Dolan to continue stellar form
The lowest profile of the first round matches on Sunday night is the one that’s first up between the History Maker Brendan Dolan and the little before seen Mark Jones.
Jones scraped through in 15th place of the 16 qualifiers on the Pro Tour Order of Merit and has only performed once on television, losing to Colin Osborne in the 2011 UK Open. He has beaten some good players over recent years and is there thanks to prolonged decent performance over the year but he has little chance against Dolan.
Jones has the talent to take a set or two off the Northern Irishman but I can’t see him adjusting to the big stage quick enough to make an impression on the match and Dolan could well win this one to nothing. The 9/4 on 3-0 to Dolan looks a good bet with Boyle Sports.
The preliminary round sees two talented Finns facing off and although both have enjoyed considerable success on the SDC tour this year it is the more experienced Jarkko Komula who is likely to prevail over his younger adversary Jani Haavisto. Komula has performed at the Ally Pally before and has been in the BDO event four times so, considering this is Haavisto’s world championship debut you would have to back the more experienced man at 4/6 with Ladbrokes.
Then comes two of the stars of last year’s world championship as the runner-up Andy Hamilton faces the man who sensationally ousted Raymond van Barneveld in round one James Richardson. The Hammer is unlikely to make the same mistake that Barney did and has regularly dished out some whitewashes in the first round over the last few years, although not last year in his narrow win over Antonio Alcinas.
I can’t see Ruthless Richardson causing Hamilton the problems he did to van Barneveld and it could be a fairly routine victory for the Hammer without having to kick into a higher gear. Paddy Power are the only bookie offering odds-against on under 5.5 180s and it looks a good price at 11/10.
Then comes a huge first round contest between one of the tournament favourites Raymond van Barneveld and young upstart Michael Smith who many are tipping to cause an upset. He has shown his incredible talent on the Pro Tour over the last year or so and broke his stage duck by beating Ian White at the Players Championship Finals just a couple of short weeks ago. Barney turned his form around at the Grand Slam and should win but Smith is more than capable of taking a set off the great Dutchman and the 4/5 on over 3.5 sets with Paddy Power looks nailed on although only at a short price.
Finally on Sunday evening is the 2011 runner-up Gary Anderson who should have little problem with either Finn who makes it through the preliminary. He may well have struggled badly against Jyhan Artut last year in round one but he shouldn’t have a problem this time around. There is a feeling about Anderson that he might have a decent run in this competition and we could expect a cracking contest with Barney in the third round.
Brendan Dolan to win 3-0 at 9/4 with Boylesports
Andy Hamilton v James Richardson under 5.5 180s @ 11/10 with Paddy Power
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael Smith over 3.5 sets @ 4/5 with Paddy Power
• Phil Taylor v Michael van Gerwen betting
• James Wade v Michael van Gerwen betting
• Phil Taylor v Raymond van Barneveld betting
• Favourites to keep on winning
• Two epics in prospect on Friday
• Artist to brush the champion aside
• Newton to down Special Brew
• The Bull could charge through Hamilton
• Beaton could push Wade all the way
• Favourites to prosper on Saturday night
• The Rocket could soar against the Artist
• Part and Bull to go the distance
• Comfortable afternoons for Hammer and Chizzy
• Kellett to KO Big Vince
• Priestley to roll back the years
• King and Winstanley set for five sets
• Everybody loves Raymond
• Rodriguez or Bowles to steal the show
• Part and Cullen could deliver an epic
• Hendriks to strike the right note against Jones
• Don't expect whitewashes on night one
• Big finishes & big averages to come
• Mighty Mike can rule the world
• Hammer has sights set on title
• 9/4 Taylor turns The Power back on
• World title odds slashed as Taylor bounces back