PDC World Matchplay 2013 Day One Premium Picks

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PDC World Matchplay 2013 Day One Premium Picks.

The Premium Picks are back, and we’re focusing on the World Matchplay this time round. It’s a tournament I love, and it’s always exciting, especially in the early stages. Although I have to admit that I think that the opening round doesn’t seem as exciting as it has been in the past, with some very lop-sided matches. However, I think we’ve got some interesting encounters, too, and there is the potential for some upsets, which hopefully we’ll get on board with.

Before we get down to business, I just want to remind you of Victor Chandler’s great money-back offer if the match you get on goes to sudden death. So, on any of our outright match win picks, I’d advise backing them at Victor Chandler, just so you have that added insurance if you’re on the wrong side of a sudden death defeat.

Terry Jenkins (16) Vs Andy Smith

This is one of those matches that isn’t, on paper, as lop-sided as others. Both men are stalwarts of the PDC tour, and they’re both capable of great darts. Although both men haven’t been showing it as much over the last couple of years, admittedly.

Terry Jenkins is a two-time finalist in this event, in 2007 and 2009. Of course, as is the case with Jenkins, he came up short both times. He’s also started to slip down the rankings due to not defending the money he’s won over the last couple of years, and it’s now important that Jenkins starts to win to get back into the top 5. It won’t be easy, as he’s now seemingly settled into a bit of a routine in floor tournaments where he’ll reach the last 16, then bow out. He’s not hitting the heights once expected of The Bull, although he is playing consistently, just not as well as some of his peers. That being said, he made the last 16 of the UK Open, and played some good darts on the way. And there’s no denying that when he’s playing well, he can score 180s with the best of them, as well as hit the double 20 with aplomb. It’s tough to sum up Jenkins, but it’s safe to say he’ll put up a fight and he’ll be there or there or thereabouts when the final dart is thrown.

As for Andy Smith, he’s doing the same as Terry Jenkins, really. He’s earning a crust (no pun intended) on the ProTour circuit, doing this thing, going deep a couple of times, but usually gracing the last 32/16. The thing with Smith is that he always gives an honest performance. He’ll batter in a lot of 140s, he’ll fire in some nice finishes, and will give you an honest performance. He’s never made is past the quarter-final of a PDC Major, but he’s a solid performer.

After writing this up, it’s even clearer to me that both men are on par with each other. It’s a relative coin toss, with maybe the edge going to Jenkins just because he’s more solid on the 180s than Smith, and he’s does love the stage at Blackpool. I couldn’t pick a winner here, but I do think the match could go all the way, or at least past the first 19 legs. It’s not going to be pretty at times, but I think it’ll be an honest encounter, no tantrums or gamesmanship and it’s a good way to kick off the 2013 World Matchplay. The only line worth looking at is the Total Legs market, as I think we’re going to get more than the 17 required.

Over 16.5 legs in Terry Jenkins Vs Andy Smith match: Best price 5/6

Recommend: 2 unit.

Raymond van Barneveld (8) Vs Mensur Suljovic.

Two of my favourite players to watch up next. Barney versus The Gentle, a battle of Europe and it’s good to have Mensur Suljovic back on our TV screens, as he’s just a pleasure to watch… for all the wrong reasons. If you’ve not been fortunate enough to witness the joy of Suljovic, imagine Mr Bean throwing darts. And if he wins here, he could face Justin Pipe in the second round – needless to say, the audiences will be tearing their hair out in frustration.

I don’t have to tell you about Raymond van Barneveld. The Dutchman has done it all in the game of darts, although he’s yet to win the World Matchplay. He has made the final in 2010, though, so he’s got form on the stage at the Winter Gardens. This year, he’s not played much on the ProTour, as he really doesn’t need to in terms of money, he just needs to maintain his position in the rankings, and he does that fairly well. He’s made one final, at the Dubai Masters in May, as well as three semi-finals, most notably at the UK Open, as well as the Premier League where he lost a cracking game to Phil Taylor. He’s had good runs in nearly ever tournament he’s played, with his worst results in the PDC this year being two last 32 finishes. It’s safe to say Barney’s playing consistently good darts and will be relishing his opportunity to shine this year.

I’ve summed Mensur Suljovic’s style up earlier, so let’s touch on his form. He burst onto the scene in the 2008 World Championship, beating Andy Smith in the first round before being cuffed 4-1 by John Part. But he stuck in the mind of darts fans thanks to his quirky style and has been a mainstay of the European events for years now. Of course, his most notable scalps came at the 2011 PDC World Championship, where he first saw off Michael van Gerwen 3-1, then James Wade 4-2, before losing 4-0 to Wes Newton. Needless to say, the Free Darts Betting Tips made a killing off the Austrian! He’s playing solid darts in the European events, and tends to qualify for most of them, and he did make the semi-finals of the European Darts Trophy in April. However, it’s his first appearance at the World Matchplay, and although he doesn’t seem fazed by the TV cameras, it’s a big ask for him to defeat a player playing as well as Barney. However, he’s caused some upsets in the past, and he’ll be confident of doing it again.

