Plenty of value on offer at the Grand Slam
One of the most exciting events of the darts season returns this weekend as the might of the PDC take on the traditionalists of the BDO for a week in Wolverhampton at the Grand Slam of Darts.
It is always an incredible atmosphere as the PDC fans are treated to a few faces they are not used to seeing on the oche and these men making a rare appearance in front of the Sky Sports cameras are desperate to put on a show.
The BDO boys are often not given much of a chance with the bookies given that they are coming over to foreign soil, but after Scott Waites’ victory in the tournament in 2010, they can never be ruled out as potential winners.
The 32 players in the competition are split into eight groups of four from which the top two qualify for a round of 16 and it is a straight knockout tournament from there on in. Everyone competing was put into a pool from one to four before the draw was made so the big boys have largely been kept apart in the group stage.
Phil Taylor, as always, is favourite for the competition and has been drawn alongside former champion Waites along with Mark Webster and Co Stompe. The Power has won the tournament on four of the five occasions it has been held and is best price 7/4 to make it five out of six, which given his performance in the Championship League looks a decent price. After Taylor though this group is tough to call, none of the other three men have shown much form at all of late, Waites is favourite to join Taylor in the knockout stages, but Webster might be worth a bet at 6/4 to qualify.
One of the men of the moment in the darting world is Michael van Gerwen who is in with the experienced trio of Ted Hankey, Steve Beaton and Rob Thornton. Mighty Mike is deep into a purple patch that has seen him rack up more trophies than most of us could fit in our houses in recent months. His price of 5/4 to win the group looks a good one and may even be worth a punt at 14/1 for the tournament. Hankey was a quarter-finalist here last year but his form has been woeful since switching to the PDC, of the others it seems Thornton is most likely to join van Gerwen in the last 16 due to his impressive recent form on the stage and the floor and is 4/6 to qualify.
Simon Whitlock is another man in the form of his life at the moment and with some bookies is only behind Taylor in the odds for the title. He has a competitive group alongside Kevin Painter, Dean Winstanley and Youth World Champion James Hubbard. Again the odds on group winner look good with the Wizard at 11/8 and then it could be a toss up between Painter and Winstanley for who joins him in the knockout round, Deano being the slight favourite.
In Group D anything at all could happen as James Wade returns to the oche alongside Mervyn King, Jan Dekker and Arron Monk. Wade has been struggling after he had something of a meltdown onstage against Colin Osborne at the Grand Prix and hasn’t been seen in competition since that night in Dublin so it is difficult to know what to expect from the Machine. King has been in good form as his run to the final of the same tournament proved and his odds of 9/4 to top the group look tasty. Given the unpredictable nature of this one and his fine form on the youth tour, 7/4 on Arron Monk to qualify could be a good bet.
Arguably the most exciting group could be the one including the world champion Adrian Lewis who is joined by Gary Anderson, Tony O’Shea and John Part. Four competitors of the highest quality who can beat anyone if they are on their A-game it looks a bit of a minefield to bet on. Lewis and Anderson are strong favourites to qualify but there won’t be too many rushing to back them at odds-on given their recent performances.
Group F is a two from three affair as Andy Hamilton, Paul Nicholson and Brendan Dolan are likely to fight it out for the top two spots. Barrie Bates is the fourth man in the equation but his form has been so poor over the past couple of years he can barely be considered a contender. Dolan is the outsider of the three but could easily cause an upset and 11/10 on him to qualify is a good price.
For the BDO fans, the best chance of seeing one of their players qualify comes in Group G but even then it will be a tough task. The odds are improved by having two BDO men in the same group in Martin Phillips and Wesley Harms, but they are up against Wes Newton and Terry Jenkins, a force to be reckoned with. It’s hard not to see the Warrior and the Bull emerging from this group although if either men could break the PDC stranglehold it could be Harms who has reached the semis of both the Worlds and the Masters this year. He is 11/10 to qualify which could happen but they would probably need to be longer odds to be tempted in.
The final group sees the BDO world champion take to a PDC stage for the first time as Christian Kist makes his Grand Slam debut. Many will have seen little or nothing of the Dutchman since he sensationally won at Lakeside on his debut there at the start of the year. He is alongside the unpredictable Raymond van Barneveld and the two seasoned campaigners Mark Walsh and Wayne Jones. This is another group that could really go any which way as the “favourite” Barney is so hard to gauge nowadays. Undoubtedly he is still an excellent player but it would be a surprise to few if he were to go out in the group stage as he did last year when he lost all three of his matches. Kist also is hard to predict given that he hasn’t really followed up his world championship triumph with much success especially with a limp performance at the Masters. The best bet seems to be Mark Walsh to qualify from the group at evens as amongst the chaos he is a steady and reliable player who went all the way to the last four last year.
Simon Whitlock to win Group C @ 11/8 with Ladbrokes
Arron Monk to qualify from Group D @ 7/4 with William Hill
Mark Walsh to qualify from Group H @ evens with Sky Bet
Written By:- Phil Haigh (About our
Posted on:- 08/11/2012 - 14:23 PM
Filed in:- Grand Slam of Darts Betting News, Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson, Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld , Simon Whitlock
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