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PDC World Matchplay 2013 Day Three Premium Picks.
A long day of darts felt like the longest day ever, if I’m being honest with you. I won’t ramble on, suffice to say things can only pick up from here. The final 4 first round matches are tonight, with some interesting match-ups to cap off the first round.
After a big session yesterday, it’s back to the one session, starting at 7pm, so get back from work in time for that.
Again,, 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.
Robert Thornton (11) Vs Ian White
A match between two veterans of the darts world, both of whom have picked up some form over the last year or so, with Thornton’s success coming on the big stage, while White has done some magic on the ProTour.
I really enjoy watching Robert Thornton, he’s one of the underlooked power scorers in the game, and he’s a solid finisher on double top. He went through the wilderness for some time during his run in the PDC, but he turned it round at last year’s UK Open and hasn’t looked back since. He’s won two floor tournaments this year, a few more semi-finals and quarter-finals, got to the last 16 of the UK Open and finished 5th in an impressive Premier League Darts season, losing out to perhaps the 4 best players in the game. The key has been his scoring and consistency on the doubles – he’ll still put in the occasional blob, but he’ll get back on track with a 140 or a 180, and he seems fearless since coming back from terrible injuries that threatened his career.
Ian White is a similar success story. After an even longer time in the wilderness, the veteran thrower made a final of a UK Open qualifier in February and built on that success, qualifying for that year’s Grand Slam of Darts. He then continued this form reaching several more ProTour Finals, but it seems to have gone a bit south in 2013, with his best result one quarter-final appearance. He’s now consistently reaching the last 32 of floor tournaments and then losing out.
This time last year, it would have been a bit closer, but I think Thornton’s game is still improving, while White’s seems to have stalled. White has also struggled in the Majors, not showing what he can do when the cameras are on him. However, Thornton is no price here, and I think it’s better to get him on the 180s market. Thornton was relentless on the treble 20 in the Premier League and he’s one of the players that will refuse to switch to the treble 19, instead trying to force that final treble 20 in. That bodes well for us, considering he’s a fair price to beat White in this market.
Robert Thornton to score more 180s than Ian White: Best price 10/11
Recommend: 3 units.
Wes Newton (7) Vs Jamie Caven.
Looking at the rankings, you’d be forgiven for thinking this would be a cakewalk for Wes Newton – he’s the 7th seed, while Caven isn’t in the PDC’s Top 16. Newton’s a Premier League Darts player, Jamie Caven isn’t. However, there’s a lot more to this match than meets the eye.
Wes Newton is on the list of frustrating players. He’s another that I can’t seem to get right. One minute he’ll be in shocking form, the next he’ll smash out a 9-darter and win comfortably. He’s had an up-and-down 2013, winning the European Darts Trophy, and making a Players Championship Final in June, after a 9-darter at the UK Open. But that’s mixed in with a shocking outing in his debut Premier League Darts season, as well as quite a few last 64 exits on the floor. It’s the way Newton has played for quite some time, and seems to be the reason I can’t get him right.
Like Newton, Caven is a model of inconsistency. One minute he’ll throw junk, then he’ll win back-to-back Players Championships tournaments in Wigan and comfortably qualify for the World Matchplay having looked out of contention in the first few months of the year. Caven’s never made it past the first round of the World Matchplay, but he’s in decent form at the moment, and he’ll be happy with his draw. His run at the UK Open ended prematurely, but it was a 9-7 at the hands of James Wade, who went on to the quarter-finals.
This looks to be close, and I can’t split them. I actually like Caven as an each-way bet given the draw he’s got, and I’d rather have him on my side than Newton when looking at their outright prices. However, I can’t split them. Caven, on paper, looks the form pick, but he’s always a worry when the cameras are on him. The fact he’s yet to win a match in this tournament is proof that he has struggled in the past. However, Newton’s best result is one quarter-final appearance, so he’s not exactly a form horse at the venue either. The bookies also can’t split them, and we might finally get a match that goes past the 19 leg mark. The line is 16.5, and this should easily be 10-7 or better, given the tight nature of it.
