton takes on Steve Beaton, with both men still in the hunt for a second round place, although Beaton needs to win big if he’s to get it. Old foes Mervyn King and James Wade take to the oche, and Wade will need to be at his best to get the win he needs to help him through to the second round. It’s one of those matches where leg difference is going to mean a hell of a lot, especially when Dekker and Monk kicked things off. Scott Waites then looks to avoid elimination against Phil Taylor, in what could be a cracker. Then it’s Simon Whitlock against Dean Winstanley and, depending on the earlier result from their group, it might be a must-win match for both men. Finally, we round the night off with Mighty Mike against The Count, and again there could be a lot at stake depending on earlier results.
We’re now 14-11 with a profit of +8.05 units after three days of the Grand Slam of Darts. Still plenty more action to come.
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Jan Dekker Vs Arron Monk.
A rematch from last year’s Grand Slam of Darts, as I mentioned earlier, and Jan Dekker won on that occasion. Dekker barely missed a double in their meeting 12 months ago, but he’s managed 2 legs in his 2 matches during this year’s GSOD, and it’s all down to his scoring. His opponent still harbours ambitions of qualifying for the next round, while Dekker is, for all intents and purposes, out. Well, unless he can win 5-0 and James Wade loses 5-1 or 5-0. So I think it’s fair to say he’s only playing for pride.
Normally I would say that previous meetings are important, but as soon as Monk gets that first leg on the board, Dekker is out, so I think Monk looks a good thing here, especially on the handicap, as he’ll be wanting to put as much distance between him and James Wade as possible. In fact, if he wins 5-2 or better, he’s guaranteed a place, regardless of the Wade/King result. It’s these things you have to keep an eye on in a format like this, with so many variables.
The line is only -1.5, and Monk would like to do a lot better than that to guarantee his passage into the second round, so we’ll be going there, especially when you look at his performance against Mervy King, where he may have lost, but he still hit 33% of his doubles, took out a 126 and averaged 91.25. He’s also the form player on the PDC Youth Tour, so I expect him to go well.
Arron Monk -1.5 legs to beat Jan Dekker: Evens @ 888sport.
Recommend: 2.5 units.
Mark Webster Vs Co Stompe.
Like the previous match, this is a game that’s all about winning margins. Co Stompe is out. Even if he was to win 5-0 and Phil Taylor was to win 5-0, he’d be out. He’d have a leg difference of -3, which is the worst Scott Waite could end up with. Waites won their group match, so Waites would go through. Co Stompe, like Jan Dekker before, is playing for pride. Mark Webster, on the other hand, needs as big a win as possible. 5-0 would be ideal, and would mean Scott Waites had to beat Phil Taylor 5-2 or better to qualify.
Now, while I don’t think darts players collude on what the best outcome would be (especially a player as well respected as Co Stompe), these things have to stay at the forefront of your mind when looking at possible outcomes. The one outcome I can’t see here is a Co Stompe win. What outcome CAN I see? I can see Stompe enjoying his darts, easing off a bit and treating it more like an exhibition. Even if this was a straight knockout match, the way both men have been playing would lead me to a Webster win. Webster has a tournament average of 93.31, and his his highest checkout of the tournament is a 131. While Stompe isn’t far off, it’s the Welshman who’s actually won a match.
Like tonight’s first match, we have a man needing to win convincingly, which again leads me to the handicap market. And again, the line is -1.5 and the 4/5 on Webster to beat it seems a bit ridiculous, considering he’d be looking to beat a line of -3.5! I expect a comfortably Webster win, setting up the Waites/Taylor clash later.
Mark Webster -1.5 legs to beat Co Stompe: 4/5 @ 888sport.
Recommend: 2.5 units.
Kevin Painter Vs James Hubbard.
I almost feel bad for James Hubbard here, as he had a shockingly tough group to get out of, and he’s played well in both his defeats, leaving him requiring, at worst, a 5-3 win over Kevin Painter, who also needs a win. Of course, Hubbard would prefer a 5-1 or 5-0 win and not have to rely on Simon Whitlock beating Dean Winstanley 5-0, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers, can they?
