Hopefully you're enjoying the PDC World Championships. I certainly am and we're having the usual ups and downs that a darts tournament brings, but with Christmas around the corner, it's our last chance to get some cash in for the last minute presents.
As I'm sure you no doubt are aware, the snow has caused me great trouble, but I'll have a full recap of how we got on in the first round, with all the facts and figures before the second round starts. As an aside, looking at Thursday night's action, they might not be able to start the second round until the second week of January, when you see how slow some of the players throw. Anway...
Here are all the free bets on offer during the PDC World Championships
So, Thursday's tips for the PDC World Darts Championship are as follows...
Andy Smith vs Shane Tichowitsch.
You know, I quite like Andy Smith as a player. He can be worryingly inconsistent, especially against the bigger names, but he rarely disgraces himself and this is the perfect match for him. Shane Tichowitsch players on the Australian Tour and does well for himself over there. However, this is quite a step up and it's a shame he's not playing someone with a bit less experience, as there could have been easier matches for him than The Pieman.
Yes, Smith is short at around 1/4, perhaps too short, but I think his experience should pay off and I don't think he'll follow some of the other seeds out of the door, although Tichowitsch might not make it too easy for him. That being said, there might not be too many legs of Smith starts scoring heavily, so the highest checkout is worth a play at around 120.5 and we'll take the under.
Recommend: 1.5 units.
Magnus Caris Vs Dietmar Burger - (Prelim match).
I like Magnus Caris, I really do. However, his price of 1/2 against Dietmar Burger is a bit too short for my liking. Caris is along the lines of a Per Laursen character in that he's been around a while, he's Scandinavian and I'm sure none of the seeds would have fancied playing him. However, not much is known about his oppoenent, who seems to have had a quiet 2010, but in the past few years, he's won a lot of small tournaments, which shows he can play. While I'd love to back Caris, a race to four against someone who has shown some form in the past could be dangerous. Best to err on the side of caution, although I wouldn't put anyone off backing the Swede.
Recommend: No bet.
Mark Walsh vs Justin Pipe.
Mr Consistency on the floor, Mark Walsh, takes on Mr Consistency (apparently) in the practise room, Justin Pipe. Walsh has been a player to watch in the PDC over the last few years, although he's still to totally take that form onto the TV, which is frustrating. Pipe was equally as frustrating at the Grand Slam of Darts, where finally got his chance to shine, but didn't impress.
That being said, Pipe did get better over time and was unlucky not to get a result against James Wade and his style could frustrate Walsh. The fact that Walsh isn't the greatest on TV might also play into the hands of Pipe. In fact, Walsh hasn't had a great TV run since the UK Open way back in 2005, so this might be a lot closer than the bookies are giving Pipe credit for.
Basically, it comes down to who can settle in front of the cameras quickest and if that's the mitigating circumstance, Pipe's price is far too big and, in the case, we have to back him simply for the value.
Recommend: 1 unit @ 13/5
Dennis Priestley vs Bernd Roith.
Dennis Priestley was one of the seeds I was looking to take on before the tournament starts, but unfortunately they draw has been very kind to him. Bernd Roith is nothing, in my opinion, to write home about. He has the same sort of profile as Mensur Suljovic, playing in Central European tournaments mostly, yet he doesn't have the results of him.
Sadly, I think this is a lop-sided affair and Priestley should get through in no more than 4 sets. So, for fans of drama, I think you can avoid this one.
Recommend: No bet.
Mervyn King vs Caris/Burger.
A great way to finish the first round, as Mervyn King takes to the stage. Now, it should be noted that King has been playing below par for a while because his father passed away a few months ago. Anyone that's ever watched King play will know how important his father's support was to him, so it's understandable that his head's not completely in the game.
He'll be looking to take this match comfortably, but he might find himself in a real tussle, especially if Magnus Caris win the prelim match. I'd look to take King on if he is playing Caris, if he was a good price, but since there are no prices, I can't advise. Just watch, see how King is playing and if he's playing well, he's worth keeping an eye on for a decent run.
Recommend: No bet.
And that concludes the tips for round one of the PDC World Championships. Hopefully you've enjoyed the first week of action and now you can have a relaxing - and boring - Christmas, until the action starts up again on Monday 27th.
I'll be back with a recap on what's gone on in the first round and until then, happy Christmas and, even more importantly, happy betting!