DARTS analyst Andrew Francis (@ALeagueAndy) shares his verdict on the 3rd Quarter of the upcoming 2019 PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.
PDC World Darts Championship | 13th-29th December 2018 | Sky Sports
The second half of the draw for the World Championship is just as intriguing at the first with multiple event winners from 2018 involved, and a bit more of an open feel to things.
Here’s are the major players and a couple of tasty looking prices:
- PDC Order of Merit – 2
- Odds – 22/1 (SkyBet)
‘Voltage’ has had an incredible 2018, winning the World Championship on his first attempt, turning pro and rising to number two in the world, as well as picking up a WSD masters win, and making the final of two further competitions. It’s been a meteoric rise for Rob Cross who, just two years ago, was working as an electrician.
His stats in 2018 are very good with a 96.92 3-dart average and 15.52% of legs won in 12 darts of less. His outside percentage ranks highly too at 40.56% but sometimes his game suffers from what appears to be a lack of concentration.
He’s been placed in what looks like the easier quarter though and at 22/1 should be seriously considered to retain his title.
- PDC Order of Merit – 7
- Odds – 22/1 (Ladbrokes)
Mensur Suljovic has enjoyed the last 12 months, winning the German Masters and the Danish Open, as well as narrowly being beaten by Gary Anderson in the World Matchplay final. ‘The Gentle’ has solidified his place in the top 10 of the world and it goes to show how much he’s backed as he shares the odds with reigning champion, Cross.
The Austrian native leads the way in this quarter in terms of 3-dart average, although there is only 0.41 of a point separating him and Michael Smith, who is third in those standings and all indications are that this quarter will be incredibly tight.
You’d have to assume that a potential 4th Round tie with Smith could well decide who makes the semi-finals and Suljovic has all the tools to go the distance.
- PDC Order of Merit – 10
- Odds – 14/1 (Bet365)
Michael Smith is one of the most well-liked players on the tour and there are many people who believe he is destined to be world number one sooner rather than later.
This could be his true breakout event after losses in the final of the Premier League of Darts, German Open and Melbourne Masters but a win in Shanghai showed he does have the ability to see off an opponent.
His stats are right up there with a 96.56 3-dart average over the year but his outshot percentage fails to reach 40% with finishing off the job being a bit of an issue for ‘The Bully Boy’ all year. I really fancy Smith to produce the goods here though and I think his 14/1 is a good price.
Dimitri Van Den Bergh
- PDC Order of Merit – 35
- Odds – 66/1 (SkyBet)
‘The Dreammaker’ is known for his dancing on stage but he’s the reigning youth champion, successfully defending his title recently and some impressive performances throughout the year have put him as a serious contender to make an impression at Alexandra Palace.
He’s got the highest percentage of games won in 12 legs or under in this quarter (by a considerable distance) at 17.76 whilst his 3-dart average sees him fifth overall in Quarter 3.
His order of merit ranking sees him start in the 1st Round but that could go in his favour as he looks to build form before taking on the seeds in the later rounds.
Jeffrey de Zwaan
- PDC Order of Merit – 44
- Odds – 125/1 (UniBet)
Another player who starts in the 1st Round but could really push on this year is Jeffrey de Zwaan. Only 22 but being able to boast multiple final 32 places at events this year and a hugely impressive World Matchplay semi-final appearance, ‘The Black Cobra’ is definitely seen as the future of Dutch darts.
His stats are also very impressive, lying fourth in this quarter in terms of a 3-dart average at 95.78 whilst also having the fourth-highest percentage of legs won in 12 darts or less, and the second highest outshot percentage at 41.36%.
If he can beat Nitin Kumar in the 1st Round (something he should be doing with considerable ease) he’ll set up a mouthwatering match with defending champion, Rob Cross where he’ll look to make a big impact.
- PDC Order of Merit – 61
- Odds – 1000/1 (Bet365)
Our first World Championship debutant to be previewed is Ryan Searle.
The Somerset native has a couple of final 32 appearances under his belt but the most impressive thing here is his stats, which see him lead the way in this quarter in three categories – his outshot percentage lies at 43.48% whilst he hits 100+ on his outshot 18% of the time. He loves a bullseye finish too, hitting the bullseye to win the leg 57.14% of the time.
It might be a stretch for Searle to win the event but he’s definitely worth keeping an eye on match by match.
3rd Quarter betting angle
Both have the ability to win the quarter but both will need to overcome the defending champion to do so. Beat Cross though and they could take it all the way and their odds should shorten considerably.