PDC World Matchplay
Wednesday 20 July
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Michael van Gerwen remains the favourite to win the World Matchplay, but on the evidence of his first round match, he will need to up his performance.
After the first round of matches concluded on Monday night, MVG was rated as the 5.69/2 favourite to win the tournament, ahead of the world number one Gerwyn Price at 6.05/1, who is in action on Tuesday night against Jonny Clayton in the second round.
It wasn’t Van Gerwen’s 10-7 victory against Damon Heta that has inspired this confidence, with the Australian threatening to pull off a shock at one stage. MVG finds himself on the easier side of the draw, with the Dutchman rated at 1.84/5 to win the fourth quarter.
De Sousa at another level
Michael Smith 2.588/5 v Jose De Sousa 1.564/7
Start time, 19:15
When these two heavy-hitters met earlier this year at the UK Open, it was De Sousa that won 10-9. De Sousa also beat Smith 16-14, en route to winning the Grand Slam of Darts last year, having previously lost to ‘Bully Boy’ in the group stage.
With De Sousa having reached the final of the Premier League and won three Players Championships events this year, he’s just playing at a higher level than Smith is reaching right now and should come out on top again. Back De Sousa to win the match and score the most 180s at 2.35/4.
Aspinall feeds off crowd
Gary Anderson 1.845/6 v Nathan Aspinall 2.01/1
Start time, 20:15
Anderson’s first round match turned out to be fairly easy for him, as Stephen Bunting struggled to get scoring. Aspinall had it tougher, as he denied Mervyn King a spirited comeback, to win 10-6.
Of all the players in this tournament, it could be Aspinall that gets the biggest lift from having the crowds back. He really feeds from their energy and he could just pinch this match at 2.01/1, to make the quarter-finals.
White can edge 180s battle
Michael van Gerwen 1.241/4 v Ian White 4.216/5
Start time, 21:15
If you watched both of these players’ first round matches without prior knowledge of their abilities, then there’s no way that you price them this far apart. Of course, we know Van Gerwen has more in the tank, but these odds make it hard to find value, with White performing solidly in a 10-7 win over Daryl Gurney.
A bet that stands out is for White to average over 93.5 at 1.834/5, having recorded 94.06 against Gurney. Another is for White to score the most 180s and lose at 2.6313/8, with MVG no longer the consistent scorer of maximums that he once was.
Snakebite is at his best
Peter Wright 1.511/2 v Joe Cullen 2.6413/8
Start time, 22:00
Wright seems to have hit top form just at the best time to make a mark in this tournament. After winning the last Players Championship event with an 8-2 victory over Van Gerwen that saw him average 108.84, Wright blew Danny Noppert away in the first round of this tournament, with a 10-2 win.
Cullen is a threat to anyone at his best, but we know that if Wright gets near his best game, he will win. Back Wright with -2.5 on the handicap market at 1.9520/21.