Grand Slam of Darts Day Six Premium Picks
Such a close night, with three of our picks losing 5-4. While I was disappointed with Paul Nicholson’s performance, I can’t complain about Gary Anderson and Tony O’Shea – both men played their hearts out and just came up short in two classics matches. On top of that, Christian Kist lost 5-4, although after winning one leg, he was already through. Brendan Dolan did what was expected of him, scoring more 180s than Barrie Bates in his 5-0 win. Wesley Harms also did us a favour with his solid win over Martin Phillips, while Raymond van Barneveld did he same job for us over Wayne Jones. And Wes Newton put in some fantastic finishes against Terry Jenkins to secure his place in the second round.
So, that puts us at 21-18 with a profit of 9.9 units after five days of the Grand Slam of Darts.
So, the second round starts tonight, and there’s a mixed bag of action, starting with Dean Winstanley and Arron Monk. Then Mervyn King and Kevin Painter warm the crowd up before the main event of Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor. We then finish the night off with Scott Waites and Robert Thornton. It’s a seriously stacked card, and I think it’s safe to say that this half of the draw is far stronger than the other half. I mean we have the winners of the last 3 PDC majors in this half, so there’s some in-form players going up against each other.
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Dean Winstanley Vs Arron Monk
I don’t think many people would have predicted this match after the second round of group matches. Dean Winstanley was floundering and needed a good win over Simon Whitlock, eventually topping Group C, while Arron Monk managed to get through a group containing James Wade, Mervyn King and Jan Dekker.
Dean Winstanley comes into the match with a tournament average of 93.28, 4 maximums and a highest checkout of 142, thanks in no part to his 100.63 average against Simon Whitlock. It was a sign of the Dean Winstanley that we know and love, as he was just destroying the treble bed, and didn’t look too troubled on the doubles for a change.
Arron Monk’s tournament average is 83.85, with 2 maximums and a highest checkout of 126. His showing in Group D was impressive, considering he beat James Wade and Jan Dekker convincingly. His top average in the group came against Mervyn King and was 88.20, and he was on the end of a 5-3 defeat. So not a bad showing for the youngster in such a solid group.
I can’t see past a Dean Winstanley win here. Looking at the averages, Winstanley has around 10 points on Monk, while he also topped a tough group, his only defeat being a 5-4 defeat to Kevin Painter which he should have won. So it’s safe to say he’s playing well, while Monk is grinding out wins. Winstanley won’t mind that, and he seemed unbelievably focused after his win over Simon Whitlock. The price for a Winstanley win isn’t spectacular, but the handicap line is -2.5, and I think he can keep Monk to around 6 legs with his power scoring.
Dean Winstanley -2.5 legs to beat Arron Monk: 4/5 @ 888sport.
Recommend: 2.5 units.
Kevin Painter Vs Mervyn King.
Group D winner against Group C runner-up, and it’s not going to be pretty. Both men are grinders, with the odd flash of brilliance.
Kevin Painter got a reprieve thanks to Dean Winstanley’s big win over Simon Whitlock. But he played well to get through, beating Winstanley and James Hubbard. His tournament average is 89.67, which is around what you would expect from Painter. His 4 maximums and highest checkout of 121 are also around Painter’s expected standard. So it’s safe to say that he’s playing his usual game, which isn’t a bad thing, as it’s what brought him so much success at the end of 2011. The worry is that he isn’t always able to up his game much more when required.
Mervyn King is playing beyond people’s expectations… well, before the World Grand Prix, anyway. He’s found a rich vein of form which has brought him wins over James Wade, Jan Dekker and Arron Monk in the group stages. In fact, he’s one of four men not to have lost a match in the group stages. His tournament average is 96.39, with 4 maximums and a highest checkout of 116. He’s got the third highest average of the tournament so far, and is playing great darts. His cover scoring is impressive, and he’s not having trouble on his doubles.
The head-to-head for these two is very interesting. They’ve played each other 27 times, and it’s 13-13, with one draw. Painter won their only meeting this year, taking their match at the European Championship 6-4. However, I think King is playing with an air of confidence, and he’s got around 7 points on Painter, as well as hitting his doubles well. But there’s no value to be had on King. What I do like the look of is the highest checkout market. The line is 125.5, and both men have managed close to that. I also think that to get the advantage, one of them is going to have to post a couple of big checkouts, and we should get a good number of legs to get our bet up.
