Jenkins out to Upset the odds against Barney
With the standard of darts in the PDC constantly on the up there is rarely a low quality first round contest anymore; but with just the top eight players seeded at the European Championships, we are guaranteed the highest calibre of action.
The draw did not disappoint either with the pick of the ties pitting Terry Jenkins against Raymond van Barneveld on Friday evening. After the Bull’s charge to the semi-finals of the Matchplay in Blackpool it is he who is the seeded player and Barney will be anything but happy with his luck of the first round draw.
It was on Terry’s run to the last four by the seaside that these two last met and Jenkins won a cracking match 13-10 so his odds of around 7/5 actually look pretty generous. Barneveld is the favourite but it really is a toss of a coin who wins this one so the odds against Bull looks a lot more tempting than the 4/7 Dutchman.
Another opening contest of serious quality sees the in-form Simon Whitlock taking on another member of the top 16 Mark Walsh. These two seasoned campaigners have faced each other a number of times on the floor but never on the stage so it is new ground for both of them.
The Aussie would have been the favourite regardless but following his thoroughly impressive performances in Barnsley at the weekend, including winning Sunday’s Players Championship event, his odds will be very slim indeed. To get a little more value out of what should be a win for the Wizard, try a -1.5 handicap at 4/6 with Boyle Sports or if you’re feeling especially confident, -2.5 at 11/10 with bet365.
The tasty encounters keep on coming in Mulheim and another that is fit for the latter stages sees Andy Hamilton face off against Paul Nicholson for a place in round two. The Hammer looked in tremendous form in South Yorkshire last weekend reaching a semi and a final to pocket £5,000 for his two days’ work and as a result will be strong favourite against the Asset.
Nicholson has been struggling with a shoulder injury for some time now that has affected his form quite badly, but he has shown signs that he is over the worst of it. If he can return to his standard of mid-way through last year then this should be a belter and if he does then the evens offered by sky BET on over 9.5 legs is a very good price.
The world champion is of course also in action in Germany and he will face a stern test in the shape of Ian White who is enjoying the year of his life on the tour. He qualified as the highest ranked man of the Players Champs qualifiers and that was even before he reached another final last weekend. Lewis has an excellent record in the competition and should still see off the Diamond, but it won’t be straight forward, White with a +2.5 handicap at 8/11 with Boyle Sports looks good.
Other stand out contests from the opening two nights are the headline act on day one: Kevin Painter v Mervyn King. This should be a really tight one and the bookies see King as the favourite but the 13/10 available on the Artist is not a bad price at all. Also, in the European spirit of the competition, Kim Huybrechts takes on Vincent van der Voort in what could be another thriller. Huybrechts continues to impress and unless VdV is on top form then the Hurricane will blow him away, the Belgian on a -1.5 handicap at 4/5 looks good.
Terry Jenkins to win @ 7/5 with bwin