Harms good value on current form
Just as the winners from night one met each other and as did the losers on Sunday evening, the same happens on Monday night for Groups E-H meaning that one man will be on his way home and one will be booking a longer stay in the hotel on Tuesday morning.
Two men that will need to dramatically improve their performances if they are to avoid an early exit from Wolverhampton are Mark Walsh and Wayne Jones who were both resoundingly beaten on Sunday afternoon. Jones’ 83.50 and Walsh’s 85.00 averages are unlikely to beat anyone at this level as proved to be the case as they lost to Christian Kist and Raymond van Barneveld respectively.
It’s a tough one to call between two steady pros and both will want to make amends for some fairly shoddy opening performances. Like Dolan in Dublin and Baxter in Blackpool though, Wayne in Wolves is usually worth baking as he steps up his game in front of his home crowd. He’s second favourite at 5/4 and that could be worth a pop as Special Brew loses out.
The Dutch pair that saw off Walsh and Jones so convincingly meet and with both van Barneveld and Kist allaying doubts about how they may perform on the Grand Slam stage this year it could be a real cracker. The finishing of both men was the really impressive facet of their games and whichever one keeps that up should be the winner on Monday. Barney only hit one maximum against Walsh but this match should be longer and of higher quality so the 11/10 on over 3.5 180s from Boyle Sports looks good, especially as it is odds-on in other places.
In Group G the vastly experienced duo of Terry Jenkins and Martin Phillips are the pointless pair after Sunday’s games although both were unlucky enough to meet men in very good nick. Jenkins averaged over 97 but was still hammered by a rampant Wesley Harms, if the Bull continues to perform like that though he should be fine against Phillips. The Welshman is a good solid player but will have to be at the very top of his game to beat Jenkins and that’s got to be seen as unlikely. Jenks to win by a couple of legs looks about right at 9/10 with Boyle Sports.
Harms will be looking to continue his ton-plus average form as he meets Wes Newton in what should be a high quality affair. Newton is the more experienced and more highly rated player and as a result is the favourite but can you bet against a man who averaged 101.79 and checked out at 63% against a player like Terry Jenkins? The Warrior might prove to be a step too far for Harms, but on his form from the first game his 6/4 looks too good to turn down.
Without being unkind to Barrie Bates he was unlikely to win a match before the tournament started and his performance against Andy Hamilton did little to convince otherwise. His Monday night opponent Paul Nicholson may not have been brilliant as he lost to Brendan Dolan but he will have easily enough to knock off Bates. He is 8/13 to win with a -2.5 handicap which shows what the bookies think and given those prices this one might not be worthwhile except sticking in an accumulator.
Dolan taking on Hamilton is an intriguing contest after the Irishman’s impressive win against Nicholson on Sunday afternoon has given him every chance of making it out of Group F. The Hammer is still favourite to make it two from two at 4/7 and has much the better record between the two, particularly on the big stage, but their stats from match one are pretty much identical and it should be very tight. It could easily go either way and the 4/5 on over 7.5 frames looks about the safest bet available.
Arguably the highest standard group is Group E as demonstrated by two world champions having lost their first matches. Adie Lewis and John Part both lost out in deciding frames and could so easily be on two points rather than none right now, but that can happen in matches over such a short format. Lewis should really be winning matches like this but he really struggles in this tournament for some reason and it may be worth betting on another untimely demise for the Jackpot, especially with Part out at 2/1.
Their two conquerors Gary Anderson and Tony O’Shea both played well and showed guts to get through the deciding legs and will be desperate to secure qualification as early as possible. These two produced eight 180s between them in their opening matches and it is 5/4 for them to just make it to five in this one and looks a good possibility.
Wayne Jones to win @ 5/4 with Sky Bet
Wesley Harms to win @ 6/4 with Boylesports
• Dutchmen dominate Grand Slam
• Barney the next to fall to Mighty Mike
• Dutch to make short work of Englishmen
• Kist to topple Barney again
• Anderson to face Hammer blow
• Van Gerwen could seize Power
• Nicholson and Dolan to take qualification to the wire
• Expect big scores as the Count meets Mighty Mike
• Must win matches for Saturday's losers
• A little bit of history repeating
• Artist and Webby offer Grand Slam value
• Plenty of value on offer at the Grand Slam