I can only see one winner here, that being Raymond van Barneveld. However, Suljovic’s slow style might cause Barney some problems, and the Dutchman has even admitted he’d rather be facing a player with a faster throwing action. Suljovic’s shock victories over some of the PDC’s biggest names is proof that he can cause some players grief. The line I like here is the 180s line, simply because Barney has been firing them in, especially during the Premier League. We should get 15 legs or so, plenty of time for Barney to get close to the 7.5 line himself. If Suljovic can weigh in with 2 or 3, we’ll be golden.

Over 7.5 180s in Van Barneveld Vs Suljovic match: Best price 5/6

Recommend: 3 units.

James Wade (4) Vs John Part.

It always amazes me that the man who is a two-time World Champion in this match-up isn’t James Wade. Yes, I tend to dog on James Wade in my write-ups, but he’s a constant source of frustration for me – never wins when I back him, always wins when I bet against him. C’est la vie! John Part is another one who can frustrate, but at least you know what you’re going to get from him – a 90-ish average, and someone who will pick up the scraps if and when his opponent makes a mistake.

James Wade, as I mentioned, is a source of frustration for me. He constantly underperforms when I need him to win, and because of his bi-polar disorder, it’s hard to gauge where his game actually is at any one time. He could be playing great darts one tournament, then have a shocker the next simply because he’s not in the mood to play. This year, he’s playing reasonably well, making the quarter-finals of the UK Open, and the semi-finals of the Premier League. However, he’s not set the tour alight much, he’s just plodding along, doing his thing and getting some good runs on the floor tournaments without getting near a win. But he is a winner of the World Matchplay, back in 2007, so he knows what it takes to win in Blackpool.

John Part, well, he’s been doing the jetsetting, playing in the NAPT Tour event in Kingston, Ontario last weekend before setting off to Blackpool for the World Matchplay. I’ve done the journey to and from Canada, and I don’t envy Part having to be ready for action not long after arriving. However, he’s a professional, he does it for most tournaments now, and he’s still a threat to most players. In fact, winning the UK Masters in March was a sign he’s playing well, and he followed it up with a runner-up finish in one of the UK Open qualifiers in April. And the fact he’s consistently getting a couple of wins on the floor shows he’s still playing a consistent level of darts. You know exactly where you stand when backing John Part, that’s for sure.

The problem I have here is that I don’t know which James Wade will turn up. Wade, on his day, is capable of blowing Part away, but if he starts playing the scrappy darts he’s capable of, Part won’t need to be asked twice to take his chances. I think the prices for both men are about right, and I do think Wade will win. I just don’t think it will be pretty, as both men could end up averaging 89 or so. However, what you do get with both men is big finishes. They both love their big combination checkouts, and the line is aroud 127.5, which is bread and butter for both men.

Highest checkout in James Wade Vs John Part match over 127.5: Best price 5/6

Recommend: 2 units.

Simon Whitlock (5) Vs Jelle Klaasen.

Jelle Klaasen, perhaps the most unpopular man on the PDC circuit right now is back on the big stage, after quite a bit of time out of the limelight. The Dutchman is playing well, and he’ll be confident of causing an upset against Simon Whitlock. We know how good the Aussie is, and he’ll be disappointed with the draw, as it’s going to be a tough one.

Simon Whitlock’s had a decent 2013 so far. He recently reached the final of the European Championship, losing out to Adrian Lewis. He’s also won a tournament on the floor this year, and is going fairly deep in most of the tournaments he’s entered this year. Yes, he’ll be disappointed not making the semi-finals of the Premier League, and his last 64 exit in the UK Open was unfortunate, but he’s playing solid darts. Maybe not flashy darts, but solid enough. He’s also a former semi-finalist at the World Matchplay, so the form is there.

As I say, Jelle Klaasen might just get a frosty reception in Blackpool. But since his forced hiatus, he’s come back playing some fantastic darts, and he’ll be hoping to emulate Michael van Gerwen’s surge to the head of the pack. The fact he’s a former World Champion speaks volumes. At one point he was unbackable, but this year he’s done well, reaching the last 16 of the UK Open, and recently the quarter-finals of the European Championship, where he was impressive, especially his 103.7 average in his 10-6 win over Justin Pipe. The fact he got close to beating Michael van Gerwen shows he’s playing good darts. The worry is that his best form has been on the continent, but he’s got experience on the TV stage, so that won’t be an issue. He’ll fancy his chances of causing a bit of an upset.

I’ve not hidden the fact I think Klaasen looks good to have a deep run here, but this could be the toughest hurdle for him. That being said, on top form, he’s a hard man to beat, as is his opponent. It’s going to be a high-quality contest, and we could get a close run affair. While Whitlock is rightly favourite, his form has been incosistent, as was evident in his Premier League run. The Aussie will need to be on his A-game to repel a resurgent Klaasen, and I think his defeat at the UK Open shows he can be vulnerable, even though his defeat was at the hands of Wes Newton. I think the Dutchman looks like the value here, though – he’s confident, with nothing to lose, while Whitlock’s form has been up and down, and if he’s not 100%, Klaasen will capitalise on that.

Jelle Klaasen to beat Simon Whitlock: Best price 2/1.

Recommend: 1.5 units.

And that’s all the Premium Picks for Day One of the 2013 World Matchplay. We’ve got 27 matches left, and I think we’ll get off to a great start. If Jelle Klaasen does the business for us, all the better, especially for my outright bets!