Hubbard’s tournament average if 91.39, Painter’s is 88.25. The disparity between the averages sums up the disparity between the performances of both players. While Hubbard has player care-free and, more importantly, well, Painter has been scrappy and battled to a 5-4 win over Dean Winstanley, before almost grinding out a win against Simon Whitlock in a similar fashion. I think what we’ll see here is a young man outscoring his experienced opponent. Although I can’t put up a Hubbard win in good faith, simply because Painter has more to play for, Hubbard has managed 5 maximums to Painter’s 3, and Hubbard’s heavy scoring was a feature in his first two matches of the Grand Slam of Darts. Hubbard’s a fair price to score the most 180s given the form, so we’ll have a dabble there.
James Hubbard to score more 180s than Kevin Painter: 11/8 @ 888sport.
Recommend: 1 unit.
Robert Thornton Vs Steve Beaton.
Now this is a huge match. Both men need to win here, and both men would love a Michael van Gerwen victory later on. Beaton needs a 5-1 win (or a 5-0 win, of course), to stay in the competition. Thornton knows that a win, regardless of the scoreline, puts him through.
This match, from a betting perspective, isn’t easy. We know once Thornton gets 2 legs on the board that Beaton is out. And, in normal circumstances, I’d be backing Beaton here, as he’s played well in defeat to both Ted Hankey and Michael van Gerwen, and his average shows that, as well as his doubling percentages. However, there’s the worry that if/when Thornton gets leg no.2, Beaton’s head just goes, and he could either start throwing shocking darts, or push Thornton all the way due to ego. I don’t like it, and I don’t like the prices. We’re going to stay away from this one, because the permutations just don’t make it an interesting market. Just sit back and cheer on Steve Beaton.
Recommend: No bet.
James Wade Vs Mervyn King.
And now things start to get very interesting. Old foes on the oche collide in a huge match. Both men can still qualify, and depending on Arron Monk’s result, there could be a lot of drama involved. Let’s see Monk wins 5-0, 5-1, 5-2 or 5-3 earlier on – King needs to win 3 legs to eliminate James Wade (and obviously Wade needs to win 5-2 or better). If Monk wins 5-4, Wade can win 5-2 and send proceedings into chaos, as all men would have 4 points and a leg difference or +3. This is what happens, courtesy of the PDC: Should a three-way points tie for first place in any group result in all three players having identical leg differences, then all three players will contest a ‘Nine-Dart Shoot-Out’. If Monk doesn’t win, Wade just has to win to qualify.
So there’s a lot of variables here. But personally I think it’s not going to matter, as Mervyn King has been playing the best darts out of anyone in his group, while James Wade is still looking a bit iffy. King averaged 99.53 against Arron Monk, and 91.78 against Jan Dekker. James Wade averaged 82.06 and 94.41 respectively. King’s got confidence about him after his great run at the World Grand Prix, and I’ve no reason to see why it will stop here. If he can get his 3 legs on the board, Wade will know he’s out (as long as Monk has won). Plus, with King still at threat of elimination, he’ll want to ensure his place at the top of his group, especially if it means a potentially easier second round match. King is the outsider here, and I can’t see why. We bet against James Wade when he played Arron Monk, so I can’t see any reason to back him against a far better player.
Mervyn King to beat James Wade: Evens @ 888sport.
Recommend: 2 units.
Phil Taylor Vs Scott Waites
Only two men have won the Grand Slam of Darts, and they face off in the final game of Group A. Obviously Mark Webster’s result earlier will have a huge bearing on this match. It might be the case that both men are through, if Webster lost 5-2. However, I think the chances of that are slimmer than Co Stompe.
What’s important here is that Scott Waites has scored the highest average in his group, with a 103.79 against Co Stompe. He’s playing well, even though he lost to Mark Webster. Of course, Phil Taylor is playing well, and his 100.38 average against Mark Webster in his first match of the Grand Slam of Darts if proof of this. What I think is interesting, is that, regardless of Mark Webster’s result, a 5-2 win for Scott Waites sees both men through at the expense of Mark Webster. Again, I’m not saying there’s collusion going on, but it’s worth nothing that this result means both players are safe.
