World Matchplay 2012 Day One Premium Picks

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Welcome to the Premium Picks for Day One of the 2012 World Matchplay. If you’re a previous subscriber, hopefully you’ve invested the winnings from the UK Open wisely, and if you’re a new subscribed, let’s make sure you have plenty of winnings to invest at the end of a great week of darts.

Betfair are the new sponsors of the PDC World Matchplay, and they’re doing more for darts than ever before – a lot of their markets have more liquidity than ever and no is a great time to sign up there if you haven’t done so already. Plus, what’s better than trading darts matches in-play? Sign up now, get a free £20 bet and up to £1,000 cashback:

Paul Nicholson versus Andy Smith:

A couple of years ago, I would have said this would have been a cakewalk for Nicholson; the Aussie was going great guns in the PDC, winning fans over with his charisma and playing some fantastic darts. However, he’s gone off the boil big time over the past year or so and now this isn’t the foregone conclusion many would have expected.

The head-to-head is 3-2 in Nicholson’s favour, which is a tick in the Aussie’s box. He also had a better run at the UK Open than Smith, which puts another tick in his box. However, Nicholson really has been struggling on the floor, and hasn’t had a deep run on the floor since January. Smith has had far better results on the floor than his opponent, getting two quarter-finals, a semi-final and a final under his belt, and his floor form puts a tick in his box.

The big thing here is who has the confidence, and both men seem to be lacking when it comes to what has been expected of them in the past. So it’s hard to split the two of them, and the long match might just play into Nicholson’s hands due to his physical fitness compared to his opponent. But 4/7 is no price for The Asset and we have to steer clear of this market.

However, Smith is a big 140 scorer, and not much of a maximum scorer, while Nicholson can fire in maximums for fun when he’s in the zone. So for him to be 5/6 to take this market (with money back for the draw at Betfair) is astounding. Our first bet of the World Matchplay and I’m extremely happy to see this.

Paul Nicholson to score more 180s than Andy Smith: 5/6 @ Betfair.

Recommend: 3 units.

Terry Jenkins versus Kim Huybrechts:

This could be dubbed “A Tale of Two Careers”, as Terry Jenkins starts to fall down the rankings slowly, and the young Belgian, Kim Huybretchts, starts climbing them at an alarming rate.

While Jenkins is plying his trade and doing well by most players’ standards, by his previous standards it’s not good enough – he was one of the men we used to look at to reach the final of the PDC Majors, and he’s done that twice in Blackpool. However, he’s been in and out of form, and he’s going to face a stern test here.

Kim Huybrechts has just burst onto the scene, and is seen as a serious outside contender for the PDC Majors now. He’s having deep runs in floor tournaments, reached the quarter-finals of the World Championships and has hit a 9-darter in competition this year. He’s playing great darts and is definitely going to be a contender for the Majors in a couple of years.

While the head-to-head favours Jenkins, there’s just something about Huybrechts’ game that instils confidence, and he has nothing to lose, while Jenkins is defending so many points over the next year or so. Jenkins will be tough to beat, but the Belgian is in form and his deep runs on the floor sum up why we have to be backing him.

Kim Huybrechts to beat Terry Jenkins: Evens @ Betfair.

Recommend: 1.5 units.

Adrian Lewis versus Robert Thornton:

The World Champion taking on the UK Open Champion. Normally you would think Leis versus Taylor, but it’s not. Robert Thornton is riding the crest of a wave here and he’s coming into the World Matchplay as a lively outsider.

Adrian Lewis has just been plodding along since his World Championship win. He had an average Premier League, poor UK Open, couple of good floor tournaments and some shockers. The thing here is it’s the traditional Adrian Lewis slump. This is around the time of year everyone writes him of and he then goes on to win the World Championship. He did reach the semi-final last year, but Blackpool hasn’t been the best of venues for him, with a couple of first round exits on his resume, to go with his two semi-final appearances.

The downside for the UK Open champion is that he’s yet to get past the first round here, and the fact he’s only beat Adrian Lewis twice in 11 meetings, with Lewis winning their last meeting at the World Championships in 2011.

Lewis is no price for the win, and Thornton doesn’t tempt me at 9/4. I can’t really see an angle for this match, so we’ll just keep our powder dry and wait for the final match of the night.

Recommend: No bet.

Raymond van Barneveld versus Michael Smith:

Experience versus youth and a rematch from the UK Open in 2011. Barney won that match 9-4, and he’s a short order to win again. The long and short of it is that Barney is looking back to some kind of form, winning the last European Tour event and making the quarter-finals of the previous event. He reached the quarter-finals of the UK Open and he really is looking like one of the top four players in the PDC at the moment.

Smith is having a great year, winning a Pro Tour event in January, as well as a couple of PDC Youth Tour events. However, this is his first foray into the World Matchplay and he’s playing a man with a wealth of experience in this event.

I like Barney a lot here, and I think he’s got the potential to give Smith a bit of a hiding if his performances in Germany are anything to go by. Barney’s got the potential to replicate that 2011 UK Open scoreline, and with the handicap line at -4.5, that’s what we’d have to hope for. Yes, it’s a bit of a big line, but the Dutchman is playing great darts at the moment.

Raymond van Barneveld -4.5 legs to beat Michael Smith: 11/10 @ Stan James.

Recommend: 1 unit.

That’s it for the first day of the 2012 World Matchplay Premium Picks, and I’ll be back tomorrow with more of the same.

Enjoy the darts, and happy betting!