Darts guru Ben Levene (@benlevene96) looks ahead to day two of the 2018 World Matchplay from Winter Gardens.
Daryl Gurney v Steve West | Sunday 22nd July 2018, 16:00 | Sky Sports
Daryl Gurney has progressed massively since his 2016 World Championship defeat to Michael Van Gerwen at Ally Pally. Super Chin has since won a TV major in the form of the Grand Prix and has cemented himself as World Number 5. He reached the semi-finals on this stage last year.
However, Gurney isn’t in the greatest form at the moment. He produced below 90 averages in quarter-final losses at both this months World Series events. He seems to be forcing things, and travelling from Vegas, to Shanghai, to Dublin, then Blackpool is not the most ideal preparation to find form.
Steve West is tricky opponent. He reached the quarter-final of the World Championship back in December, and has reached the final four of the last two stage events he’s competed in.
West beat Gurney 6-1 on stage and is a big 9/4 to spring a surprise. Of course, Gurney brings the more pedigree, but on the Pro Tour this year their averages read 93.44 and 93.25 respectively. West’s seasonal stage average is 92.11, while Gurney’s is 94.81.
Gurney’s is the most likely winner and over the format his class could show. However, the pair’s head-to-head record in a race to six reads 2-2. As has already been mentioned, West won their last meeting 6-1 on stage.
Rather than backing the upset outright, I’m happy to take the 8/5 about West in the race to six legs.
Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting | Sunday 22nd July 2018, 20:30 | Sky Sports
Two-time World Champion Gary Anderson has enjoyed limited success at Winter Gardens. The Flying Scotsman has never got beyond the semi-final in Blackpool. With that being said, he had a similarly poor record at the UK Open, and picked up that title earlier this year.
Now and then, Anderson will fail to find his range. Of course, he has the ability to throw in a 110 average too, but like Gurney he’s been away on the World Series. Anderson notoriously dislikes the travelling. He doesn’t compete on the Euro Tour for that reason alone.
Anderson is also known to be a slow starter. He’s not a fan of big practice, and such is his natural ability, he often finds his range after a few legs.
With that in mind, perhaps a revitalised Stephen Bunting can land a blow early on.
The Bullet has had a decent year. He reached the semi-final of the European Matchplay at the start of July, and blitzed Michael Smith 6-0 on stage back in May.
He is capable of punishing any Anderson errors early on. Bunting has gone out in five turns or fewer in 65% of his legs on stage this year.
At 15/8 he’s given a 35% chance in a race to three legs. If The Bullet wins the throw for bull, then it may not even require a break of throw.
There is very little between Anderson and Bunting’s 180 hitting on the Pro Tour, and in stage events this year their rates are identical. With that in mind, the 2/1 about Bunting to hit the most 180’s offers a spot of value.
Raymond Van Barneveld v Kyle Anderson | Sunday 22nd July 2018, 22:30 | Sky Sports
The final game of Day Two sees Kyle Anderson take on Raymond Van Barneveld.
Barney hasn’t played a competitive darts match for over 30 days. While that cannot undermine the multiple decades of experience he boasts, trying to jump straight back into things at a venue where you’ve historically struggled leaves you vulnerable.
Van Barneveld’s Winter Gardens record over the last six years reads four Last 16 and two Last 32 exits. In the opening round in the last three years he’s averaged 89, 93, and most recently 92.
On the Pro Tour this year Van Barneveld has averaged 95.69 compared to Anderson’s 92.56. Their 2018 stage averages are 95.67 to 93.49.
If Anderson can get in front early on, we may see Barney flustered. There is little between the pairs numbers, and given the question marks we can pose at Van Barneveld, I’m happy to be on The Original at 19/10.
Daryl Gurney v Steve West – Steve West to win the race to six legs (8/5 Marathon)
Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting – Stephen Bunting to win the race to three legs (15/8 Marathon)
Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting – Stephen Bunting to hit the most 180′ (2/1 Sky Bet)
Raymond Van Barneveld v Kyle Anderson – Kyle Anderson to win (19/10 Marathon)