Well, it was one hell of an opening day of the Skybet World Matchplay, if not a profitable one for myself. I made a terrible call with Terry Jenkins, who got ran 10-3 and never had a chance, I made a good call with van der Voort, who won 10-7 in a sloppy game that he had control of for a large majority of, then got just robbed on two upset predictions in INSANELY entertaining matches, watching Kevin Painter miss 6 darts to win the match against Adrian Lewis, blow a 9-6 lead, and lose 14-12 in a thrilling match, then saw John Part get down 7-3 at the end of the second break, only to come out and throw the 9 dart finish, storm back to 7-5 after a break, miss darts to get the match back on throw, and then miss one more golden chance to get the match on throw to eventually lose a 10-8 thriller. How do I lose on a guy that throws a 9 darter (for those unaware, a 9 darter is a perfect game of 501, many top pros have never thrown one on TV, you might see 3-5 all year long if you watch every match of darts on TV).
But hey, I lost two good underdog bets who had great chances (at one point Painter in the live betting had gone from +275 to -275, so you know I had that one all but won before it slipped away), and I only made one bad bet, so nothing to do but hop back on the horse and keep picking the games right and let the results come to me. Here’s my day 2 predictions:
Match #1: #11 Paul “The Asset” Nicholson (-225) vs. Colin Osborne
I don’t need to go on a rant here, I got two units on Nicholson to win this whole tournament, so you know I have him in this match.
Prediction: Nicholson 10-5 Osborne (2 units at -225)
Match #2: #14 Mark Walsh (+125) vs. Dave Chisnall
Dave Chisnall, the unseeded player, is the -167 favorite. That should tell you the books really think Chizzy is the favorite. Mark Walsh is really not an extraordinary player, while Chisnall at his best is brilliant. Chisnall excelled in similar length matches to this one at the UK Open. He’s hit 2 nine-darters since he joined the PDC in 2011 (not in TV events, so they don’t count, but still, shows you his talent). Walsh has lost twice to Chisnall on the floor events since Chisnall came over, I’ll take the favorite here.
Prediction: Chisnall 10-7 Walsh (1 unit at -167)
Match #3: #3 James “The Machine” Wade (-550) vs. Jamie Cavin
Match #4 #6 Raymond “The Man” van Barneveld (-300) vs. Steve Brown
I’m going to preview these matches together, which will make sense when you see my bet here. Wade is coming off his UK Open victory, he played brilliant darts and showed no quit at all in taking down yet another major. His mental health seems well, and he is on top of his game. His line is inflated because of his UK Open title, but he should be a solid bet to win. Meanwhile Raymond van Barneveld is coming off a disappointing UK Open, but Barney is a World Matchplay beast, never having failed to reach the quarters here, and reached the final here last year. He is trying out a new dart setup and is really pleased with the results he is getting in the practice room right now, and Barney is a player that lives and dies by his oft-rattled self confidence. I say parley both these big favorites together to get Wade down to a reasonable price and extract more value out of Barney.
Predictions: Wade 10-4 Cavin, Barneveld 10-6 Brown (2 units on a Wade/Barney parley at -175)
Good luck to everyone (better luck then I had yesterday!) and enjoy day 2, if it’s anything like day 1, it’s gonna be can’t miss!