Taylor still the man to overpower
There will be 32 men hoping that some of that famous Irish luck rubs off on them this week as they make their way to Dublin for one of the biggest events in the darting calendar, the World Grand Prix.
For any unfortunate types who haven’t had the pleasure of watching it before, the Grand Prix is a tournament like no other, as a simple change in the rules makes it one of the tensest and most exciting competitions on the planet.
The tiny strip of green or red that the players must end a leg on in the normal rules must also be hit to start the leg in this one-off event which means, take too long on your double when you first step to the oche and you are left dead in the water. So dead in fact that players have lost legs 501-0 in the past, which, of course, would never happen elsewhere. Unsurprisingly a certain Phil Taylor has been the one to do this in the past, but Terry Jenkins also managed it against Wayne Mardle in 2009.
The standard of the players nowadays means that you won’t see too many struggling to check-in in more than six darts, but often any more than three can leave a player at a severe disadvantage. This was brilliantly demonstrated when Brendan Dolan became the first man to hit a 9-darter in the format on his way to the final last year.
The qualification is also slightly different to any other event as the world’s top 16 players are joined by just 14 non-qualified from the Pro Tour Order of Merit, and then the final two places are reserved for the two highest ranked, non-qualified Irishmen, to give the crowd a little something extra to cheer, not that they need it.
The 2011 edition was a stunning tournament, but a nightmare for betting as two rank outsiders in Dolan and Richie Burnett stormed through to the final and semi-final respectively. Dolan only reached the competition as one of the Irish qualifiers, and Burnett only sneaked in via the Pro Tour by winning an event the week before, so it is clearly not a place to write anybody off.
What has been a staple of the 14 editions so far, as with many tournaments, is the dominance of a Mr Taylor who has won 10 of them and has seen his prize money for doing so rise from £9,000 back in 1998 to £100,000 for his victory last year.
The only men to break the Power’s stranglehold have been Alan Warriner-Little, Colin Lloyd and most recently James Wade who has won two of the last five tournaments and has lived up to his nickname The Machine on those crucial starting doubles.
As ever though it is still the world number one who is favourite going into the competition, but his odds are stretching all the time. Whilst you were lucky to get evens on the Power lifting a trophy pre-tournament a couple of years ago, he heads to Dublin at 9/4 to win another £100,000. There have been a lot of tips for other players floating about, and many are capable of winning, but you have to think to yourself, in a one-on-one contest, would you ever bet against Taylor? It seems unlikely, and as long as he doesn’t fall at the first hurdle as he famously did in 2007 losing to Adrian Gray, then he should go all the way.
His main threats are the usual suspects, but one man who has jumped further up the queue than usual is Simon Whitlock who is up to third favourite and as low as 10/1 in places. A Pro Tour win followed up with the European Championships victory has left the Wizard brimming with confidence and when he is on-song he never looks like missing that crucial double 16. As much as the Euro Champs means a lot though, it would be a big step up for Whitlock to go and win in Dublin and the 14/1 available on him with bwin looks more like it.
Adrian Lewis is in front of the Aussie in the prices at best price 9/1 and although he’s not shown much form in majors since the World Championships he can never be written off and has shown he can prosper in this format when he beat Taylor on route to the final in 2010. He is in a similar boat to Wade though, whilst it would be no surprise if he did win it, you wouldn’t feel overly confident in backing him.
The others with the shortest prices, Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld have not instilled too much confidence of late and few will be rushing to back them at around 16/1. It would be much more tempting to have a few quid on Wes Newton who is as far out as 25/1. There is little doubt that the Warrior will be a multiple major winner by the end of his career and whenever he breaks his duck there will be plenty of profit to be made. The same could be said about Kim Huybrechts who is out at 40/1 in places, but this may still be too early for him.
The strength of the field is made clear by two-time finalist Terry Jenkins being way down at 40/1 but despite this, anything better than 2/1 on the Power is still an offer too good to turn down and I expect many will snap it up.
Phil Taylor to win @ 9/4 with bwin
Written By:- Phil Haigh (About our
Posted on:- 05/10/2012 - 15:35 PM
Filed in:- World Grand Prix Darts Betting News, Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson, Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld , Simon Whitlock
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