Bunting must be ready for in-form Wilson
Sunday afternoon has quality throughout as the number one seed, a three-time champion and the reigning WDF Europe Cup champion are all on show in what should be a cracking session of darts at Lakeside.
First up is the reigning Masters champion and the first seed for the competition Stephen Bunting who many are backing to claim a maiden world title this year despite only having one quarter-final appearance to his name in the past. This hearty backing has come thanks to his immense form throughout the year which has seen him win numerous open titles, the BDO Gold Cup and both the Zuiderduin and World Masters.
The Bullet had shown a lot of promise before but something clicked in 2012 and he was the model of consistency all year which has seen him go from not qualifying for last year’s event to being the top seed this time around.
He has a tough opponent first up in the form of James Wilson though who has also had the best year of his darting life in 2012. Having never won an event prior to last year he now has four titles to his name including the England GP of Darts Finals and the Jersey classic along with various quarter and semi-final appearances over the year. Like Bunting, something clicked, the confidence flowed and he became a new player in 2012.
This is Wilson’s first appearance at the world championships though and that could make a big difference to his performance. He should take a set off Bunting, but that might be all he can manage in round one. The Bullet with a -1.5 handicap is 10/11 with bet365 which allows him to win 3-1 or 3-0 and this looks about right, although it should be a high quality game from the two in form men.
Next on is one of the few occasions when the seeded player is the underdog as 13th seed Steve Douglas meets Gary Stone. Stone achieved what was without a doubt the highlight of his darts career in November when he won the prestigious Europe Cup adding his name to an incredible list of champions. It came somewhat out of nowhere and was the first big win of his career, but thanks to it he will be full of confidence heading into round one at Lakeside.
Steve Douglas is a steady player but unlikely to pull anything magical out of the hat so if Stone can keep up his good form then he should win this one convincingly. He is 6/4 on the -1.5 handicap with Paddy Power and this looks a good price.
The place will get very noisy ahead of the third contest of the night as Martin “Wolfie” Adams takes to the stage in an attempt to reclaim the title he lost last year. He has an intriguing clash first up though against young Jimmy Hendriks who has shown a lot of promise but is yet to really step it up on the senior stage.
To be honest there is not a lot of value to be had in this one so it may be worth taking a punt on the correct score which looks most likely to be 3-1 to Adams. This is available at 5/2 across the board and might be worth a dabble as the youngster will be fearless and capable of claiming a set, but Adams’ quality and experience will shine through to win it.
The final contest on Sunday afternoon is pretty much a pick ‘em match between two men with pretty shocking records at Lakeside Scott Mitchell and Mark Barilli. Both have performed at the world championships three times and each have lost in the first round every time.
Mitchell is the favourite having had a marginally better 2012 but there really is nothing in it and Barilli could represent value at 6/5 with Stan James. In such a close contest though the over 4.5 sets at 7/4 with Sky Bet looks as good a price as any.
Stephen Bunting (-1.5) to win @ 10/11 with Bet365
Gary Stone (-1.5) to win @ 6/4 with Paddy Power
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