An exciting day of darts yesterday, with some fantastic matches, especially Steve Beaton beating Magnus Caris in an absolute classic. Perhaps only overshadowed by the wonderous spectacle of Burger versus Perez!
Not a great day for us, going 3-4, leaving us with a running total of -6.05 units, and 6-8. Still, we're only three days into this tournament and we've got some great matches to come tonight, with a chance to get us back into the game early on.
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Brendan Dolan (25) versus Kim Huybrechts.
Brendan Dolan best price: 10/11 @ Victor Chandler
Kim Huybrechts best price: Evens @ Paddy Power.
What a year for Brendan Dolan. He came out of nowhere to reach the final of the World Grand Prix, hitting a 9-darter while there and then lost to Phil Taylor. It was his first appearance on TV since last year's World Championship, where he beat Kevin Painter 3-0 in the first round, before losing 4-0 to Wes Newton in the second round. His only other televised apperance this year has been at the Grand Slam of Darts, where he was shocking, losing to Wayne Jones 5-2 and Gary Anderson 5-3, before beating Nigel Heydon 5-3 in his final match. In all three matches combined, he hit one 180 in 21 legs. So, to say his run at the World Grand Prix was shocking is a slight understatement. Combine this with a completely indifferent year on the PDC Tour and it's hard to see how Dolan could be a threat to many players.
He's up against Kim Huybrechts, who finally made the breakthrough in the PDC during the European Championships, where he beat Antonio Alcinas and Wes Newton in two great matches, before coming unstuck against Adrian Lewis 10-8 in the quarter-finals. Like Brendan Dolan, the Belgian's year has been indifferent on the floor, with him only venturing out of the mainland Europe Players Championship tournaments for one weekend, where he made the last 16 and then the quarter-finals in Crawley in November. So, not outstanding form, but he's playing about as well as Dolan is, if you exclude Dolan's freakish run in Dublin.
Where do I stand on this? Well, I think it's going to be a close one. I really liked the look of Huybrechts in the European Championships, and if he can show the kind of form that pushed Adrian Lewis all the way and actually beat Wes Newton, Dolan could be in a lot of trouble. He has a free-flowing rhythm and he also has nothing to lose and everything to gain, so while the price isn't going to get us rich, I think we can have a dabble here to get our night off to the right kind of start.
Kim Huybrecths to beat Brendan Dolan: Evens @ Paddy Power.
Recommend: 2 units.
Connie Finnan versus Warren French.
Connie Finnan best price: 4/7 @ 888.com.
Warren French best price: 7/5 @ Betfair.
Get ready for some top darting action, as Warren French returns to our screens for another crack at World Championship glory. This time he faces Ireland's Connie Finnan for a crack at Mark Walsh in the last game of the evening. If you can remember back to Warren French's epic encounter with Akahiro Nakagawa in the prelim rounds in 2008, you'll remember why I have so much dread in my heart that he's back on our TV screens - he was shocking. However, he won and faced Dennis Priestley in the first round proper; he lost 3-0. He also failed to hit a maximum in either of his matches.
As for Connie Finnan, he won the Tom Kirby Memorial Trophy in October, won some regional events here and there, and aside from that, he's failed to qualify for the BDO World Championship for quite a few years now.
In short, what I know about both men is limited compared to some of the other players in the prelim matches. While I think Finnan MUST be a good thing here considering how bad French was the last time we bore witness to him, it's this horrible short format and Finnan might not be that great, either - he could be another Dietmar Burger. So, I can't in good faith tip anyone at 4/7 who could be shocking, or he could be a revelation. However, if you fancy a nibble on the Irishman, head on over to 888.com and get on at 4/7.
Recommend: No bet.
Mark Dudbridge (32) versus Dave Chisnall.
Mark Dudbridge best price: 12/5 @ Betfair.
Dave Chisnall best price: 2/5 @ Stan James.
The unseeded player no-one wanted to get was Dave Chisnall, and Mark Dudbridge got him. Add in that I'm sure a lot of the seeded players wanted their seed to be Mark Dudbridge and you can see what I'm intimating at.