Wes Newton Vs Jamie Caven over 16.5 legs: Best price 8/11
Recommend: 3 units.
Adrian Lewis (3) Vs Ronny Huybrechts.
I think this is one of the more interesting matches of the tournament, with Ronny Huybrechts making his tournament debut after an impressive year on the ProTour, and Adrian Lewis coming into a bit of form leading into the tournament after a somewhat lackluster year.
Yes, as always seems to be the case, Adrian Lewis got off to a slow start in 2013, but seems to have picked up, taking down the European Championship after the start of July, after reaching the semi-finals of the Gibraltar Darts Trophy and the quarter-finals of the UK Open. That was after a shocking Premier League Darts season where he finished 8th and also had a string of first round defeats in floor tournaments. But something has clicked and Lewis was installed as third favourite for the title.
It’s not been a bad debut season for Ronny Huybrechts. After winning his tour card in January, he made the final of the World Cup of Darts, qualified for a host of European Tour events, and made the final of the first Players Championship Wigan event in May, where he lost to Robert Thornton. And then at the start of this month he had an unforgettable run to the semi-finals to the European Championship, beating Phil Taylor 10-5 along the way, before losing out to Simon Whitlock.
If it wasn’t for Lewis’s run of form of late, Huybrechts would have been a solid pick for value, given his great first year in the Tour. However, Lewis seems to have found his form 6 months earlier than usual, and Huybrechts is going to find it tough. However, Lewis does tend to give his opponents chances, and the Belgian should be able to steal some legs with Lewis not the deadliest on his doubles. The handicap line is -4.5 legs, and 6 legs seems well within Huybrechts’ grasps, given that he beat Phil Taylor 10-5 in his last televised tournament.
Ronny Huybrechts +4.5 legs to beat Adrian Lewis: Best price 8/11
Recommend: 2.5 units.
Andy Hamilton (6) Vs Ronnie Baxter.
The final match of the first round, and it’s a PDC classic. Ronnie Baxter, once a familiar face on our screens takes on the man who seems to have the mantle as the PDC’s nearly-man, which summed Ronnie Baxter up, once upon a time. Both are heavy scorers who are deadly finishers when their game is on song, and it’s an interesting match-up.
Andy Hamilton is definitely worth of his top 6 place in the PDC. He’s now become a model of consistency, and I think playing in last year’s Premier League was a huge catalyst for that – playing at the top level for long enough allows you to keep your game at a level you want it to be. Hamilton is proof, recording some of his best results in PDC Majors over the last two years, most notably his run to the UK Open Final last month. He’s not had a strong year on the floor, but he seems to save his best game for the televised tournaments, and when the pressure is on. His slow start to the year turned around around April, and he’s just got back into the groove and has consolidated his place in the rankings.
Ronnie Baxter is a model of consistency on the ProTour, and it’s the reason he’s qualified for the World Matchplay. He’s consistently reaching the last 32 of floor tournaments, mixing in some quarter-finals without troubling the big guns of the tour. He’s also a finalist in this event all the way back in 1998, and he seems to go well, being the local boy, reaching the semi-finals last year, even though he was in distinctly average form before the tournament. The home factor is a huge plus for Baxter, and he’ll fancy his chances of an upset tonight.
Normally I would suggest Hamilton is a good thing, but I’ve been burnt in the past by Ronnie Baxter in this exact tournament, which is no doubt down to the home factor that plays a big part in Baxter’s performances here. I think Hamilton’s just a bit too short to suggest backing. What I do like is Ronnie Baxter to score the most 180s – he’s a huge 180 scorer, and when he’s in the rhythm he’s hard to stop. He’ll be good for a few, while Hamilton usually throws in a lot more 140s with an errant dart with the second or third throw. The curse of Baxter is his inconsistency, but he’ll smash in a lot of maximums between those 43s.
Ronnie Baxter to score more 180s than Andy Hamilton: Best price 7/5.
Recommend: 2 units.
And that’s all the Premium Picks for Day Three of the 2013 World Matchplay. We’ve got 15 matches left, and things are definitely going to start moving in the right direction.