We've come to the end of the first week of the PDC World Championship and also the end of the first round action. Tonight's games will signal the end of the line for 40 players and the chance of glory for 32 more. Gary Anderson was lucky not to be one of the 40 in his epic match against Jyhan Artut last night.
Looking at our tips last night, I feel hard done by, as we missed the highest checkout in the Lloyd/Young match by 1 point, and we lost out on our lowest checkout in the Anderson/Artut match by 2 points. Harsh, but them's the breaks. So we went 1-2 last night, taking us to 11-12 and a profit of +1.64 units.
Two more nights of darts action and free darts betting tips before Christmas, so let's get to the tips and some late spending money for Christmas.
Betfair. have a lot of great markets and a lot of great valueevery year during the PDC World Championships. Head on over, get yourself a free bet and get stuck into the in-running betting. You'll struggle to find a better place to bet during the PDC World Championships than Betfair.
Andy Smith (20) versus Scott Rand.
Andy Smith best price: 4/5 @ Betfair.
Scott Rand best price: 6/5 @ Stan James.
Oh, how I love Andy Smith. He never fails to cheer me up, get the crowd on his side and play some magnificent darts. He's had a year which has consolidated his place in the rankings, with consistent runs on the floor, including a win in Barnsley and a final a week after that in Holland. In terms of televised tournaments, he's done what's expected of him and made it to the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix, and the same stage of February's Players Championships Finals. While not scintilating form, it's decent, and that's what you come to expect of Andy Smith; he won't be winning many tournaments, but you can expect a solid, honest performance.
Smith is taking on the new "kid" on the block in the PDC, Scott Rand. Rand had a decent start to the year on the floor, taking in a couple of quarter-finals and a semi-final which came in May. He made his TV debut in this year's World Matchplay, where he lost in the first round to Wayne Jones 10-6. He then appeared back on our screens at the start of this month and caused some huge upsets on the way to the Players Championship Finals semis. On his way there, he knocked out Jamie Caven, Raymond van Barneveld, and James Wade, before losing 10-9 to Kevin Painter, blowing a chance to win.
The one part of Smith's game that's disappointing is his 180 scoring. He's solid on the 140s, but the maximums seems to evade him. Rand scored reasonably heavily during his run earlier this month, and fired in 13 maximums during his time in Doncaster. He's averaged around one every 4 legs, which isn't too bad. Smith isn't that consistent, so for him to be favourite to score the most maximums is something I don't get, so we'll be backing Rand to score the most 180s.
The bookies have priced this up with Smith as a marginal favourite, and that's about right for me. I think Smith is really consistent, he's been here before, but Rand is one of the hot prospects on the PDC Tour, even though he's older than most of the newer breed. While I think Smith might just nick this, there's no value around anywhere else, so we'll just have the one bet here.
Scott Rand to score more 180s than Andy Smith: 6/5 @ Stan James.
Recommend: 2 units.
Devon Petersen versus Jose de Sousa.
Devon Petersen best price: 3/10 @ 888.com.
Jorge De Sousa best price: 5/2 @ Victor Chandler
All I know about Jorge De Sousa is that he's played in one PDPA event, winning his first match, but losing 6-1 to Alan Tabern in October. He won the West European Qualifying Event, but it wasn't exactly a stellar field. He's taking on the more experienced Devno Petersen, who's playing more and more in the PDC Tour events, never really doing much other than making the last 64 and the last 32 once. Petersen had previous at the World Championships, winning his prelim match aganist Norman Madhoo 4-3, then losing to Jamie Caven 3-1.
I think Petersen's experience on the stage will see him through here, but there's not much value to be had, as with a lot of these prelim games. So just sit back, watch some faces you never really see on our TV screens. Or put a load of washing on. Whatever!
Recommend: No bet.
John Part (27) versus John Henderson.
John Part best price: 8/13 @ 888.com.
John Henderson best price: 7/5 @ Betfair.
