Whitlock v Klaasen: Matador can oust the Aussie
The World Matchplay bursts into life on Saturday evening with some tasty looking clashes and none are more enticing than the contest between the in-form duo of Simon Whitlock and Jelle Klaasen.
Both put on some stunning performances at the recent European Championship which saw Whitlock reach his second consecutive final at the tournament and the Dutchman only lose out to a rampant Michael van Gerwen in the last eight.
Klaasen has been one of the form players on the tour this year having made an impactful return to top level darts after personal controversy last year which saw him fall away from the upper echelons of the rankings. He is certainly back now though and is more than capable of giving every player in the world a serious game.
Whitlock has the better of the head to head record between the two and has beaten the Matador in this tournament before back in 2010 but with just four contests over the last three years and with Klaasen’s dramatic improvement in recent months not too much can be read into this.
The Aussie is the heavy odds-on favourite for the match at a best price of 4/9 with Paddy Power but Klaasen looks a tremendous price at 2/1 with Bet365 given his recent performances. An on-song Whitlock should still win and is understandably favourite but Klaasen is an excellent value bet at 2/1. If the Wizard is not at his best he will lose this one.
There was certainly a feeling at the Euros that Whitlock had added motivation in an attempt to defend his title and he certainly got out of jail with a miraculous comeback against Jamie Caven in the quarter-finals. All this considered it is Klaasen who is our tip for an early upset.
The first match of the event sees good pals Terry Jenkins and Andy Smith square off and there is no way the Pie Man will cause a surprise here. The first round is a race to 10 and Jenkins to win with a -2.5 handicap at 11/10 with Betfred looks a good punt.
There doesn’t look like a lot of value in the next clash between Raymond van Barneveld and Mensur Suljovic. If Barney turns it on then he could batter the Austrian but he often doesn’t hit top gear early on and it could be a narrower win than many expect, one to avoid.
Finally James Wade takes on John Part in an attractive sounding contest and these two have had some classics over the years. Part is less and less of a force in the majors and Wade should win this with a bit of a cushion, the Machine is not as prolific as some on the 180s though and Part looks a great price at 2/1 to beat him in that respect with Bet Victor.
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• Van Gerwen v Chisnall: Mighty Mike makes maximums
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• Chisnall v Caven: On song Jabba to chop down Chizzy
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• Van Gerwen v Lloyd: MVG a maximum machine
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• Averages and nine-darter markets look profitable
• World Matchplay: Round One Betting