Wade and MVG to make the final
The Dubai Duty Free Masters made a pretty good start to its existence on Thursday with a lively crowd of over 3,000 enjoying some cracking matches in the quarter-finals.
James Wade became the first man ever to win at the tournament as he edged out Simon Whitlock in the opening bout and he looked pretty good in doing so. He will face Raymond van Barneveld in the final four after Barney made it past Adrian Lewis on Thursday night in an oddly low quality affair.
It is not often that an average of 86.6 will win you a match against a player in the top three in the world but that is what Barney managed and he will need to considerably step up that performance if he wants to make it past the Machine.
The pair have a pretty even record over the years and as such there is little between them in the odds with Barney a marginal odds-on favourite and Wade just behind him at 11/10 with Boyle Sports.
There is little to choose between the two beaten Premier League semi-finalists who have both enjoyed a pretty good year so far. Coming into the tournament you would be tipping Barney for this one but it is hard to ignore his fairly ropey performance in the quarter-finals.
Wade looks the better value bet at odds-against and has a good record in similar situations having beaten Barney in two Premier League semi-finals. At 11/10 it could well be a good idea to back the Machine.
The second semi-final is not one that many expected as Phil Taylor was ousted from the tournament he has been promoting after just one match. His conqueror was Andy Hamilton who performed well in beating him for the third time this year. Again it wasn’t the highest quality contest but it was a thriller with the Hammer managing five legs on the bounce after going 4-1 behind.
Hamilton is going to have to perform at his very best to pick up another win in the desert though as he takes on the now odds-on favourite for the competition Michael van Gerwen.
MVG looked in trouble as Wes Newton forged a comfortable lead in their quarter-final contest but he surged back, ending on a 13-darter to claim a 10-7 win. It was a surprise that the Warrior could even keep up with him and it is certainly hard to see him losing to anyone at the minute and unfortunately Hamilton is certainly included in that.
The Hammer is the same price that he was to beat Taylor at 4/1 with MVG down at 1/4 for the win. The first contests on a new stage can often through up some surprises and that is exactly what happened last night and with that experience now under the players’ belts they should resort to form on Friday night.
As has often been the case over the years, a win over Phil Taylor can mean your downfall in the near future and that is what will most likely happen to the Hammer. MVG is odds-on to win with a -4.5 handicap in most places but evens with Boyle Sports and that looks good.
If all goes to plan then it should be a Wade v MVG final but in truth if it is Barney or the Machine it probably won’t make much difference. Mighty Mike is the one to back to lift the trophy.
James Wade to win @ 11/10 with Boyle Sports
Michael van Gerwen (-4.5) to win @ evens with Boyle Sports