World Matchplay: Back Snakebite to see Day 1 out in style

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DARTS expert Boring Winners (@BoringWinners) shares his views on the opening day of action at the World Matchplay.

World Matchplay Darts | 22nd July 2017 | Sky Sports

Day 1 of the World Matchplay sees two of the leading fancies in Peter Wright and Gary Anderson step up to the oche along with one of our outright tips, Michael Smith.

There are four matches in total and I’m predicting three will go according to plan but I’m staying away from James Wade v Darren Webster as it’s one of those games where I wouldn’t be surprised with any outcome. Neither player is a consistent 180-hitter either so that market is also a no-go, for me.

The three bets I’ve gone for are all very similar and I’m taking advantage of the Request A Bet and #YourOdds markets from William Hill and SkyBet to get good value as there isn’t a huge amount of wriggleroom in the standard markets.

Michael Smith v Steve West | Saturday 19:15 | Sky Sports

First up I’m backing Michael Smith -2.5 handicap and Michael Smith to throw Over 3 180s at evens with SkyBet’s Request A Bet market- for this bet to land, Smith has to win 10-7 or greater and must hit four or more 180s.

Last year Smith beat former World Championship finalist Simon Whitlock in the first round 10-6. Whitlock averaged 94 that day and was still beaten by Smith by four legs.

In Steve West’s last 5 European performances, he’s averaged 86,100, 93, 90 and 90 but these were all over shorter formats, so you’d expect in a format nearly twice as long that those averages would drop a good bit.

West has competed in four European events this year losing in Round 1 on three occasions and has also competed in seven Players Championship events, losing in the first round of action on six occasions.

Smith is in much better form than he was last year; he’s made two finals and two semi-finals in his last four European outings. In his last four games he’s hit 10 180s in 38 legs of play so he averages a 180 every 3.8 legs based on recent form, which hasn’t been as prolific as he can be.

But that form still suggests he’ll hit four 180s in 15 legs should the match finish 10-5. I think the big stage will bring him on more and the 180s will fly in.

Gary Anderson v Christian Kist | Saturday 20:40 | Sky Sports

Next up, I’m taking advantage of SkyBet’s Request A Bet markets by backing Gary Anderson -3.5 handicap and Gary Anderson to throw Over 3 180s at 11/10 – for this selection to land Anderson must win 10-6 or greater and hit four or more 180s.

‘The Flying Scotsman’ has been a tad inconsistent lately but he still should be way too strong for Kist. Anderson won in the 1st Round here last year 10-1 and averaged 101 on that occasion.

In his last five matches, the Scot has averaged 104, 99, 102, 91 and 109. Even his terrible performance against Raymond van Barneveld where he averaged 91 should be way too much for Kist. Kist has averaged 88, 91, 92, 88 and 92 in his last five encounters.

Kist has not made it past the 2nd Round in any of his European Tour events this year and I think he’ll struggle against Anderson here.

Gary can be one of the best 180 hitters around. He’s had two poor 180 games in his last five outings – both against RVB – but if you exclude them, he’s hit nine 180s in 24 legs ,which is an average of a 180 every 2.5 legs.

So even if Gary whitewashes Kist 10-0, you’d still expect him to hit four 180’s.

Peter Wright v James Wilson | Saturday 21:30 | Sky Sports

Finally, I’m liking the 11/10 from William Hill’s #YourOdds markets on Peter Wright -3.5 handicap and Peter Wright to throw Over 3 180s – for this bet to land, Wright must win 10-6 or greater and hit four or more 180s.

‘Snakebite’ won in the 1st Round here last year 10-5 against Joe Cullen and averaged 100. Wright has had a great season too; he’s won the UK Open, made the final of the Premier League and had six match darts to win it, so he’ll have his eyes on nothing less than a big major title.

Peter has also been cleaning up on the European Tour, winning events 3, 4 and just earlier this month 8. These European events were best to six legs – in his latest win he won all five games by 3+ legs.

Wright beat Mervyn King 6-2, Mensur Suljovic 6-3 and Dave Chisnall 6-1 – all three are top players inside the top-20 who were beat comfortably, so why shouldn’t he beat 35th world ranking James Wilson by a huge margin?

In his last 5 European appearances the highest average Wilson put up was 94 over a short format with two averages in the low 80s.

I think Wright is a lot better on his 180s then many think. In his last four games he’s hit 15 180s over 43 legs, which is an average of a 180 every 2.8 legs. So based on this average you would expect at least four 180s here.

Best Bets

Michael Smith v Steve West – Michael Smith -2.5 handicap and Michael Smith to throw Over 3 180s (10/11 William Hill)

Gary Anderson v Christian Kist – Gary Anderson -3.5 handicap and Gary Anderson to throw Over 3 180s (11/10 Skybet)

Peter Wright v James Wilson – Peter Wright -3.5 handicap and Peter Wright to throw Over 3 180s (11/10 William Hill)

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