Barney vulnerable to King in first round
Despite the unusual seedings in the Players Championship Finals, most of the really big names have still avoided each other. There are plenty of heavy odds-on favourites that should easily traverse their opening rounds but there are equally one or two who will struggle to live up to their favourite tags.
One such man is Raymond van Barneveld who faces a very tricky first clash against Mervyn King. The Englishman comfortably beat the Dutchman at the Grand Slam a couple of weeks ago and is playing nicely of late. Barney looked to have turned a corner in terms of form this time last year but he seems to have reverted to type and cannot be backed with confidence at this stage.
King is available at a best price of 7/4 with Bet Victor to see off Barney and that looks tremendous value given the differing fortunes of the two men of late. Unless the big Dutchman can get off to a quick start then he is in serious trouble and could be falling at the first hurdle again.
Another Premier League regular who will be cursing the draw is Simon Whitlock who takes on Justin Pipe on Friday evening in Somerset. The big Aussie has had a solid if unspectacular year whilst Pipe has had another positive year in terms of the rankings and in truth over a short format there is little between them. In the head to head between the two it is Pipe who has the better of it.
Whitlock is the clear favourite to win this one but the man who is on home turf in Somerset looks tremendous value at 13/8 with Bet Victor. His first major semi-final was here last year and his second was just last month at the Grand Prix so the stars could be aligning for the Force.
The final bit of first round value comes in the shape of the veteran Ronnie Baxter who has every chance of beating Ian White. The Rocket is something of an inconsistent performer these days but he is still much more accomplished on stage than White. The man known as Diamond continues to impress on the floor but he is yet to make much of an impact at all in any stage tournament. Baxter is available at a best price of 5/4 with Sporting Bet and that has every chance of coming off.
Mervyn King to win @ 7/4 with Bet Victor
Justin Pipe to win @ 13/8 with Bet Victor
Ronnie Baxter to win @ 5/4 with Sporting Bet