To be honest, I think we’re going to get a close one. While Taylor is still playing well, there’s still the question marks over his overall form, thanks to his showings at the UK Open and World Grand Prix. Not that I don’t think he’s still the best in the world, but he has lost matches you’d expect him to be winning. Plus, he’s also lost a couple on this very stage that he should be winning. Ted Hankey and Steve Beaton will attest to that. Waites has it all to play for, and as long as Taylor can get 2 legs on the board, he’s through. Waites is a huge price in this short format, and if he puts in a 103 average, he’s got every chance. So we’re going for Scott Waites here, and if there’s any conspiracy theorists out there that fancy the 5-2 to Waites, it’s 20/1 at 888!
Scott Waites to beat Phil Taylor: 100/30 @ 888sport.
Recommend: 1.5 units.
Simon Whitlock Vs Dean Winstanley.
By now, this match could be academic. If James Hubbard won, Winstanley only has to avoid a thumping to stay in the competition. However, if Kevin Painter has won, Winstanley needs to win by the same margin, less one. So, Painter wins 5-3, Winstanley needs to win 5-4 or better. Painter wins 5-2, it’s 5-3 or better for Winstanley, and so on. However, a Whitlock win makes it academic. As for Whitlock, his future is also dependant on the Painter result. If Painter loses, he’s through. If Painter wins 5-1 or better, he has to win. Painter wins 5-2, he can afford to lose 5-4, 5-3 means he can lose 5-3, and if Kevin Painter wins 5-4, Whitlock just needs to get 2 legs on the board to qualify for the second round. So the Painter/Hubbard match is huge.
On their tournament averages, there’s 2 points between them in favour of Whitlock. In tournament maximums it’s 5-1 to Whitlock, and Winstanley has the highest checkout of the two, with a 120 compared to Whitlock’s 96. So, just by that, it’s going to be a close one. But the bookies don’t see it close at all, and have more or less written Winstanley off. While I don’t blame them, he’s the kind of player that can cause an upset, and if he can start scoring heavily, he could pressure Whitlock. Plus, if the earlier result has went Hubbard’s way, both men will have qualified, taking all the pressure off. I think Winstanley’s price is just too high, especially when you take into account Whitlock’s showing against Kevin Painter, where he averaged 85.98 in a seriously scrappy encounter. I’d have Winstanley around 5/4 to win over a best of 9 format, so the price looks good for a small wager.
Dean Winstanley to beat Simon Whitlock: 13/8 @ 888sport.
Recommend: 1 units.
Michael van Gerwen Vs Ted Hankey.
Last match, and there could be nothing to play for, or there could be everything to play for. If Robert Thornton has won, The Count is out and will have to wait until next year for another crack at the Grand Slam of Darts. However, if Steve Beaton has won, Ted Hankey could still be in with a shot. It’s just unfortunate he’s playing the form horse in the PDC.
The great thing is there’s no ifs or buts, it’s as simple as Ted Hankey could already be out by the time this match comes around. If that’s the case, Michael van Gerwen will be playing to secure top spot and avoid a tricky second round match. I don’t want to count my chickens, as Hankey might still be in, but I can’t tip up anything on the outright market, because it might be a dead rubber and Hankey might just put on an exhibition for the crowd. I can’t see that, but you never know. With that in mind, if Hankey is out, he’ll not have the pressure on his shoulders, and his scoring might just flow. If he still has a chance, his power scoring might show up, and the 180s might flow. When you add that to the fact that Michael van Gerwen is going for treble 19 a lot more, Hankey looks a good bet for most 180s, especially considering he’s hit 4 in 13 legs of darts, compared to van Gerwen’s 2 in 15 legs. So the stats say Hankey is a good thing for most 180s, yet he’s the outsider of the two and it’s a tasty price to finish the night with.
Ted Hankey to score more 180s than Michael van Gerwen: 13/8 @ 888sport.
Recommend: 2 units.
That’s all for Tuesday’s action. One more night of group games, then the knockout stage, with the best of 19 format, comes in. We’re coming into the home straight, so let’s hope we continue with the winners, and we’re set up nicely for the second half of the competition.