Well, the Premier League is over and we saw history made by Phil Taylor in the final. Now we're ack to our regularly scheduled tournaments and we start with the cliche-tastic UK Open.
It's dubbed the FA Cup of Darts and that's because there's the open draw format, where Phil Taylor could meet any of the big names early on in the tournament and where a qualifier from the Rileys qualifiers, or a player from the BDO regions that voted in favour of Barry Hearn's proposal, could go deep, or even win it. While it's highly unlikely that will happen, simply because of the gulf in class between everyone and Phil Taylor, the chance is there and there have been shocks galore in every tournament and this year will definitely be no different.
Before we start dishing out the tips for the first day of the UK Open, I want to mention the bookmakers that will give you some free money for depositing there. Is there anything better than free money? Well, more free money. So, use my tips along with these free sign-up offers and we'll get the UK Open off with to a flier.
Victor Chandler as a well established name in sports betting and they really get behind the great sport of darts. They'll give you up to a £100 free sports bet, as well as casino chips is you sign up there. There's not a better offer available and I've taken advantage of this for tonight's tips, and I think you should too. Hey, if the tips win, great, but if, for some strange reason, they don't, you've lost nothing!
Boylesports are another great bookmaker for darts. They have a huge variety of markets and they have a nice £20 deposit bonus. You deposit and bet £20, they match it. Simples!
Stan James are big supporters of darts and we find their markets to be amongst the best when it comes to darts betting, which is why we proudly support them. Plus, their £25 match bet is a fantastic offer, probably the best out there at the moment. So, why not sign up, deposit and have a nibble on our first tip of the night and Stan James will match it:
Seriously, if you don’t have accounts at any of these bookmakers, sign up, deposit and use your free bet to have a dabble on tonight’s tips. Now that that’s out of the way and you’ve got your free bets, let’s get the tips going.
I won't be picking anyone to win the tournament. Since there's an open draw format, we can't just look at the draw to find value. Also, Phil Taylor is on such great form that betting against him, regardless of who you're backing, isn't really great value.
Now, the other problem we have when it comes to tipping is that because of the nature of the tournament, we can't tip every round. What I will try and do is tip up the matches that start the day off, before draws are made. So, without further ado, let's find some value!
Both men have similar form recently in floor tournaments, but Burnett is a bit of an odd one - he can still play some great darts and he is a former world champion, even if it was a long time ago now. I would have him slightly shorter and I think the 23/20 at Boylesports is good value.
Recommend: 1 unit @ 23/20
Alex Roy to bear Mark Lawrence: 9/10 @
Simply put, the bookies can't make up their minds on this and Stan James are a bit out of line with their price and we can take advantage of that. Roy is a quality player on his day and although he's cocky, he is able to back that up when the mood takes him. Now, he's playing somewhat of an unknown quantity, but Roy's experience should see him through at a very tasty price.
Recommend: 2 units @ 9/10.
Kirk Shepherd to beat Adrian Gray: 9/10 @ @
Shepherd has been playing some decent darts on the TV, whilst Gray hasn't built on his initial promise. I have to admit, I'm one of those people that wrote Shepherd off, but he's not playing bad darts, especially on the TV and he's picked up some good results here and there. Even though this is over a short distance, I think the 9/10 is very generous against a player who hasn't done much on TV in recent tournaments.
Recommend: 2 units @ 9/10
Mick McGowan to beat Wayne Mardle: 5/4 @
Wayne Madle has been shocking over the last 12 months. Now, that's partially down to illness, but he's been found out and his ranking shows that. McGowan is a consistent player who will push Mardle and will definitely punish him should Mardle get up to his old antics of not being able to finish. Taking Mardle on is a hard task, as he'll be pumped up, but we might get the result we need, especially as Mardle's been off our screens for a while.
Recommend: 1 unit @ 5/4.
That's all we have for now. I'll be back before Friday's matches start seeking out the value and I'm positive I'll get you some. For now, remember to use the free bets to your advantage, get on this selection and, most importantly, enjoy one of the best tournaments of the year!