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PDC UK Open 2012 Day One Premium Picks
It’s here, after weeks and weeks of qualifiers, both for the professionals and the amateurs, the 2012 UK Open is here, and it’s where reputations can be destroyed and dreams can come true. But the most important thing is that the Premier League is over for another year and now it’s all just tournament darts for the rest of 2012. Fantastic! The UK Open is a special tournament, as I’m sure you know. It’s the National Lottery of darts. That cup they play football for in England, whatever it’s called (I’m sure they’ll remind us tonight). Cinderella stories are made as the rank outside comes through to get dismantled by Phil Taylor in the final. Big names get knocked out all over the place. It’s a sight to behold, and it’s a great place to make some cash money if you know where to look.
The first night of action at the UK Open tends to feature the lesser-known players in the game, the qualifiers who have dreams of just getting onto the TV stage and playing one of their idols, hoping for a shock 4-3 win and going on a run that transforms their life. So we have the prelim matches, the first round matches AND the second round matches all to look forward to. The fact that the reigning champion starts his defence in the Second Round tonight sums up just how open this tournament actually is. In the Prelim round, we have Denis Ovens, who loves this tournament, being a semi-finalist the past two years, and The Count makes his PDC televised bow in the first round.
I will say that the frustrating thing for me is that the bookies have not priced up the majority of prelim/first round matches, so we’re left with 25 games to choose from until the bookies get their fingers out and start pricing things up properly. Still, here are the Premium Picks for Day One of the 2012 UK Open.
Steve Beaton to beat Jon Jukes 4-0: 7/2 @ 888.com.
Recommend: 2 units
I’ve been reading a lot of people say Jukes could cause an upset here, and if he scores like he did in his Speedy Qualifier, that might be the case. But the fact is, he’s not just trying to score as much as possible with 15 darts, he’s got to double and also cope with the pressure of facing a former World Champion. Jukes took one leg off Dave Prins last year, which bodes well for The Adonis. It’s a short format, Beaton shouldn’t get nervous, while Jukes is far more likely to.
Ted Hankey to beat Danny Dutson 4-0: 11/4 @ 888.com.
Recommend: 2 units
Much like the previous tip, Hankey’s experience is going to tell here, and Dutson, in my opinion, will be lucky to get over his nerves in time to get a leg against another former World Champion.
Jamie Lewis to beat Steve Farmer: 13/8 @ 888.com.
Recommend: 1.5 units
Lewis is in a bit of form at the moment, picking up the latest PDC Unitcorn Youth Tour Event in Bruehl on the 3rd of June. He took the scalp of the in-form Arron Monk AND Michael Smith, as well as Gino Vos, on his way to victory, so he’s clearly in a bit of form. Farmer’s form is summed up by the fact he’s playing in the prelim round. He’s out of form and a tad under-priced given what he’s done recently. The price for Lewis is on the big side, so we have to take him on in a race to 4.
Michael Barnard to beat Steve Brown: 6/5 @ 888.com.
Recommend: 1.5 units
This is another close one where I think the bookies have priced the favourite a bit too short. Steve Brown isn’t playing the best darts of his life, not by a long-shot. Barnard is plodding along, doing this thing in the PDC and it’s in these races to 4 where solid players like Barnard can triumph over better-known players who are in form. The fact Barnard made it through Q-School sums him up – he’s going to scrap for this and Brown is nowhere near an 8/13 shot in this match.
Brian Woods to beat John Scott: 4/7 @ 888.com.
Recommend: 3.5 units.
This is where “Pecker’s” experience should come in handy. John Scott is a new face on the PDC tour, not picking up much in the way of prize money. Yes, he’s playing about the same level as Woods, but Woods has that experience on the stage and in front of bigger crowds that is crucial in events like this. I think he’s a tad big against a player with no real experience. Class should prevail here.
Glen Durrant to beat Stephen Bunting: 13/8 @ 888.com.
Simply put, Durrant is far too big a price, simply because he’s taking on an opponent who the darting world knows a bit more about. However, Durrant is a very talented player, not too far off the level of Bunting, and for the bookies to have Bunting at around 1/2 is laughable, even if he does go on to win the match. The sole reason we’re going here is because Durrant is far too big a price.
Johnny Haines to beat Mark Webster: 3/1 @ 888.com.
Recommend: 1 unit.
Mark Webster is out of form by his standards. While there’s no doubting he’s a top 16 player, he’s not been doing is as often as you’d expect on the floor, and a format like this leaves the door open for players in that kind of mind-set to lose to players they would expect to beat. Johnny Haines is actually playing some quality darts, and was a leg away from reaching the semi-finals of the second UK Open qualifier back on February 12 (after a last 16 finish on the 11th), losing to Vincent van der Voort 6-5. He qualified through Q-School, and has bee plugging away in the floor tournaments, and also qualified for the first European Tour event in Vienna. He’s a talented player and definitely has the game to take 4 legs before Webster gets into top gear.
And that’s all we have for now, as unfortunately the bookies haven’t priced many of the games I had been looking to bet on. There are at least 8 players in the field that should expect to be on the end of thrashings, and those are the Speedy Hire employees that qualified at the beginning of May: Stuart Daniels, Kirk Gordon, Darrin Pugh, Ben Johnson, Paul Critchley, Andy Melling, Mark Kelly and Mark Spencer. Now, if you get the chance to have a bet on their matches (if the bookies get the prices up after you read this), get on their opponents! The players who came through this route last year all got thumped, and I can’t see it being different this time.
So, enjoy the darts, let’s get some winners under out belts, and I’ll see you back here for more tips tomorrow. And let’s just hope the bookies decide it’s worthwhile pricing up more than just a handful of the games!