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UK Open 2014 Day Three Premium Picks.
And then there was 8, and what a line-up. It might be missing some of the big names, but it’s an eclectic mix, and we could be on course for yet another new runner-up, to keep the UK Open tradition going. So we have Adrian Lewis taking on Mensur Suljovic, in a huge contrast of styles. Mervyn King and Kevin Painter face off in what could make or break both men’s seasons – a win here for either man will be a good boost on the Order of Merit. Michael van Gerwen looks to continue his march to another PDC Major, with Ian White standing in his way. The final match of the quarter-finals sees Terry Jenkins and Brendan Dolan, in another game that could make or break a season.
Kevin Painter vs Mervyn King.
Battle of the PDC stalwarts, as Kevin Painter takes on Mervyn King. Both men have been languishing in and around the Top 16 recently, although the King resurgence that was in the pipeline 18 months ago never materialised. Kevin Painter had a big win in Round Three over Richie Burnett, then followed it up with a win over Andrew Gilding. He then eased past Dean Winstanley to get to the quarter-final. King’s path started off against Karl Merchant, then Dave Chisnall, winning both games 9-4. He then scored an impressive 9-6 win over Christian Kist to claim his place.
Both men had looked solid and have never been in trouble, which points to how close this should be. They’ve played 30 times, with Painter holding a slight advantage. However, they haven’t played competitively against each other since October last year. Painter’s won the last 5, and is the outsider of the two here. And that sways my pick here – head-to-head is an important factor. So it should be close, but Painter looks the value.
Kevin Painter to beat Mervyn King: Best price 13/10 @ bWin.
Recommend: 1.5 units.
Over 16.5 legs in Painter vs King match: Best price 5/6 @ Sky Bet.
Recommend: 3 units.
Terry Jenkins vs Brendan Dolan.
This is a match incredibly similar to the previous one, with both men treading water in the Order of Merit, desperate for that big result to get them back to where they feel they belong. Terry Jenkins started off his UK Open run with a 9-4 win over Stuart Kellett. Then Paul Nicholson was dispatched almost as easily. Then Jenkins got a huge win over James Wade to see him in the quarter-finals. Brendan Dolan started off with a 9-6 win over Steve Beaton, took out the resurgent Nigel Heydon 9-7 and then ended the charge of the surprise package Aden Kirk 9-7.
What’s important for me here is current form. Brendan Dolan has been one of the form players over the past 6 months or so on the floor, and he’s shown he’s Mr Consistency. Jenkins, on the other hand, has been inconsistent – he’s been playing exceptional darts one week, then throwing garbage the next. I want to side with the form player here, especially given the fact he’s the outsider of the two. Dolan is the value, and he is the pic here.
Brendan Dolan to beat Terry Jenkins: Best price 11/8 @ Sky Bet.
Recommend: 2 units.
Adrian Lewis vs Mensur Suljovic.
I think I say this every time Mensur Suljovic gets time on TV, but this is the highlight of the day for me. I love watching Suljovic play, because he’s an utter enigma. He’s got through the hard way, entering the competition in Round Two, beating Keegan Brown 5-3. He then went on to Tony Randall 9-3, then took the big scalp of 2012 Champion Robert Thornton. Jamie Lewis was dispatched 9-5 and Suljovic now has his best result in a PDC Major. Standing in his way is Adrian Lewis, who started in Round Three with a 9-5 win over Ronnie Baxter. He followed that up with a tight 9-8 victory of Ronny Huybrechts, then cruised past Raymond van Barneveld 9-2.
You might be surpsied to see that the head-to-head between the two is 2-1 in favour of Jackpot. Lewis won their last meeting 6-4 last July. Everything points to Lewis, but Suljovic can cause the big guns some problems, and his style is going to disrupt Lewis. Suljovic looks like a bit of value, just because his style isn’t going to suit the fast-throwing Lewis. Suljovic also has nothing to lose here, so he’ll be playing with no pressure on his shoulders, which should stand him in good stead. Lewis will know that a win here would put him one step closer to another Major – a lot of pressure for Lewis.
Mensur Suljovic to beat Adrian Lewis: 6/1 @ Sky Bet.
Recommend: 1 unit.
Michael van Gerwen vs Ian White.
The one name we all expected to be in the quarter-finals, Michael van Gerwen, has made it through while others have fallen. He’s not been given an easy draw, as Ian White is capable of some great darts. The World Champion started off with a 9-1 win over James Hubbard, then a 9-5 win over Andy Hamilton. He then beat Mark Webster 9-4 to book his place in the quarter-finals. Ian White, like Mensur Suljovic, came in at the Second Round, and beat Daryl Gurney 5-4. He then got past Peter Hudson 9-8. He had his first comfortable win in the tournament over Alex Roy, winning 9-5. Gary Anderson was White’s last scalp before the quarter-finals, the Scotsman going down 9-7.
I think White can count himself one of the more fortunate quarter-finallsts, as he was pushed close in his first two matches, with Gurney and Hudson unable to punish him. Van Gerwen won’t be as forgiving, and I think there’s only one winner here, as Van Gerwen continues his charge towards his first UK Open title. White’s only chance will be if he can take his chances, which means the big combinations, especially the 130+ finishes. So the highest checkout line is where we’re going to play, as I think it’s a bit low, especially when you factor in Van Gerwen’s confidence on the big checkouts. The last bet for us of the tournament, and it’s one I like a lot.
Highest checkout in Van Gerwen vs White match over 124.5: Best price Evens @ Boylesports
Recommend: 3 units.
That’s it for the 2014 UK Open. I’ll be back with picks for Thursday’s Premier League action.