John Part must be counting his blessings that John Henderson is probably still not recovered from his injury that laid him low for quite some time. While Part hasn't had a particularly bad year, his form on TV hasn't been exactly amazing. His 6-0 defeat to Wayne Jones came ont he back of a last 16 appearance at the Grand Slam of Darts, where he lost 10-8 to Adrian Lewis. but, truth be told, Part wasn't spectacular at the GSOD, just sold. It was his 3-1 defeat to Brendan Dolan at the World Grand Prix that was perhaps more indicative of the up-and-down year he's been having.
Still, John Henderson was unbelievably miserable in his 6-1 defeat to Justin Pipe at the Players Championship finals. His averaged wouldn't grace some pub leagues and it was evident he wasn't fully fit. Will he have recovered in time? I seriously doubt it. It's a shame, because Henderson has played some decent darts this year, getting to the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix, before losing 4-1 to Brenan Dolan, having beaten Wes Newton and Justin Pipe, who are still in this year's World Championship.
If Henderson had been fully fit, I would have advised a dabble on him here, but as it stands, he's not right and we have to make the most of that and back Part and what I would consider to be generous odds considering how bad that injury hampered Henderson at the start of the month.
John Part to beat John Henderson: 8/13 @ 888.com.
Recommend: 4 units.
Simon Whitlock (5) versus Dennis Smith.
Simon Whitlock best price: 1/3 @ 8/13 @ 888.com.
Dennis Smith best price: 5/2 @ Paddy Power.
A foot injury has kept Simon Whitlock off the oche for the past couple of months, and it's not ideal preparation for the World Championship. However, the No.5 seed is a consummate professional and I've no doubt he's been practising when he can. By his own lofty standards, the Aussie hasn't had a fantastic year, but he's consolidated his place in the rankings with solid performances in floor tournaments, making a few quarter-finals and seven semi-finals, without taking one title down. When it comes to his televised performance, this is where Whitlock has struggled. His best result this year has been the semi-finals of the European Championships, where he lost 11-4 to Phil Taylor. Losing 3-1 to Mark Hylton at the World Grand Prix was the last time we saw Whitlock on our TV screens.
Dennis Smith is a fun one. With his throwing action going alongside Whitlock's machine-like throw, we could be in for a long night. Smith hasn't had a great year, struggling on the floor, not qualifying for the big ones. In fact, his last appearance on TV was this time last year, where he lost 3-0 to Andy Hamilton. Outside of the World Championship, Smith hasn't been on TV for a while, which is a shame, as his 140 scoring is legendary.
This is going to be a fun match, but I can't see Whitlock losing it, as Smith is in the twilight of his career, while Whitlock is still one of the best in the world, and his high checkouts are what sets him apart from a lot of players. Sure, it hasn't been Whitlock's greatest year, but he's had personal problems and injuries that have set him back slightly. I was going to take a look at the 180s markets, but the line is 4.5 and although I can't see Smith troubling it, all it takes is a bit of Whitlock magic and the line's smashed. However, I do like the look of the highest checkout market. Whitlock loves a big finish, and Smith can also hammer the treble, so his combination finishes are pretty handy. The line of 118.5 tickles my fancy, so we'll be playing there.
Highest checkout in the Simon Whitlock versus Dennis Smith match over 118.5: 5/6 @ Paddy Power.
Recommend: 2 units.
Steve Brown versus Petersen/De Sousa.
What more could Steve Brown have asked for? His climb into the top 32 in the PDC has been steady, he's had one final on the Pro Tour and he's playing relatively well on the TV. His 8-6 defeat to James Wade in the Players Championship Finals in the second round was a fine performance. Brown won his first round match against Jelle Klaasen last year 3-1, before succumbing to Terry Jenkins 4-1, still hitting 4 maximums in the process. There's no doubting Brown is a quality player when the mood takes him, and he should have far too much for either of the players in the prelim, so don't worry about this match. Instead, get yourself ready for the start of the second round, which begins tomorrow.
So, round two starts tomorrow in the PDC World Championship, which will be Day Eight. We'll then take a short break for Christmas, and then we'll be back with more free darts betting tips right up until the day of the final.
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.