It’s the World Matchplay but not as we know it. There’s no crowd and it’s not at the Winter Gardens this year but there are 32 of the best darts players on tour competing behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
It’s difficult to know what type of feel the tournament will have, in terms of a big-stage major event, or a lower-key floor tournament without the crowd in attendance and away from the famous Blackpool venue.
White Looks Good Value
With that in mind it could pay to snap-up some big prices about Ian White at
40/1. The Stoke man consistently produces some of the highest numbers on the Pro Tour. In fact, only World Champion Peter Wright has a better three-dart average this season with Diamond putting in a sparkling 99.66.
Those numbers haven’t always been replicated in major tournaments, with the crowd playing its part, but with the boisterous atmosphere removed perhaps it’s worth taking a chance that this could be the time the door opens for White.
Diamond enjoyed a quarter-final and semi-final run in the recent cluster of Summer Series events and that should put him spot-on for a tilt at this competition.
White takes on Joe Cullen in his opening Matchplay contest, and although Rockstar is a capable operator, he doesn’t perform at a constantly high-level like Diamond.
Gerwen Price and Nathan Aspinall are both housed in the same quarter as White, and while both of those arrowsmiths will present a major challenge to the Stoke thrower, the prices are big enough to compensate for that tricky draw.
Wright Starts With Tough Test
Peter Wright could have hoped for a kinder first-round draw but his opening clash against Jose de Sousa could be the toughest challenge the World Champion will face until the semi-final. Wright is
9/2 and offers better value than
8/5 favourite Michael van Gerwen.
De Sousa has been producing some brilliant numbers on the Pro Tour this season and enjoyed some excellent performances in the recent Summer Series. The Portugesue thrower hasn’t yet produced those stunning averages in a major event but he’s had very limited opportunities to show what he can do.
That said, Wright is the top performer on the PDC Tour this season and he has been in brilliant form, winning the Summer Series Players Championship 13 event last week.
Glen Durrant would be a threat to Snakebite in round two but he hasn’t been handed a freebie against Jeffrey de Zwann in his opening match and the Boro man is no certainty to make it through.
‘Snakebite’ has Little to Fear
Daryl Gurney, Ricky Evans, Dave Chisnall and Vincent van der Voort make up the section and there would be little for Wright to fear from any of those throwers.
Snakebite is also housed away from tournament favourite Van Gerwen, in the bottom half of the draw, and that makes Wright look well worthy of each-way support.
*All odds correct at time of writing.