Silverback and King can beat the odds
The last 16 of the Grand Slam of Darts kicks off on Wednesday evening with a slug-fest between two of the steadiest players on the planet as the PDC’s Andy Hamilton does battle with the BDO stalwart Tony O’Shea, and the latter has every chance of causing an upset.
The Silverback was thoroughly impressive throughout the initial stage as he topped a group featuring Mervyn King and Raymond van Barneveld and he will not be showing any nerves whatsoever on the big stage after his years of experience performing on television. O’Shea is 13/8 with Paddy Power which looks a very good price on a man who looks in very good form.
The reason he is second favourite is because the Hammer has made the quarter-finals of major tournaments his home in the last couple of years and he is now expected to reach that stage. However, despite winning two games in his group he hasn’t looked anywhere near his best and looks a very slim best price of 4/7 with Sky Bet. O’Shea has reached the quarter-final here before and he can certainly do so again; he looks a very good offer at 13/8.
Following these two is another pair of stalwarts on the pro scene with Robert Thornton meeting Mervyn King and again there is every chance of an upset with King going in as second favourite. Merv may have lost his first contest in Wolverhampton but looked superb in his last two as he hit a 101 average against Ricky Evans and then sailed through a must-win clash with Barney on Monday. He is a best price of 11/8 with Stan James and that is starting to look like a tempting price.
Thornton has played well so far but was not really pushed in his two winning efforts and then flaked a bit in defeat to Hamilton on Monday. Last time he met King he lost and the last time they met on the big stage, in the 2012 Grand Prix he took a 3-0 (in sets) battering. If Thornton turns it on then he has every chance but King is worth backing at 11/8.
The highlight for many will be the battle between Ted Hankey and Simon Whitlock but unless Hankey can really find his best form then it could all be a bit one-sided. The Count has not been bad so far and his win over Dave Chisnall was particularly impressive but he does not really look in the same league as the heavy-hitting Whitlock.
One thing that both these players are famed for though is their big finishes which makes the high checkout market a tempting one. Over 125.5 for either man is available at 9/10 with Boyle Sports and over a match that will probably go to around 15 legs that looks a decent price.
The final clash on Wednesday could be a real belter as current BDO world champ Scott Waites faces former winner Mark Webster. Waites is the favourite but Webster is returning to form in style and this one could be very close if he can keep it up. It is too early to back Spider for an upset but he can certainly push Scotty 2 Hotty and over 16.5 legs looks a great price at 11/10 with Sky Bet whilst it is odds-on elsewhere.
Tony O’Shea to win @ 13/8 with Paddy Power
Mervyn King to win @ 11/8 with Stan James
Ted Hankey v Simon Whitlock highest checkout over 125.5 @ 9/10 with Boyle Sports
Scott Waites v Mark Webster over 16.5 legs @ 11/10 with Sky Bet
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• Hankey can count out Smith
• Pipe the man to drain Thornton
• Wright, Huybrechts and Harms can upset the odds
• Lewis can end Taylor run at Grand Slam