2018 PDC World Darts Championship Day 1 Betting Preview
Ben Levene (@benlevene96) analyses Day 1 of the 2018 PDC World Darts Championship.
2018 PDC World Darts Championship Day 1 Betting Preview
Watch: Sky Sports Darts
Day One of the 2018 PDC World Darts Championship begins this Thursday with an evening session consisting of 4 games 1st round games. The Schedule is as follows (times can change depending on the previous game). The First Round takes a best of five sets format.
19:15 – Steve Beaton v William O’Connor
20:15 – James Wilson v Krzystof Ratajski
21:15 – Michael Van Gerwen v Christian Kist
22:15 – Gerwyn Price v Ted Evetts
Steve Beaton v William O’Connor
The Bronze Adonis appears at ‘Ally Pally’ for another year and comes into the Worlds’ on the back of a Quarter-Final at the Players Championship finals. However, that run looks somewhat less impressive when you delve deeper. He averaged less than 90 in three of his four matches and his only average over the mark came in the opening round race to six legs where he averaged 93. He looked to struggle over the longer format, averaging 87.52 and 88.69 in the last 16 and Quarter-Final, hitting just 29.41% and 27.59% of doubles in those two matches.
O’Connor is a decent player. He looked good at the Players Championship where he beat both James Wilson and Dave Chisnall in a race to six legs. He lost 10-9 to Justin Pipe in a last leg decider in the last 16 and looked in good nick. In October, the Irishman has beaten Peter Wright, Joe Cullen, Vincent van der Voort at Players Championship events. Since August he’s reached a Semi-Final and Quarter-Final at Players Championship events, so we can clearly see he is more than capable.
O’Connor averaged at least 90 in all three of his matches at the Players Championship, hitting at least 30% of his doubles in each of those games too. 53 year-old Beaton has the obvious edge in terms of experience but with regard to raw ability, there is less in it than the prices suggest.
Rather than backing O’Connor for the win, I’m happy to take him with a +1.5 sets start. This sees a winner paid if the Irishman wins at least two sets. I expect this game to go a long way and in a final set, Beaton probably would hold the edge with his wealth of know how. Over 16.5 legs in the game is 8/11 and looks a solid bet given neither play will run away with this.
James Wilson v Krzysztof Ratajski
The Bookies have this one as a 10/11 split but for me the edge lies with Ratajski. The Pole convincingly won the BDO World Masters in September, beating Glen Durrant, Cameron Menzies and Mark McGeeney along the way, all of whom competed at the Grand Slam, with the former two causing problems with some PDC regulars.
Ratajski has caused problems on the Euro Tour this year, reaching the Quarter-Final of the Dutch Masters in September before losing to Peter Wright. His last four Euro Tour defeats have come at the hands of Peter Wright (twice), Simon Whitlock and Gerwyn Price, all of whom are established top-16 players with Premier League hopes. Since September he’s beaten the likes of Jelle Klaasen, Steve Lennon and Robert Thornton and has averaged at least 90 in 17 of his last 18 matches on the Euro Tour, averaging 89.89 on the exception. He’s thrown two ton-plus averages in there too.
James Wilson looked great in patches at the Grand Slam and is clearly a tricky player to face. He has commendable scoring power and is a strong maximum hitter. Wilson hit 22 maximums across 33 legs at the Grand Slam, that’s a rate of a 180 every 1.6 legs. He’s just 1/4 in the 180 market. The problem for Wilson is his consistently. Despite having moments at the Grand Slam, he failed to put together a run of consistent legs over the best of 9 format, so it will be even more of a challenge over a 5 set format. Over the last 12 months, Wilson has lost six of eight matches in televised tournaments, with victories coming against non-professionals Gary Eastwood and Mark McGeeney. Nonetheless, Wilson has reached a commendable two Semi-Finals’ and a Final in Players Championship events in 2017.
A good game beckons here, it’s one that could go quite a distance. Given Wilson’s maximum prowess but Ratajski’s consistency, I’m drawn to the Wilson Most 180’s/Ratajski Win match double offered by Sky Bet at 7/4.
Michael Van Gerwen v Christian Kist
It’s difficult to see anything other than an MVG 3-0 win here. Van Gerwen has averaged over 100 in his last 14 matches, is 29-games unbeaten and has won each of the last 4 televised tournaments.
Kist on the other hand, is really struggling with arthritis and has averaged under 80 in each of his last 3 matches. Van Gerwen is the far superior player.
It’s usually difficult to side with MVG but going under on the total legs allows us to be with him. The line is set at 12.5 with some bookies, effectively Van Gerwen can lose up to three legs. If MVG goes two sets up then he’ll reel off the third set 3-0. I really can’t see the opening two going 3-2 3-2.
We can also factor in Van Gerwen’s drive and relentlessness as a perfectionist. He’s simply the best player around and is quoted at a similar price to win the tournament as he is to this at least 9-3 in legs. For me this looks the bet of the day.
Gerwyn Price v Ted Evetts
At the start of 2017, Gerwyn Price looked like he was set to make huge strides in the world of professional darts. Price reached the Final of the UK Open, two Players Championship Semi-Finals and a Euro Tour Semi-Final prior to August, as well as holding his own amongst the best on the World Series. Things have tailed off lately, but with an outside chance of a Premier League spot, The Iceman will know the magnitude of bringing his a-game over the next month.
Ted Evetts is a bit of an unknown quantity when it comes to playing on TV. On the floor events this year, Evetts has reached three Semi-Finals, a Final and won an event on the Development Tour. He also hit a nine-darter in February at a UK Open qualifier. Although a small sample, Evetts appeared at the Grand Slam of Darts last year and grew into the tournament. Evetts averaged 100 in a 5-3 loss to Peter Wright but we do have to acknowledge the short format.
Given the uncertainties, there’s no bet from here.
- 2pt Van Gerwen v Kist Under 12.5 legs @ 4/6
- 1pt O’Connor + 1.5 sets @ 8/11
- 1pt Beaton v O’Connor Over 16.5 legs @ 8/11
- 1pt Ratajski Win @ 10/11
- 0.5pt Wilson Most 180’s/Ratajski Win @ 7/4