World Grand Prix Darts – Betting Preview
IN just 24 hours the PDC World Grand Prix gets underway at the Morningside Arena in Leicester and Garreth Porter has taken an early look at the betting markets for the famous double-start set play tournament.
Our resident bookmakers, Fitzdares, will be offering prices on multiple markets throughout the event and have kindly boosted the selections in this article to be industry best price. All statistics referred to in this article are provided by Darts Orakel, aka ‘The Orakel’ – Sky Sports’ official statistics partner.
Defending champion and World No.1, Gerwyn Price, deservedly starts his World Grand Prix defence as the 7/2 favourite after two compelling victories on the European Tour in Hungary and Gibraltar.
His decision to withdraw from the Nordic Masters with an elbow injury two weeks ago was much scrutinised but turned out to be a shrewd move as he subsequently secured his success in Gibraltar with a merciless 8-0 victory over Mensur Suljovic in the final, where he averaged 105.47.
With the double-start format evidently presenting no problem to Price, it would be no surprise if he were to retain his title, but there’s not much wriggle room at his odds, so I am looking elsewhere in the outright market for a bet.
Step forward a player who is as proficient as Price on double-top in the form of James Wade.
It is widely known that Wade is consistently the best on the outer ring in the world (checking out at 45.45% in 2021), but it is surprising that he has won just one match at this event in the last six years.
Whilst it is hard to reconcile this record, it should be remembered that this event is one of two PDC majors that Wade has won twice (in 2007 and 2010) and I fancy him to go well at a very generous 28/1.
It is my view that the draw has been kind to Wade; he kicks off against Damon Heta who still struggles to bring his floor game to the stage, whilst his quarter also includes an out-of-sorts Dirk van Duijenbode and Dimitri Van den Bergh who must prove he is over his dramatic televised collapse against Fallon Sherrock at the Nordic Masters, whilst he also looked below par at the World Cup of Darts.
Diverting my attention to the first round matches, my nap is Mervyn King (8/13) who takes on debutant Martijn Kleermaker.
Despite a more than respectable 2021 average of 95.43, King has perhaps not hit the heights one might expect after the form he showed late in 2020, his best return being a final in the Masters back in January, although this was not a ranked event.
More recently, two quarter-final Pro Tour defeats to Jose De Sousa would be seen as his strongest pieces of form. After years of shunning double-top King has shown a liking for it over the last year or so, but I expect him to start on double-16, where he rates as the fifth best in the world this year (hitting 45.96% of his attempts).
King’s stats in scoring, averages, and checkouts all eclipse Kleermaker, who is without question improving, but looks to have it all to do here on debut against a seasoned campaigner. I’d have King somewhere nearer 2/5.
Next up, a reliable selection I have been including in the majority of my multiples recently. Brendan Dolan (4/7), affectionately known as the ‘History Maker’ after becoming the first player to record a perfect leg in a televised double-start event here in 2011, has been in excellent form throughout this year.
In addition to winning a Pro Tour event back in March, he has also reached a final, three semi-finals and two quarter-finals, whilst he also reached the quarter-final of both the recent Euro Tour events.
His 2021 average of 95.91 backs up how consistent he has been, whilst his checkout percentage over the same period (44.16%) is second only to James Wade, which obviously bodes well for his chances here. Like King, Dolan kicks off his campaign against a debutant in the form of Darius Labanauskas. Labanauskas has struggled to make much impact on the Pro Tour since a quarter-final appearance back in March, averaging just 88.91 during the last three months. It will be a huge ask for him to topple Dolan here, who will also have a huge experience edge having reached the final of this event in 2011 and a semi-final the following year.
Both King and Dolan are confident selections and I’m happy to play them in a double, particularly as Fitzdares have generally boosted the price out to 13/8.