2017 Grand Slam Of Darts Betting Preview & Odds

  • 10th November 2017
2017 Grand Slam Of Darts Betting Preview

Ben Levene (@benlevene96) previews the 2017 Grand Slam of Darts which is live on Sky Sports from Wolverhampton from November 11th-19th.

2017 Grand Slam Of Darts Betting Preview

Date: November 11-19

Watch: Sky Sports

Format

The Grand Slam of Darts returns this weekend as we near next months coveted World Championship’s. The unique tournament sees a 32-man field made up of a mix of PDC and BDO players. The field is split into eight groups of four with the top-two from each group progressing to the knockout-phase. Each group game is a race to five legs (best of nine legs). The Second Round is a race to ten (best of 19 legs) and the Quarter’s, Semi’s and Final are a race to 16 (Best of 31 legs). In the Group Phase, two points are awarded for a win while a point is awarded for a draw. Leg difference comes into play when there is a tie for points. Each player plays the other three players in their group once.

Group A

  • Michael Van Gerwen
  • Rob Cross
  • Joe Murnan
  • Ross Montgomery

It’s difficult to see anything other than Michael Van Gerwen and Rob Cross progressing here. In this last month, MVG has won both televised tournaments (World Series and European Championship) and looks back to his relentless best after a small blip after the birth of his child.

Rob Cross’ breakthrough has been the story of 2017 in the darting world. He was finally able to transfer his mesmerising floor form onto the TV at the European Championship’s where he lost out to Van Gerwen in the final. He was only stopped last weekend at the World Series by MVG too. It’s difficult to see how Cross doesn’t break into the top ten in the next 12 months or so.

PDC qualifier Joe Murnan and the BDO’s Ross Montgomery make up this group, and it’s fair to say they’ve been dealt a bad hand.

Now onto the betting. MVG is a short 1/8 to progress as group winner, while Rob Cross is a tempting 11/2. In a race to five legs, Cross can trouble Van Gerwen but it’s with the 180’s where the value lies. Since the start of September, Cross averages a 180 every 3.07 legs while the figure stands at every 3.17 since October. In comparison, Michael averages a maximum every 2.92 legs since September and ever 3.34 legs since October. There is little to split the pair in terms of 180 hitting, in fact Cross actually hit more maximums when they met last week. 22 of Van Gerwen’s last 26 ‘Best of 11’ matches have seen fewer than 9.5 legs and in this best of nine format, it’s difficult to see Murnan and Montgomery taking too many legs off him. As a result of this, there is less scope for 180’s. The market has Van Gerwen as odds-on favourite to hit the most 180’s in Group A with Cross at 6/4 but I think it should be closer than the prices suggest. Therefore we can back Cross to hit the most 180’s in Group A at 6/4.

Group B

  • Raymond Van Barneveld
  • Gerwyn Price
  • Steve Lennon
  • Jamie Hughes

In Group B, former World Champion Raymond Van Barneveld has been drawn with Gerwyn Price, Steve Lennon and Jamie Hughes. Barney’s been inconsistent of late but he still has the A-game to blow away most. He’s odds-on to win the group but that’s not really a price I’m keen to engage with.

With a potential Premier League place at stake, Gerwyn Price has another chance to catch the eye on TV. He looked in decent form at the World Series last weekend when he beat the highly-rated Corey Cadby before losing to an on-song Gary Anderson in the Quarter-Final. He’s averaged over 90 in each of his last 11 matches and has a grit about him too.

Steve Lennon is an upcoming player who’s performed well on the Development Tour this year. He’s averaged over 90 in matches at the International Open, Dutch Masters and Grand Prix, and has taken Price and Ratajski to ten legs in ‘Best of 11’ leg games, so he’s no rollover.

Jamie Hughes was one of the stars on the BDO Circuit in 2016 but has failed to replicate that in 2017. Having said that, he’s shown signs of an improvement in form recently and has won a tournament, reached two Final’s and two Semi-Final’s in nine tournament’s since September.

Like with Group A, the outright value seemingly lies with in the 180 market here. Since September Gerwyn Price averages a 180 every 3.94 legs while it’s every 3.71 legs if we look at his games since October. Nine of Price’s last 15 ‘Race to Six’ leg matches have seen ten or more legs and if he’s involved in long games in the group stage, there will be scope for his maximum hitting to show through. Barney averages a maximum every 3.4 legs since September and every 3.8 legs since October, like Group A there is very little in it and therefore we can chance Price at a lengthy 5/2.

