What is going on TSHQ nation? It’s K.M. Venne back with that darts goodness nobody cares about except me. This Thursday is day 1 of the UK Open in Darts. The UK Open is a special darts tournament, in that once the round of 64 starts, there is no seeding protection, it is a random draw each round from the round of 64 until the quarterfinals, when they randomly draw a bracket.
To qualify for the UK Open is a complicated process. There were 8 qualifiers, and the top 32 money winners from those qualifiers got byes until the round of 64. So the best in the world won’t be showing up until day 2 of the event for the most part. The biggest name that did not manage to qualify for the top 32 is top 5 world Darts player James Wade, who will be in action day 1. Day one will be full of the rest of the pro players who played in at least 2 of the 8 qualifiers but finished between 3 and 108 on the UK Open Order of Merit (aka did not do well enough in those qualifiers) joined by 32 amateurs who qualified via Riley’s Darts Zone events and 32 more amateurs who qualified in Speedy qualifiers.
What’s the bottom line, you ask? The bottom line is on Thursday, June 2nd, we will have 140 players playing darts, and only 32 will survive to Friday’s action, where the 32 top pros will jump in. So Thursday is going to be a busy day full of action!
We got some betting lines up for the first round of action on Thursday, and let me share with you some of my favorite bets. Remember, all the action Thursday is best of 7 legs, so it’s a SUPER quick format, ripe for some upsets, so this will be the hardest day to predict. But hey, I lost on the Premier League Finals, and I haven’t lost at darts two straight weeks all year, so maybe it’s worth a flyer to put some cash down on some of these.
Michael van Gerwin -333 vs. Dean Stanley
van Gerwin is one of the top young talents in darts, but it’s hard to remember how young he is, after he won the World Masters 5 years ago at the age of 17. He had a great showing in the 2007 Masters of Darts, blanking Phil Taylor 3-0 in sets, and throwing a 9 darter at the age of 18 vs. van Barneveld, before losing. Since then, he has not delivered on his talents, but he was the under-21 runner up earlier this year (he has since turned 22). Against a rank nobody like Dean Stanley, laying the -333 seems very reasonable, even in the short format.
Alex Roy -188 vs. John O’Shea
John O’Shea is a total jobber. He never wins anything at all, for like the last 25 years. He’s the Repo Man of darts. I use a professional wrestling analogy since Alex Roy seems to think he’s Randy Orton. I don’t like Alex Roy, because I don’t like Randy Orton, also because Alex Roy isn’t every good. But O’Shea is just terrible. If you can get this price against O’Shea, you bet it. Period.
Mensur Suljovic -200 vs. Brandon Walsh
Brandon Walsh is a clown amateur who never wins matches on the rookie circuit. Suljovic is a pain to bet, he has a terrible throwing style that is literally painful to watch, but Suljovic did defeat James Wade in the 2nd round of the world championship this year. At -200, I have to take the talent here, it’s too good a price against too bad a player.
John Bowles +163 vs. Peter Manley
There was a time Peter Manley was one of the most feared darts players on the planet. This noted fat fucker used to be elite. Those days are done. John Bowles is a decent scrub who won a match last year at the UK Open, he should be confident. I would bet Manley all day if this was 2004 again. But “One Dart” is more like “Twenty-One Darts” these days, I’ll take a flier for some plus money in this one.
Roland Scholten -225 vs. Kevin Edwards
Scholten made a nice show of himself at the RTL7 Masters about 2 months ago. He can hang with the best. Kevin Martin is a total nobody. A total mismatch in the talent level here, with Scholten more then capable of the kind of quick kills that are necessary to win these short format matches. A very fair price.
Paul Cartwright +138 vs. Kirk Shepherd
Kirk Shepherd was the world runner up in 2008, due to an incredible run that saw players miss like 11 match darts against him. But don’t be fooled, he sucks. He’s never done anything else in his life. Paul Cartwright is a nobody I’ve never heard of. But Kirk Shepherd has to be overpriced, he’s a name people know. I’d take you to beat Kirk Shepherd. And at least Paul Cartwright qualified for this event. That’s more then you ever did.
Colin Lloyd -125 vs. Jelle Klaasen
Jelle Klaasen is one of my favorite dart players. “The Matador” is a quick trigger Dutchman who can really score. That said, Klassen has been out of form as of late, and in this, the premier matchup of the first round, Colin Lloyd has more then enough talent to give Klassen too much to handle. Lloyd is still out there getting results lately and should be a bigger favorite in my opinion in this battle of two former Premier League participants. This is the match you want to watch, so why not put some money on it? If you do, I suggest Lloyd.
That’s plenty enough for the first round of the UK Open, which is mostly a bunch of bums anyway. Maybe I’ll tack on some bets between rounds on Thursday. For sure I’ll be back on Friday, probably with a lot more bets, because on Friday, I’ll be familiar with a lot more of the players when the best in the world show up, and I’ll have seen some of the guys I’m not as familiar with.
Oh wait, you want some futures bets before I go? Ok, here are my top picks for the champion of the UK Open and how I would bet them:
Phil Taylor +138 (4 units)
Gary Anderson +650 (2 unit)
Mervin King +3300 (1 unit)
I consider these guys the top 3 favorites. Betting it this way ensures you win no matter who wins, and win a fair amount if Premier League Champion Gary Anderson or the in form and always dangerous Mervin King takes it down.. Of course, Phil Taylor is the best in the world, so there is never any real reason to not take him to win anything and everything, but with the shorter formats and a tough draw, you never know. I’d protect yourself in this fashion, and let the darts fly where they may.
Enjoy the UK Open!