Van Gerwen v Lloyd: MVG a maximum machine
The Matchplay really starts to heat up on Sunday evening when the tournament favourites get involved and there is always excitement nowadays when Michael van Gerwen takes to the stage.
The Dutchman faces Colin Lloyd in the first round in Blackpool and he is an opponent that MVG has enjoyed playing in recent times. The record between the two is actually fairly level but Mighty Mike has now won nine in a row against Jaws and three of those have come this year.
In fact those three matches have resulted in an aggregate scoreline of 18-4 to van Gerwen so there does not look like there is a lot of hope for Lloyd here.
The bookies certainly think the same as they rank MVG at 1/9 for the win whilst Jaws is out at 13/2 which is massive given he is a former winner of the tournament and former world number one.
Lloyd should pick up a few legs along the way and will not be completely embarrassed but MVG will win this reasonably comfortably and should bang in a number of maximums along the way. He is odds on in most places to hit over 5.5 180s but Sky Bet have made it 6/5 and in a match of about 15 legs this looks a great option.
The first match on Sunday evening could be a cracker between Gary Anderson and Mervyn King for a place in the last 16. Ando has a great record against King and has had a much better year on the tour, looking like he is just about ready for another good run in a major. King is a big price at 13/10 and will not be heavily beaten if indeed he is. It is tough to find value in this one and the best we can do is the 10/11 on over 16.5 legs with Sky Bet which even at odds-on looks decent.
Next is another attractive looking game between Paul Nicholson and Dave Chisnall with the latter the clear favourite with the bookmakers. On top form you would back Chizzy but he is unpredictable at best, especially in the first round of big tournaments. Nicholson has been showing signs of good form and looks much the better value at 7/4 with Sporting Bet.
Finally, the world number one is also in action as Phil Taylor takes on Stuart Kellett at the Winter Gardens. The Power is the shortest price of anyone in the first round at 1/10 for the win and it is understandable given his Matchplay record and the fact that KO Kellett is on debut in Blackpool. The former World Masters finalist is certainly no mug though and given Taylor’s tendency to switch he is often worth backing against in the maximum market. With the draw as a no bet Kellett is 11/10 to hit the most 180s with Coral and that could be a great price.
Michael van Gerwen over 5.5 180s @ 6/5 with Sky Bet
Mervyn King v Gary Anderson over 16.5 legs @ 10/11 with Sky Bet
Paul Nicholson to win @ 7/4 with Sporting Bet
• Taylor powers to 14th Matchplay title
• Taylor v Lewis: Power unbeatable in Matchplay finals
• Van Gerwen v Lewis: Classic semi-final in prospect
• Taylor v Wade: Machine can out-180 the Power
• Van Gerwen v Chisnall: Mighty Mike makes maximums
• Lewis v Hamilton: Jackpot building up nicely
• Taylor v Pipe: Force to push the Power
• Wade v Whitlock: Wizard can Wade into semis
• Chisnall v Caven: On song Jabba to chop down Chizzy
• Wade v Anderson: In form duo could produce epic
• Lewis v Huybrechts: Rebel no walkover for Jackpot
• Huybrechts v Wright: Expect maximums aplenty
• Whitlock v Klaasen: Matador can oust the Aussie
• Taylor hopes to prove he is still king of Blackpool
• Averages and nine-darter markets look profitable
• World Matchplay: Round One Betting