MVG can clean up again in Wigan
It may be a short trip over the Pennines in reality but the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan could not be further away from the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield in the world of darts. From the 6,000-plus crowds of the Premier League on Thursday night the players return to the hard yards of the tour this weekend in front of no one in a pair of UK Open Qualifiers.
The glitz and glamour may not be there but if anything these events that see the winner trouser £6,000 are more important than the dramatised shenanigans of the Premier League. There are places in the Order of Merit at stake, and crucially, places at the UK Open.
These are the fifth and sixth UK Open qualifiers of the season so far and the pattern that has developed to date is that Michael van Gerwen pretty much cleans up in them. He has won three of the four events with the only man to beat him thus far being Robert Thornton who saw him off in e semi-finals of the last tournament.
With this record, which has gone a long way to taking him up to second in the world, it is no surprise that he is the favourite to prosper again in Wigan. Sporting Bet are offering 10/3 on Mighty Mike prospering in the first event on Saturday and even with so many players competing and there being quality throughout the field, this has to be a good price given what he has done so far this year.
The fly in the ointment though is that Phil Taylor is competing. The Power doesn’t usually stoop to the level of competing at the floor events but if he wants to be at the UK Open then he has to come to some and it is this weekend he has chosen to make his appearance. The pattern used to be that if Taylor could be bothered to turn up he would win these competitions but not anymore with MVG now being the real force to be feared. Taylor is behind the Dutchman in the odds at 7/2 and given his form in the Premier League there won’t be too many people rushing to back him at that.
All the other big names are involved except Raymond van Barneveld who is even more apathetic to these events than Taylor so it really is as good a field as you will find anywhere. There is nearly always a surprise package who makes a run to the latter stages, Jamie Caven being that man last time around but that really is a lottery if you are after picking an each-way punt. If I were to pick a name out of the hat though it would be John Part at 33/1 each-way as he has been playing exceptionally on the Tour this year.
However, the only really sensible bet of the weekend can be backing the favourite MVG who at 10/3 looks great value.
Michael van Gerwen to win UK Open Qualifier 5 @ 10/3 with Sporting Bet