World Matchplay 2012 Day Eight Premium Picks
When it comes to openings, I can't beat Danny Boyle, so I'll just say we went 2-2 against last night, with a small profit, which takes us to 18-10 with a profit of 22.92 units.
It was a great day for sports fans, with darts in the afternoon, Ronnie Baxter getting a win before Terry Jenkins did us a great turn at a lovely price. Then we had Phil Taylor showing why he shouldn't change his darts in what was a high quality encounter against Andy Hamilton. Of course, Hamilton did the business on the maximums, as we hoped. Then Danny Boyle decided to rain on James Wade's parade, but the Altrincham thrower did put in a huge average to knock out the in-form Michael van Gerwen. If you were mesmerised by "the Queen" leaping out of a helicopter instead of Wade's 102.54 average, that's fair enough (I'll admit I did watch it later on).
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Terry Jenkins versus James Wade:
This was a semi-final I didn't expect, if I'm being honest. Neither man had shown an indication that they would be playing to the level that have been playing at this week. But both men definitely deserve their places here, especially Terry Jenkins, who has taken out Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld on the way here. James Wade had a slightly easier route, but his performance against Michael van Gerwen last night was proof that he deserves his place.
The worry here is Jenkins' scoring hasn't been as solid as Wade's. His tournament average is around 4 points back, which is a lot at this level. What is interesting, though, is the fact Jenkins has won the last two meetings between the two, both in ProTour events.
Wade has surprised me, as I thought he was going through one of his "average" patches again, especially after his performance in the Premier League. However, he's sitting with the second highest tournament average (99.89) and has a highest checkout of 158. So he's certainly playing quality darts.
The thing here for me is the head-to-head - Wade leads 20-10, and he's only ever lost once in a major to Jenkins, which was all the way back in 2007. He's also playing to as high a standard as Phil Taylor, and if Taylor was playing Jenkins tonight, we'd be looking at a comfortable win for The Power. So why not Wade?
The handicap line is -3.5 and I love the look of it.
James Wade -3.5 legs to beat Terry Jenkins: Evens @ 888sport.
Recommend: 3 units.
Phil Taylor versus Ronnie Baxter:
If Terry Jenkins facing James Wade in the first semi-final was unexpected, Ronnie Baxter reaching the semi-finals is an even greater shock. But he's here on merit, he had great wins over Dave Chisnall, Dean Winstanley and Justin Pipe - two of those men are the in-form players on the PDC ProTour, so it's not a small accomplishment. Phil Taylor, well, I don't need to say anything about him reaching the final of yet another World Matchplay.
This, for me, comes down to how far Taylor wins by, and if history is anything to go by, he should limit Baxter to single figures. Their meeting at the UK Open was 9-4 to Taylor, so in a race to 17, Baxter would be looking at 7-8. I think the handicap line is quite generous, so for our only bet of the match, we have to go there.
Phil Taylor -6.5 legs to beat Ronnie Baxter: 4/5 @ 888sport.
Recommend: 2.5 units.
So tear yourself away from the BBC tonight, get Sky Sports on and get watching the darts, even if the gymnastics is on!
Enjoy it, and happy betting.