Ladies and gentleman, welcome back the goose. What goose? That goose that lay them golden eggs. That would be me, K.M. Venne, back to give you more FREE MONEY. I won 3.33 units on the UK Open, a tournament that saw 9 of the 10 best players in the world lose before the final 8. That’s nothing short of impressive from me. So many upsets I called, dodged, or overcame, I was like the darting better version of Neo, doing some Matrix type shit all over the field, and came out with a sweet profit, which is nearly a given when I bet darts.
So, the UK Open with it’s unpredictable FA Cup style draw and amateur qualifiers is over, and now we are nearly upon our first pro major since the World Championship, the Skybet World Matchplay, which starts Saturday July 16th at 2 PM EST (use your favorite internet live streaming site to see all the action!). The World Matchplay is a 32 player tournament that combines the top 16 on the PDC Order of Merit with the top 16 non-qualified players from the Players Championship Order of Merit (again, for those in the States, the Order of Merit is like the golf or tennis money list, if the money list determined who was #1.).
So we got a really star studded field of the 32 best players in the world more or less, and we are going to play legs only, not sets, so it’s all about who can reach the magic number first, but unlike the UK Open, it’s win by 2 in the World Matchplay. We are going to play to 10 legs in the first round, then increase the number to 13, 16, 17, and 18 for the Finals, but for right now and the next 3 days of the 1st round, we have first to 10 (and win by 2), 4 matches a day, and we are going to preview each round the day before for optimum betting help for you.
So without further ado, here are my predictions and picks for the first 4 matches of round 1, a great first day that features 4 former World Champions and the single best match of the first round at the end of the day (match #4).
Match #1: #7 Terry “The Bull” Jenkins (-200) vs. Steve Beaton
Terry “The Bull” has been in pretty good form since his typical bottom 2 finish in this year’s Premier League, beating the reigning World Champion Adrian Lewis in the UK Open before giving eventual champion James Wade a run for his money in the round of 32 (what a brutal draw he had!). Steve Beaton is a pretty solid player, who qualified for this World Matchplay by the skin of his teeth by reaching two of the last three quarterfinals in the Players Championship Order of Merit Qualifiers, one of which included an impressive 6-2 drubbing of the red hot Paul Nicholson. But the bottom line is Terry Jenkins, at his worst, is still a top 10 world player, while Steve Beaton hasn’t been at that level since the mid-90′s. Beaton is technically considered a World Champion due to his title over in the BDO, also known as the jobber league of darts, but in my opinion that is the only reason he’s given the chance he’s given in this match. This to me is a solid bet, I would recommend a 2 unit play on Terry Jenkins to advance in this match
Prediction: Jenkins 10-5 Beaton (2 units at -200)
Match #2: #15 Vincent van der Voort (-150) vs. Alan Tabern
Vincent van der Voort had a terrible UK Open, losing 9-7 in the first round to Andy Boulton, but has put up some impressive results this year, including a big win over Raymond van Barneveld in a UK Open qualifier, a semifinal appearance at the RLT7 World Masters, and a Players Championship Qualifier win over none other then Phil Taylor just 2 months ago. In fact, in the monster fields of the Players Championship Qualifiers, van der Voort reached the quarterfinals in 4 of the 8 events, including one semifinal to go with his 1 win. Tavern had an equally disappointing UK Open, and had a lot less success in the Players Championship Qualifiers over the last couple weeks. van der Voort has won 7 of the last 8 matchups between the two. Tabern seemed to peak about two years ago, while van der Voort is picking his game up, and this line is the best line of the first day of action. I’m going to put 2 units on van der Voort, but if you feel frisky, I could understand a three unit bet if you want to.
Prediction: van der Voort 10-5 Tabern (2 units at -150)
Match #3: #2 Adrian “Jackpot” Lewis (-400) vs. Kevin “The Artist” Painter
The current World Champion Addy Lewis is an absolute enigma. After winning the World Championship in a thriller over Gary Anderson, Lewis qualified for the playoffs of the Premier League in the 4th spot, soundly beat Phil Taylor in the semis, then got destroyed by Gary Anderson in the Premier League Finals. After that he lost in the first round of the UK Open to Terry Jenkins. Then he played 2 of the 8 Players Championship qualifiers, losing to nobodies in the first round each time. Meanwhile Kevin Painter just has LASIK surgery after his unimpressive run through the Players Championship qualifiers, but that surgery has left him with a world of confidence. Painter has always been a player with a lot of latent talent, and Lewis is in just terrible form. Bad Adrian Lewis is a terrible player, and at +275 in a rather short format, I see no reason not to take a shot in the dark at the big upset here, because laying the -400 on Lewis would be foolish at this point. If Lewis shows himself to be back, I’ll reevaluate his chances as we go on, but as of now, it’s best to fade the champ.
Prediction: Painter 11-9 Lewis (1 unit at +275)
Match #4: Mark “Spider” Webster (-167) vs. John “Darth Maple” Part
Mark Webster rebounded from his terrible Premier League performance where he was an absolute laughing stock to make the Semis of the UK Open, the same position he reached in the World Championship after his beatdown of Phil Taylor in the World quarterfinals. Meanwhile former 3 time World Champion (2 of them real world championships, Webster is a 1 time fake champ like Beaton is) John Part has regained the form that made him a former top 5 player in the world (for the most part). Part had a disappointing UK Open but has been the talk of the floor events, making 5 quarterfinals in the Players Championship Qualifiers including 1 win, to easily qualify at the top of the Players Championship Order of Merit heading into the World Matchplay. Webster is a confident young pro who has a lot of big checkouts in his bag, but also is prone to erratic throwing at times, occasionally missing the 20 more often then he hits it even while scoring, so I will take the odds with Part in this one and back the Canadian for 1 unit in what should be an awesome match to end the day.
Prediction: Part 10-8 Webster (1 unit at +125)
The futures bet for the World Matchplay have a lot of value in my opinion on some of the longshots, so I would suggest playing a few of these, either to hedge later or to go all the way and hope for a lotto ticket like payout.
Paul Nicholson +3300 (1.5 units)
John Part +6600 (1.5 units)
Mervin King +5000 (1 unit)
Gary Anderson +600 (1 unit)
Enjoy Day 1 of the PDC World Matchplay, and check back with me over the next week+ as we follow the action until it’s conclusion! Don’t forget to tune in if you have a time, I assure you once you watch the darts, you’ll be hooked!