Highest checkout in King Vs Painter match over 125.5: 5/6 @ 888sport.
Recommend: 3 units.
Michael van Gerwen Vs Phil Taylor.
It’s the main event, even though it’s the third match of the night. It’s the one we’re all tuning in for, and it’s the one that Sky Sports will be hyping like no-one’s business.
Michael van Gerwen won his group convincingly, dishing a 5-0 defeat to Ted Hankey, a 5-3 defeat to UK Open Champion Robert Thornton, and a 5-3 defeat to 5-2 to Steve Beaton. He’s impressed with his scoring, and his tournament average of 95.15 puts him among the big hitters. He’s hit 4 maximums, as well as a highest checkout of 130.
Phil Taylor unexpectedly finished second in his group to Scott Waites, and will no doub have preferred an easier draw than this. However, Taylor also claims he doesn’t care who he faces, that he just wants to play darts. Taylor’s tournament average is second only to Scott Waites, and he’s currently sitting on 96.94, with 1 maximum a highest checkout of 164. He’s playing well, even if he didn’t top his group.
There’s not much to split the two of them on the averages, and they’re the two winners of the last two PDC majors. Van Gerwen is around 2/1, which is fair considering how well he’s playing, and the fact he’s not beaten Phil Taylor in their last 13 matches. Normally I would be tipping up MVG, but there’s just something about his performance against Thornton and Hankey that convinced me he is the best player out there. While the same can be said about Taylor’s performances, I think the Waites match can be discounted because of other factors. What I do like is the “most 180s” market. While I’ve said Van Gerwen likes his cover shots, the same can be said of Taylor, and the fact MVG has 4 maximums to Taylor’s 1, and they’ve both played 20 legs, leads me here where MVG is an interesting price. So enjoy the match, cheer on your favourite and just hope for a glut of maximums for Michael van Gerwen.
Michael van Gerwen to score more 180s than Phil Taylor: 6/5 @ 888sport.
Recommend: 2 units.
Scott Waites Vs Robert Thornton.
I think most people were going to be expecting a rematch of the UK Open Final when the draw was made, with few people expecting Scott Waites to top Group A. The last match of the night, and it’s a huge one, with the winner facing the winner of the previous match for a place in the semi-final. So while it sucks we’re losing 3 out of the four best performers, we’re going to get some great games out of it.
Scott Waites tops the tournament averages with 99.64, around 2.5 points more than Phil Taylor. It’s testament to how well he’s played, even in his defeat to Mark Webster. He’s scoring well, his finishing has been OK (his highest chechkout is only 100) and he just doesn’t seem to have any fear. It’s a far cry from the Scott Waites who turned up at the GSOD last year. The big difference from last year is that he’s actually scoring 180s – he’s hit 6 so far, and will no doubt be adding a lot more to that tonight. If he can get hitting his doubles a bit more, he could be almost unbeatable.
Robert Thornton is coming in with an average of 90.07, 1 maximum and a highest checkout of 90. While not scintilating form, it’s got him through his group with a 5-0 win over Ted Hankey, a tight 5-4 win over Steve Beaton, and a close 5-3 defeat to Michael van Gerwen. So it’s solid form which is to be expected from the in-form Scotsman.
The concern here is the “Taylor Curse” – you beat Taylor during a tournament, and if it isn’t the final you’re going to lose. Now, curses are obviously nonsense, but the worry of the bounce factor of coming off such a big win can have that affect on sportsmen. Is it going to affect Waites? Possibly. Is he the man to disprove this theory? Possibly. The thing is, I wouldn’t want to be backing Waites against a play that’s in form, like Robert Thornton. Both men are capable of great performances, but both can also throw junk. I think the prices are just right, with Waites a slight favourite. However, like the previous match, the player to score the most 180s is where we’re heading. Waites is playing with confidence around the treble 20, while Thornton has managed just 1 in the tournament. Waites, in my opinion, should be odds-on to score the most maximums, but he’s joint favourite. To finish the night off, we’ll sit back and see if the “Taylor Curse” is going to do Waites in, or if he can overcome the pressure and make it into the quarter-finals.
Scott Waites to score more 180s than Robert Thornton: 8/11 @ 888sport.
Recommend: 2.5 units.
So by the end of tonight we’ll have our first quarter-finalists, and it’s going to be a great night of darts. Enjoy it, and I’ll be back tomorrow with the second batch of second round picks.