Happy New Year to you all, hopefully you had a great one and you're nicely rested for the last two days of the PDC 2012 World Championship. We've got the four best performers left in the tournament, and there's one name there that you wouldn't have expected - Andy Hamilton.
Not the greatest of ends to 2011, we're now sat at 26-32 with a standing of -5.42. But we've got two days left of great darting action, so there's still money to be made. Let's get on to the action!
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Andy Hamilton (17) versus Simon Whitlock (5).
Andy Hamilton's route to the semi-final:
Beat Antonio Alcinas 3-2 Ave: 97.18
Beat Vincent van der Voort 4-3 Ave: 95.69
Beat Dave Chisnall 4-0 Ave: 99.08
Beat Kim Huybrechts 5-2 Ave: 102.04
Tournament average: 98.49
Tournament 180s: 30
Highest checkout: 125
Simon Whitlock's route to the semi-final:
Beat Dennis Smith 3-0 Ave: 105.11
Beat Steve Beaton 4-1 Ave: 96.42
Beat Michael van Gerwen 4-3 Ave: 95.84
Beat Gary Anderson 5-1 Ave: 95.24
Tournament average: 98.15
Tournament 180s: 32
Highest checkout: 125
Did anyone have this in their World Championship pick 'em? I think many of you might have had Simon Whitlock, as it was a toss-up between him and Gary Anderson, but if any of you thought Hamilton would get past Phil Taylor or Dave Chisnall prior to this tournament, then I take my hat off to you.
Andy Hamilton has been the outstanding player of the tournament. He's got stronger as the tournament has progressed, and has taken out each player with confident performances. This will be Hamilton's toughest match yet, as he's taken on some quality players, but not one of the big guns yet. Hamilton has previous with Simon Whitlock, defeating him in a classic at the World Matchplay in 2011, making a miraculous comeback from the jaws of defeat. It was perhaps his best performance of 2011 before the World Championship, so he's going to have some confidence here, knowing he's got the mental advantage over the Australian.
Simon Whitlock has played phenomenal darts over the past fortnight, putting his foot injury behind him and beating some of darts' big names, most notably Gary Anderson. While most thought Anderson would be a tough test for Whitlock, he was dispatched 5-1 with Whitlock putting in an impressive performance. His average didn't hit the heights of his first round match, but he did more than enough to take apart one of most formidable players on the PDC Tour.
Just looking at the stats, this is a bit of a coin-flip, with both men having a tournament average of around 98, they have the same highest checkout and only two 180s separate their tournament count. Both men have played unbelievably well in the tournament, and they have the two highest tournament averages. There are two factors here; one is Whitlock's injury, and the other is Hamilton's nerves. Whitlock's injury hasn't caused him any trouble in this tournament so far, but as I've mentioned before, over the longer matches, it could be an issue, but we just don't know. And as for Hamilton, this is the biggest match of his career, and he knows that the World Championship Final is, at most, 11 sets away. Nerves play a huge factor in darts matches, so it's worth taking into account.
I personally think the prices are about right, as Whitlock's injury hasn't been too much trouble, and he's been here before. He's also taken out Gary Anderson comfortably, which is no mean feat. However, there's no value in backing him here. But both men have been firing in the maximums, and I can see it happening again. So, over this longer format, we can hopefully see around 25 maximums, just going by the stats, and since the line is 20.5, I think we have to go in.
There is also the matter of number of sets, and I think we could see quite a few here, at least 10, so again, with a line of 8.5 sets, we have to go in.
Over 20.5 180s in the Andy Hamilton versus Simon Whitlock: 10/11 @ Paddy Power.
Recommend: 2 units.
Over 8.5 sets in Andy Hamilton versus Simon Whitlock match: 4/7 @ Paddy Power.
Recommend: 3.5 units.
Adrian Lewis (2) versus James Wade (3).
Adrian Lewis best price: 8/11 @ Paddy Power.
James Wade best price: 5/4 @ Stan James.
Adrian Lewis' route to the semi-final:
Nigel Heydon 3-2 Ave: 96.41
Beat Robert Thornton 4-2 Ave: 96.24
Beat Wayne Jones 4-0 Ave: 95.94
Beat Terry Jenkins 5-3 Ave: 92.41
Tournament average: 95.29
Tournament 180s: 29
Highest checkout: 170
James Wade's route to the semi-final:
Beat Petri Korte 3-1 Ave: 91.69
Beat Jelle Klaasen 4-0 Ave: 95.91
Beat Steve Farmer 4-0 Ave: 91.30
Beat John Part 5-4 Ave: 94.92
Tournament average: 93.45
Tournament 180s: 17
Highest checkout: 140
Now, this is the semi-final we were expecting for this half of the draw, with the No.2 seed taking on the No.3 seed. Both men will no doubt have expected this match and they both know each other's game like the back of their hands.
Adrian Lewis has been plugging away through this tournament, after a shaky start, where he almost came unstuck against Nigel Heydon. However, he got through his tough first round match, and hasn't struggled since. His averages haven't been anywhere as close to spectacular as Adrian Lewis has been known for, but he's more than made up with that with some spectacular finishes. His 170 is almost his party piece, and he's done it already in this tournament. The thing here, however, is that he's been very consistent throughout the tournament in his performances, and he's been here and done this all before, so he's not going to be afraid of getting up on stage to play for a play in the PDC 2012 World Championship Final.
James Wade is looking for a place in the World Championship Final for the first time, and he's playing well enough to get there. Wade had found it easy through the first three matches of his campaign, but was made to work in an unbelievable quarter-final match against John Part. Wade has done it all this tournament, from 4-0 wins to getting through by the skin of his teeth. That being said, Wade's scoring hasn't been anywhere near his best, and he's got the lowest tournament average of all the men left, and has scored 12 maximums less than Adrian Lewis, which will no doubt worry him. However, he's beaten whoever has been put in front of them and beat them well, so Lewis won't scare him at all.
This is going to be a close one. The bookies have it right, putting Lewis in as favourite, in my opinion. While he's not been scoring that well, his average is still better than Wade's simply because his finishing has been magnificent. Wade is looking vulnerable with his scoring, and his doubling, but he's not been pushed by his opponents until his quarter-final, where he almost lost out to John Part. The interesting market here is the 180s market, as Wade just hasn't been firing them in until his last match, where he hit 9. So, with 8 over the 3 matches before that, it just shows that Wade just hasn't been doing the business on them. Lewis has been better, but he's still not done the business as well as he has in the past, so 19.5 might just be a bit out of the reach of these two.
There is also the matter of the highest checkout. As I mentioned, Lewis has hit his party piece already in this tournament, and he's been impressive with his combination finishes, unlike his opponent. Wade's highest checkout is 30 points less than Lewis, and I can't see Wade beating Lewis in the battle of the checkouts, as his finishing hasn't been comparable to that of Lewis. So, Lewis at just a shade of odds-on is very, very tempting.
Under 19.5 180s in the Adrian Lewis versus James Wade match: 10/11 @ Stan James.
Recommend: 1.5 units.
Adrian Lewis to score the highest checkout against James Wade: 5/6 @ Paddy Power.
Recommend: 3 units.
And that's all for the PDC 2012 World Championship semi-finals. We've got two great match-ups, and we might be guaranteed a new world champion if James Wade gets the job done. One last day of darts to come, with the PDC 2012 World Championship Final.
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.