Dudbridge has had a shocking year, and he'll be out of the top 32 sooner rather than later, barring a miracle run here. Just look at his last 4 weekends playing on the PDC Tour - his best result was the last 64 in Spain. In fact, his best result all year was a quarter-final in a UK Open Qualifier in April. But his last win on TV did come at last year's World Championship, where he beat Alex Roy 3-1, knocking in 6 180s on the way. It was a good performance, but a lot of water has passed under the bridge in 12 months and Flash could be in a spot of bother here.
As for Dave Chisnall, he's the man in his debut season in the PDC who hasn't disappointed. He's racking up finals in floor tournaments, going deep in the ones he doesn't, and even winning one eventually. Add in that he's putting in decent performances on TV at times and you have one of the players to fear in the PDC. It doesn't hurt that he can score maximums for fun. It's just a shame his doubling is, at times, mental.
However, I can't see past a Chisnall win here. but 2/5 is a price we won't get rich at. so the handicap line is where we want to be playing. A line of -1.5 puts both men at around the same price and I can't see Dudbridge pushing Chisnall here. Chissy will want to put in a great performance in his PDC World Championship debut, so I expect a great performance.
Dave Chisnall -1.5 sets to beat Mark Dudbridge: 5/6 @ Victor Chandler
Recommend: 4 units.
Raymond van Barneveld (8) versus James Richardson.
Raymond van Barneveld best price: 1/8 @ 888.com.
James Richardson best price: 13/2 @ Betfair.
A huge match for another one of the PDC Qualifying School graduates, James Richardson. He makes his Ally Pally bow against Raymond van Barneveld.
Not the greatest of years for Barney, whose only win of the year came in the Players Championship in Derby in September. However, in the few floor tournaments he played, he also made the final and semi-final when the PDC Tour hit Spain. It's the televised tournaments that Barney has failed to make his mark on. After a fourth place finish in the Premier League, he then made the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay, losing 16-11 to James Wade. He then made the semi-finals of the European Championships, losing 11-10 to Adrian Lewis, after getting his revenge on James Wade in the quarter-finals. However, then the wheels had a bit of a wobble. A last 16 finish at the World Grand Prix was followed up by three defeats in the Grand Slam of Darts (to Ted Hankey, Dean Winstanley and Ian White), and then a last 16 finish in the Players Championship Finals, losing 8-6 to Scott Rand. Add all this up and it just looks like Barney is in a bit of a slump at the moment. But I just don't know. His win over Ronnie Baxter in Doncaster was impressive, and he didn't lose too much face losing to Scott Rand after that, as he hit 7 maximums in 14 legs. Plus, the crowd didn't help in Doncaster, with the big guns struggling. So, wipe Doncaster from the slate and you have a player who, aside from the last two televised tournament that he's played in, isn't playing bad on the TV stage, albeit not the best he's ever played.
As for James Richardson, he's not had a stellar debut year on the PDC Tour, with his one and only performance of note coming in the Players Championship in Germany in October, where he made the final. Before that, his record was littered with last 64 finishes and the odd last 32/16. So, he's not in the kind of form he'd no doubt like to be in for his World Championship debut, but he has come up against a Barney who isn't the force he once was.
That being said, the prices speak for themselves and I'm with them. I think Barney will be looking to go on a bit of a rampage at this tournament and going back to his old darts can only help him. He shouldn't be pushed too much by Richardson, so a little nibble on the correct score is the way we're going to play this.
Raymond van Barneveld to beat James Richardson 3-0: 6/5 @ 888.com.
Recommend: 1.5 units.
Mark Walsh (11) versus Finnan/French.
If Connie Finnan turns out to be a darting god that we haven't heard of, Mark Walsh might be in a bit of trouble. However, he's the most in-form player in the PDC World right now, after a quarter-final appearance at the Players Championship Finals, coming on the back of a semi-final appearance at the Grand Slam of Darts, so either man coming through a prelim match shouldn't be too much of a worry. He'll be a short price to beat either man, so just save your cash unless you want to go steaming in at a very, very short price.
That's all for Day Four of the PDC World Championship. There will be more free darts betting tips tomorrow, but until then, remember our good friends that are offering £50 of free bets to their new customers. Don't forget to head over to 888.com.