Group C

  • Phil Taylor
  • James Wade
  • Robbie Green
  • Peter Manchin

As retirement draws nearer, Phil Taylor is after his Seventh Grand Slam Title. The Power has been playing phenomenally this year. He won The Matchplay with ease and has taken his scoring up a notch this year. That’s partly due to the fact Taylor has played less tournaments this year. He’s looked fresher in his games on TV and I expect him to win Group C.

James Wade has been out of sorts for a while now, but in the last few weeks has showed signs that form may be brewing. The Machine looked in good form at the German Masters before losing to Taylor and reached the Semi-Final of the World Series last weekend. Wade reached the final in the Grand Slam last year.

Robbie Green has struggled to make an impact this year. He hasn’t progressed past the Third Round in any of his last 15 events. Australian Peter Manchin won the BDO World Trophy this year despite his ranking of 48 but has shown he’s capable of consistent scoring and finishing.

Group D

  • Daryl Gurney
  • Darren Webster
  • Mark Webster
  • Danny Noppert

Daryl Gurney’s progression this calendar year has been astonishing. He’s now an elite level player and must be respected. He’s the World Number 4, possesses the power scoring to compete with the best and has developed a B-game that’s good enough to see him through matches.

Darren Webster weirdly performs better on TV than he does in floor events. He famously whitewashed Phil Taylor in a group game in this event last year and scared Michael Van Gerwen at the Players’ Championship. He also impressed at The Worlds’ last year before losing to the eventual winner Van Gerwen. I fancy him to progress.

Mark Webster is in no kind of form and has recorded sub-80 averages in each of his last two matches on TV. He’s got past the third round in just one of his last 18 tournaments.

Like Jamie Hughes, Danny Noppert was a stand-out BDO player last year and caught-the-eye at The Grand Slam 12 months ago. Of late he’s struggled to replicate that form but must be respected as he can pose a threat when at it.

Group E

  • Peter Wright
  • Alan Norris
  • Corey Cadby
  • Glen Durrant

The Group of Death. World Number 3 Peter Wright is joined by BDO World Champion Glen Durrant, PDC Youth Champion Corey Cadby and PDC World Number 15 Alan Norris. Snakebite has been vulnerable of late and I’m not too keen on him this week.

Glen Durrant is averaging over 90 consistently and is a serious player. He went off as Even-money favourite at the BDO World’s last year and won. After this victory, he opted to turn down the opportunity to join the PDC but as Former World Championship Runner-Up and current Sky Commentator, Wayne Mardle has pointed out, Durrant can trouble the big-names this week.

On the topic of players with no respect for the elite, Corey Cadby won’t be fearing anyone. On the World Series this year Cadby has gone shoulder-to-shoulder with the best and that’s only going to stand the 22-year-old in good stead on the long-run. He’s already beaten the likes of Taylor, Van Barneveld and Wright this year. Cadby is a huge talent but his on-stage demeanour has held him back at times.

Alan Norris makes up this group and has proved his worth on the PDC circuit over the last few years. If he plays with consistency he can progress through this mammoth group. Given the talent and unpredictability on show here, I’m happy to avoid this group in terms of outright betting.

Group F

  • Dave Chisnall
  • Stephen Bunting
  • Jeffrey de Zwaan
  • Scott Mitchell

Dave Chisnall is the seeded player in Group F and at a tad short of even-money, he’s a lay if you’re on an Exchange. Despite being at the top level of Darts for such a prolonged period, he’s failed to really trouble a TV tournament. Although arguably the biggest scorer in the game, his mentality leaves a lot to be desired. He’s reached just one Quarter-Final in 11 tournaments since September, in fact, he’s been knocked out in either the First or Second round in ten of those 11 tournaments.

On the other hand, Stephen Bunting has found a bit of form in the latter part of this year. He’s averaged over 93 in each of his last six and has reached a Players Championship Final and Semi-Final in the last three months. Four of his last six losses have come to top eight players and in each of those he’s given a good account of himself. More importantly, after his Grand Prix loss to Peter Wright, Bunting suggested his game was getting there.

Scott Mitchell is one of the elite players on the BDO circuit and has been for some time. The 2015 World Champion beat Adrian Lewis 5-1 in his opening game at last years’ Grand Slam, averaging 107. He has to be respected.

