Lewis and MVG set for another classic
What is developing into one of the greatest rivalries in darts resumes on Thursday evening at the Grand Slam as the second and third highest ranked players on the planet square-off in Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis with the former the odds-on favourite to progress.
These two have dished up some classic encounters in recent months, most notably at the World Championships and Matchplay and just like those two contests, the victories have largely been shared between the pair. Lewis has got the better of MVG on four times this year which is why his best price of 11/8 with Sky Bet immediately looks a pretty good one.
What has certainly become apparent over the last 12 months is that these two are very evenly matched up on the big stage and whilst most bookmakers have recognised this, one is being more generous. Over 16.5 legs is strongly odds-on across the board except with Sky Bet who are offering EVENS and we should be biting their hands off for that one.
The favourite for the tournament remains Phil Taylor who is now just 8/11 with Bet Victor to win his fifth Grand Slam title. The Power takes on Gary Anderson who looks to be playing brilliantly but the bookies still give no chance of a victory with Bet365 rating him at 6/1.
The Scot has already fired in averages of 107 and 111 this tournament, the latter coming in his must-win clash with Peter Wright on Tuesday which was one of his most impressive performances for some time. His finishing looks to be matching his sublime scoring which makes him one of the most dangerous players in the game.
He is running into an on-song Taylor though, who has dropped just one leg in three games and has not fallen below an average of 104 which really is mind-boggling. If Ando can keep his form up then this should be a classic and he could just achieve the seemingly impossible and oust The Power. I fancy him to play well and push him hard, which means plenty of 180s being hit. Over 7.5 in the game is odds-on in most places but EVENS with Bet365. In a contest that will likely go to 15 legs, this looks very achievable between the two.
The whole of Belgium (or probably just a couple of pubs) will come to a standstill tonight as the Huybrechts brothers Kim and Ronny clash for a place in the last 16. The younger sibling Kim is the hot favourite but Ronny has been playing superbly, winning all three group games, including a stunning win against Adrian Lewis.
The one time these two have met on the Pro Tour in the past, Ronny battered Kim 6-1 so he will not be worried about taking on his much higher ranked brother. If Kim really finds his best then he could run away with it but this has all the makings of a very tight affair and over 16.5 legs looks great value at 11/10 with Paddy Power when it is odds-on elsewhere.
Finally, James Wade and Paul Nicholson are set to do battle and Wade is rightly the hot favourite at 1/3 with Betfred given his impressive group stage form which saw him win all three of his matches. He also has a very good record against the Asset, only ever losing once, and that coming in the unpredictable Championship League.
The Machine should win this one but where Nicholson can triumph is in the 180s market. He has hit five so far in Wolverhampton whereas Wade has mustered up just one. Nicholson is 11/8 with Bet Victor to out-do the Machine in terms of maximums and is well worth backing.
Adrian Lewis v Michael van Gerwen over 16.5 legs @ EVENS with Sky Bet
Phil Taylor v Gary Anderson over 7.5 180s @ EVENS with Bet365
Ronny Huybrechts v Kim Huybrechts over 16.5 legs @ 11/10 with Paddy Power
Paul Nicholson most 180s v James Wade @ 11/8 with Bet Victor
• Taylor powers to fifth Grand Slam title
• Lewis can cut The Power
• Friday quarter-finals to be lengthy battles
• Silverback and King can beat the odds
• Hurricane can blow away MVG
• Hankey can count out Smith
• Pipe the man to drain Thornton
• Wright, Huybrechts and Harms can upset the odds
• Lewis can end Taylor run at Grand Slam