The Wizard is in magical form
With precious little time left before the World Championships the Pro Tour events this weekend in Crawley are of huge significance for those players on the cusp of qualification for the biggest event in the sport.
16 men qualify through the Pro Tour Order of Merit and with just four events left for hopefuls to accumulate the vital prize money to get them up that list, time is running out for many players.
Currently holding onto that valuable 16th place is double world champion Dennis Priestley who has managed to earn £6,400 on the tour despite competing in relatively few events. He is signed up for the double-header in Crawley though and will be desperate to pick up the necessary cash to see him through to the worlds.
It is the tightest of battles though as behind the Menace come Andy Jenkins and Alan Tabern, both of whom are within just £200 of displacing the Yorkshireman. Jenkins has been in good form as well, twice ousting Justin Pipe from recent tournaments and he could be threat in Crawley.
The field may be missing Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld as usual along with Paul Nicholson and Andy Hamilton who have both withdrawn from proceedings but there is still plenty of quality on show. Adrian Lewis, James Wade, Gary Anderson and Simon Whitlock will all be competing along with the man leading the way in the Pro Tour, Dave Chisnall. One player everyone will want to avoid, including these big names though is Michael van Gerwen who continued to impress in the final two groups of the Championship League and despite not making it through either looked unstoppable at times.
It is the form trio of van Gerwen, Chisnall and Whitlock that head the rankings for the two events on Saturday and Sunday with all three being 10/1 to claim victory in each tournament. Given the consistently good performances they have each turned in in recent months it is hard to see at least one of them not claiming another title, certainly more so than Lewis or Wade who are just behind them in the odds but rarely perform on the Pro Tour.
A more tempting bet than the world numbers two or three would be Jamie Caven who was thoroughly impressive in this recent Championship League performances, he is at 20/1 for each event and could easily go all the way on either day.
A safer punt though would be to back the Wizard though given his recent successes, 10/1 seems a good price on a man so consistently reaching finals of late.
Simon Whitlock to win Players Championship 17 or 18 @ 10/1 with Sportingbet
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