Favourites to keep on winning
What has been labelled as the easy half of the draw will not look at all straight forward on Saturday night as its two quarter-finals are played out between four of the most talented players on planet darts.
Each are members of the world’s top seven and each have been renowned for nine-darts exploits around the PDC circuit so they are all capable of performing at the very pinnacle of the sport.
First comes the only one of the four quarter-finals that does not involve a former world finalist but that should not lessen the quality as Wes Newton takes on James Wade in what could be another titanic struggle.
Neither have necessarily hit their very peaks so far this tournament but both have near perfect records with Wade only dropping two sets in his three contests and Newton going one better having only conceded one which is a brilliant effort at this level.
This could well mean that both are approaching their best games as we reach the last eight and that also means we as viewers are in for a real treat.
The pair have only met once in major competition and that was in the UK Open final in 2011 when Wade only narrowly took it, but their overall record actually leans in favour of the Warrior after numerous wins in floor tournaments.
This tournament has increasingly become one for the favourites though and the steely determination on Wade’s face so far that is not always there suggests he is very much ready for another crack at a world championship semi-final. Newton will not make it easy for him, but Wade at his best will just have too much for him and could well win by a couple, so Wade (-1.5) looks good at 13/10 with Boyle Sports. Newton won’t bottle it though, if he loses he will have to be beaten so the 5/6 on him scoring an average of over 93.5 looks to be a good one with Bet Victor as well.
The main course for the evening could be one for the ages as the defending champion Adrian Lewis faces the coming man in the game Michael van Gerwen; if Lewis can see off the Dutchman’s challenge then he will start to win over some of the doubters that still exist despite his stunning run at the Alexandra Palace.
Jackpot’s inability to back-up his double world championship win with any wins in other majors has left a vocal section of the darting world to question his greatness, but if he were to come through the field this year then there will be none who can still doubt the world number two.
He will have his work cut out if he is to overcome MVG though who hasn’t been at his absolutely dominant best at the Ally Pally but has still made it this far relatively unscathed. His averages in his last two games have been 102.13 and 98.96 and Lewis will have to significantly up his game if he is to keep up with this kind of scoring.
So much has the pendulum swung over the last few months in the darting world that MVG is odds on favourite for this one and although Lewis keeps telling everyone that he doesn’t lose on the Ally Pally stage, this inexplicable hoodoo can’t last forever and Mighty Mike might just be the one to put it to an end.
There will be a ton of 180s in this one so the 11/10 on over 18.5 maximums with Blue SQ looks a decent price but so does van Gerwen winning it with a -1.5 handicap at 11/10 with Ladrbrokes.
James Wade (-1.5) @ 13/10 with Boylesports
Michael van Gerwen (-1.5) @ 11/10 with Ladbrokes
• Phil Taylor v Michael van Gerwen betting
• James Wade v Michael van Gerwen betting
• Phil Taylor v Raymond van Barneveld betting
• 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
• Dolan to continue stellar form
• 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