Phil Taylor v Raymond van Barneveld betting
There is no argument over who is the greatest darts player of all time, Phil Taylor has had that sewn up for many a year now, but who is next in line is up for debate.
Eric Bristow would certainly expect himself to be there, John Lowe has a shout, two who exited early on this year John Part and Dennis Priestley are contenders but most would settle on the man who faces the Power on Saturday evening, Raymond van Barneveld.
Barney’s greatest achievement to date was winning the 2007 PDC world championships in the greatest game ever played as he edged out Phil Taylor 7-6, but if he were to win a sixth world title on New Year’s Day 2012 then that pinnacle will have been surpassed and the Dutchman would sit undoubtedly in the slot of second greatest player ever.
This is potentially their most anticipated contest since that famous 2007 final, yes they have met in finals since then, but this might be the most convincing form Barney has been in since his initial bombardment after joining the PDC. His slow decline over the last few years seems to have been jolted into a soaring peak thanks to his win at the Grand Slam and now he looks to be back to his near unbeatable best.
Having dropped down to 13th in the rankings, things are much more difficult for the man from Den Haag but he has made beating top players look very easy so far at the Ally Pally and anyone who has beaten Gary Anderson and Simon Whitlock just to get to the semi-finals very much deserves to be there.
Dropping two sets in his four contests so far is an incredible achievement and shows just how dominant he has been, but as ever Taylor had to go one better. The Power has conceded just one set, the first of his second round match against Jerry Hendriks and has since despatched talented and in-form duo Robert Thornton and Andy Hamilton without them getting on the score sheet.
Like Barney Taylor has not dipped below the 90 mark in terms of averages so far and like Barney he was in three figures in his quarter-final win so form-wise, these two could not be going into this one in better shape.
Taylor made some comments about the number of times he has beaten his great rival on the big stage, and of course he is right, but there seemed to be an air of nervousness about this and an attempt to delve into the murky waters of mind games a little too quickly. The Power knows he is still not at his very peak and if Barney is then he can push him all the way.
The Power’s point stands though as although Barney has picked up the odd floor win over the world number one, his last victory on stage was in the 2008 UK Open so as much as the Dutchman says he isn’t scared of the 15 time world champ, there will be a mental stumbling block to overcome.
Obviously Taylor is still favourite for this one at 8/15 whilst van Barneveld is best priced 13/8 with Boyle Sports. The question is, is this Barney resurgence for real or will he wilt again as we have seen from him in recent times? There have been signs in the past of his return to his peak only for him to meet Taylor and crumble at the first sight of a Power surge.
If you think the Dutchman is back in business then take the 6/5 on over 9.5 sets which 888sport are offering and I hope this is right because then we are in for a real classic. If you are still too used to Barney-based disappointments though, take the 6/4 that Sky Bet are offering on Taylor (-2.5) and that is what I will be doing.
Phil Taylor (-2.5) to win @ 6/4 with Sky Bet
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