Waites in tough opener against Norris
The BDO World Championship gets going with a bang on Saturday afternoon as the reigning champion Scott Waites begins the defence of his title against the very capable Alan Norris on the Lakeside stage.
Waites will count himself unlucky to be handed such a tough draw against a man who reached the quarter-final here in 2012 and came perilously close to knocking out Wesley Harms in round two 12 months ago. The world champion is unsurprisingly the favourite at a best price of 2/7 with Paddy Power but Norris has every chance of pushing him all the way. A nice safe bet to kick off the tournament will be over 3.5 sets in the best of five contest which is available at 8/15 with Bet365 and looks nailed on.
One of the dark horses for this year’s tournament is Harms who has reached the semi-finals in each of the last two years. He kicks off his campaign against Paul Jennings on Saturday and will not have it all his own way against the Hartlepool man. Jenno has come into his own over the last couple of years and has reached the last eight on each of his two appearances at Lakeside making him a very tricky first round opponent. There should not be a lot in it and over 16.5 legs looks very decent value at 10/11 with Sky Bet.
The other first round clash on Saturday sees young Dutchman Jeffrey de Graaf take on stalwart of the BDO Martin Atkins with the former the odds-on favourite. De Graaf made an impressive debut at Lakeside last year, albeit in defeat, and he has kicked on from there winning the Denmark and Swedish Opens this year which sees him come into the World Championships as the number eight seed. Atkins, in comparison, has had a pretty poor year and has dropped to 18th in the rankings having reached the quarter-finals in 2012. The Dutchman is 4/5 with Sporting Bet to win this one and that looks the most sensible bet.
The other three contests on Saturday are preliminary matches although they do feature some quality including former champion Martin Adams taking on Canadian David Cameron. Wolfie will win this one and there is little value in backing him, the same can be said about Greece’s John Michael who should see off Madars Razma comfortably. However, there may be value in backing the Australian Harley Kemp who takes on Irishman Michael Meaney. There is little between them but Kemp has won an awful lot Down Under including the 2013 Australian Masters which is no mean feat. The Aussie looks good value at 11/10 with Ladbrokes.
Scott Waites v Alan Norris over 3.5 sets @ Bet365
Wesley Harms v Paul Jennings over 16.5 legs @ Sky Bet
Jeffrey de Graaf to win @ 4/5 with Sporting Bet
Harley Kemp to win @ 11/10 with Ladbrokes
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