Power to remove Thorn from side
After a shock-riddled first round of the Grand Prix, the last 16 kicks off on Wednesday evening with the remaining tournament favourites hoping not to fall foul of another underdog.
Phil Taylor was a strong favourite before the competition started and his odds have constricted even further after his immense victory over Michael Smith on Monday night. Smith played well enough to beat near enough anyone on the bill, but there isn’t much you can do when the Power is in full flow. An average of over 100 is a rarity in the double-in format but Taylor took no time in registering his first, largely thanks to his 75% checkout success rate.
The Power faces one of the form men left in Dublin Rob Thornton after he followed up his cracking Players Championships form with a gutsy come-from-behind win over Mark Walsh. It was a really high quality performance after a ropey start and the Thorn would be favourite against the majority, but facing Taylor he is all the way out at 4/1. Given that Thornton turned off the Power in the UK Open final these odds look good but lightning doesn’t strike twice too often and the prices reflect that. Even with a -1.5 handicap in a best of five set game the best odds available are 2/5 so all in all this might be a match to avoid unless you have serious money to go heavy on a big Taylor win.
Two men that impressed in round one were Justin Pipe and Kevin Painter who both upset the odds to beat Simon Whitlock and Kim Huybrechts respectively. The Artist was good against the Belgium without having to be at his very best, but you feel he will have to step it up against the Force. The two have met twice before and Pipe has won each contest which is part of the reason why he has been made odds-on favourite across the board. Painter’s attitude can often be his problem and whether he has the temperament to deal with the slow throw of Pipe could be brought into question. It might be worth backing Pipe for a heavy win at 13/10 with a -1.5 handicap.
The same price on the same result can be had but in favour of Dave Chisnall over Mervyn King and that could well be another good pick. Both only just struggled through very tight matches in round one against Dean Winstanley and Terry Jenkins respectively but despite King surprising many to knock out Jenkins, a confident Chisnall might be a different prospect. A world championship rematch of Taylor against Chisnall could well be on the cards for the last eight.
First up on Wednesday evening is the man who is making the Citywest his own Brendan Dolan who faces Vincent van der Voort. The Dutch Destroyer was pretty fortunate to scrape past Willie O’Connor first up and he will not be let off so easily against the more experienced Irishman Dolan. Surprisingly last year’s finalist is priced at, although odds-on, a reasonably generous 11/13 with bwin. Despite this being the contest with the tightest odds of the evening, Dolan looks set for a win here.
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• Expect an epic semi-final
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• Van Gerwen to hit the Jackpot
• Lewis to start with a bang
• Unstoppable force meets immovable Wizard
• What a difference a weekend makes
• Taylor still the man to overpower