Must win matches for Saturday's losers
Groups A-D continue on Sunday evening, and with just one more match to play in the group stage after the weekend, they are must win games for those who lost their opening bouts.
Interestingly, in all four groups, the two men who won are facing each other and the two men who lost are meeting, so we will be left with the situation come Monday morning that in each group there will be one man qualified, one man out and the other two left to battle it out for a place in the knockout round come Tuesday evening.
In Group A, the two men with two points to their names are Phil Taylor and Mark Webster who saw off Co Stompe and Scott Waites respectively on Saturday evening. The Welshman has enjoyed success against the Power in the past, most notably in a World Championship semi-final, but he is unlikely to do so here. It shouldn’t matter for Spider though as following his big win over Waites, it is likely he just needs a victory over Stompe to make it through the group. Taylor is rightfully favourite for the group and tournament, but at odds of around 1/7 it isn’t a great bet for him to see off Webster. Even a -2.5 handicap is only 8/13 so this one might be best avoided.
The two defeated men face each other in Stompe and Waites with the latter a strong favourite for victory. Neither have been in great form of late but especially not the Dutchman, whose qualification for this event is one of the more distant and tenuous along with the likes of Barrie Bates. The BDO man should win this one really and a -1.5 handicap looks about right at 4/5 with William Hill.
The big match in Group B sees Robert Thornton take on Grand Prix champ and now second favourite for this trophy, Michael van Gerwen. Both were hugely impressive on Saturday night as Thornton whitewashed Ted Hankey and van Gerwen demolished Steve Beaton 5-2. They have met recently having played each other three times last month, the Dutchman winning two of them but two of the three contests went to a deciding leg showing what good form both of them are in. It is very difficult to bet against van Gerwen at the moment, but it should be a tight one and over 7.5 legs looks very likely at 4/6 with sky BET.
The must win match of the group sees Ted Hankey take on Steve Beaton and given Hankey’s recent performances, you can’t see him winning any games in Wolverhampton. He was the only man to be whitewashed on the opening evening, not managing a single 180 and missing all seven attempts at a double he had. Beaton was up against a much sterner test in van Gerwen but still managed two legs and unless the Count seriously picks up his game then the Adonis will be in for a comfortable night. Whatever happens it will be a good game to watch as two of the most natural throws in the game are on display and Hankey does have some history of turning situations like this around. He lost his first match of last year’s Grand Slam 5-0 then beat his next two opponents to qualify from the group. So although he might not win, he will improve and backing him with a +1.5 handicap at 10/11 looks good.
Group C produced the tightest match of the opening night as Kevin Painter edged out Dean Winstanley 5-4 but given that Deano lost, even if it was so narrowly, it means he must beat James Hubbard on Sunday to stay in contention. The youngster played well against Simon Whitlock but the Wizard was just too strong for him; nevertheless if he performs like that again then Winstanley will be in for a tough night. If the Hotshot can keep at the level of last night then his odds of 6/4 look pretty good; this one could go either way, but Hubbard is worth backing at that price.
The two victors from Saturday night, Whitlock and Painter meet and it is hard not to see another win for the Wizard. He has been in sparkling form in recent months and looked very good again against Hubbard a he averaged over 96. Painter’s confidence will be up after beating Winstanley, but his stats were nothing to write home about and he could struggle if Whitlock continues to score heavily as he did in the previous match. The Wizard should win this one by a couple and is at 9/10 to win with a -1.5 handicap.
Finally Group D, probably the most unusual group of the tournament continues on Sunday evening with anything possible from the four men involved. Jan Dekker and James Wade were both on the wrong end of 5-1 results from Mervyn King and Arron Monk respectively, and unless both dramatically improve then their contest could be a bit embarrassing. Dekker looks well out of his depth at this level as his average of 73.45 suggests and even a struggling Wade will beat a player like him on the big stage. The Machine maybe should have taken this tournament off as well as the others he has missed recently, but even his C-game should be enough to beat Double Dekker. Wade to win at -2.5 is 5/4 and looks pretty good.
The bigger match of the group sees King take on Monk and both men will be full of beans after big wins on Saturday, especially Monk as he recorded arguably the most notable win of his young career so far. This one could easily go the distance and with both men in good form, expect a high quality affair with some big scoring. Over 3.5 180s in a match that could easily be eight or nine legs looks a good price at 11/10.
James Hubbard to win @ 6/4 with Sportingbet
James Wade (-2.5) to win @ 5/4 with Sky Bet
Mervyn King v Arron Monk – Over 3.5 180s @ 11/10 with Sky Bet
• 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
• Harms good value on current form
• A little bit of history repeating
• Artist and Webby offer Grand Slam value
• Plenty of value on offer at the Grand Slam