Jeffrey de Zwaan makes up Group F and will be keen to give a good account of himself. The 21-year-old is still learning but has shown during floor events that he can cause trouble. A winner on this years’ Development Tour, de Zwaan reached a Players’ Championship semi-final in Barnsley, beating the likes of Bunting and Michael Smith. He’s also beaten Chisnall, Mervyn King, Vincent van der Voort and Cristo Reyes in 2017, while he beat Johnny Clayton, Ian White, Robert Thornton and Benito Van de Pas last weekend.

Group G

  • Mensur Suljovic
  • Michael Smith
  • James Wilson
  • Mark McGeeney

Mensur Suljovic and his unorthodox style lead Group G. The Austrian has taken his game to another level this year and winning his first televised title in the form of the Champions League of Darts has only raised expectation. You’ll struggle to find a more consistent figure than Mensur; he’s reached at least the Quarter-Final in nine of his last 16 events. However, I’m happy to steer clear of the 11/10 about the Austrian winning this group given he’s shown signs of fatigue in the last few weeks. Notably in last weekend’s First Round exit to Chris Dobey.

After a dreadful 2016, Michael Smith has progressed this year but I still get the impression he has more to give. A winner on the Euro Tour this year, 2017 has also seen Bully Boy reach five Semi-Finals’ and a Final. However, like with Chizzy, Smith’s mentality can be questioned. He’s struggled on TV and has exited in the First-Round in two of his last three TV tournaments, which is poor going for a player with undoubtable talent.

Suljovic and Smith are joined in Group G by James Wilson. Wilson has proved a tricky player for seeded opponents and is clearly in some decent form given he’s reached a Final and Semi-Final in his last three Players Championship events. He lost out 10-8 to Peter Wright in the Matchplay in July and will be keen to cause some problems again here.

BDO’s Number 1 ranked player Mark McGeeney makes up Group G, having enjoyed a revitalised 2017. McGeeney has won four tournaments in 2017 although it’s worth noting that all those wins came in the first six months of the year. However, he did make the Final at the World Masters in September and will be keen to impress on the big stage.

Group H

  • Gary Anderson
  • Simon Whitlock
  • Berry van Peer
  • Cameron Menzies

Two-time World Champion Gary Anderson is 4/11 to win Group H and if he produces even 80% of what he did last weekend, then it’s difficult to see any other outcome. Anderson has tended peak in time for the World’s time-and-time again and he’s showing signs the same could be set to happen this year. The Flying Scotsman has experienced an inconsistent 2017 due to the birth of his child yet has won a tournament, reached two Finals and a Semi-Final in his last five events, despite not being at full-pelt. Last weekend he oozed class on route to the Final at the World Series and if he brings that again this weekend then the 2/1 for him to reach the Final will prove a steal.

Simon Whitlock’s re-emergence this year has been a pleasant surprise. One of the most likeable players on the circuit, The Wizard has reached a Final and a Semi-Final since October. Whitlock has consistently beat the players ranked lower than him. Of his last six defeats, three have come against Van Gerwen with two coming against Daryl Gurney.

Berry van Peer reached the Final of last years’ World Youth Championship but has struggled to produce anything since. He’s progressed past the second round in just one of the last ten Players Championship’s he’s competed in, and on the occasion he did, he was eliminated in the third round. On the Development Tour he’s struggled to pull up any trees and was even knocked out in the Second Round of this year’s World Youth Championship.

Cameron Menzies is one of the brightest prospects in the BDO and is ranked 6th. He’s performed to a decent level throughout the year and like most of his BDO counterparts, will be keen to make an impression.

In terms of outright bets, it’s worth noting that Gary Anderson has won ten of his last 12 ‘Best of 11’ leg matches by three or more legs. I expect this to be the case in a race to five too. As a result of this, there is scope to oppose him in terms of 180’s. Anderson averages a maximum every 3.8 legs since September and since October has hit a maximum every 5 legs on average. Simon Whitlock is playing well at the minute and since October averages a maximum every 3.95 legs. Ten of his last 23 ‘Race to Six’ games have seen ten or more legs. Should he contest more legs than Anderson, there is more opportunity for 180’s and thus the 6/4 about The Aussie to hit the Most 180’s in Group H draws appeal.

Outright Bets

  • Group A Most 180’s – Rob Cross @ 6/4
  • Group B Most 180’s – Gerwyn Price @ 5/2
  • Group D to Qualify – Darren Webster @ Evs
  • Group H Most 180’s – Simon Whitlock @ 6/4
  • Group H to Finish Bottom – Berry van Peer @ 7/10