Raymond van Barneveld’s popularity and success may have been eclipsed by fellow Dutchman Michael van Gerwen in recent years.
But ‘Barney’ remains an interesting value pick at odds of 25/1 to clinch a sixth world title and a first since his 2007 Ladbrokes World Darts Championship triumph.
Although he remains a mercurial figure, Van Barneveld has shown enough class this year to suggest that a run to the final of the upcoming edition of darts’ showpiece event may not be too fanciful a proposition.
Exiting the Grand Slam of Darts, a trophy he was defending, at the group stage has been the only major blip of an otherwise consistent second-half of the year.
Landing the Irish version of the Players Championship in October gave The Man a much-needed confidence boost and a narrow 10-9 defeat to Adrian Lewis in the semi-finals of The Masters was certainly no disgrace.
Van Barneveld will face world number 48 Jamie Lewis in the first round of the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship and should have few problems progressing.
Sponsors Ladbrokes have put up 1/10 for a Barney victory and 4/5 for a three-set whitewash – prices that reflect the disparity between the pair.
Either Jamie Caven, a player Van Barneveld dispatched of en route to success in Dublin, or Jelle Klaasen would then lie in wait before a potential third round clash with Dave Chisnall.
There’s no doubt that ‘Chizzy’ would pose a serious test, however fans of the Dutch maestro needn’t be too concerned.
Van Barneveld’s recent 6-3 win against Chisnall in The Masters highlights his upward trajectory with the latter’s first round elimination in the Players Championship Finals a sore point.
Of course, arch-rival and perennial nemesis Phil Taylor will prove difficult to beat if the pair lock horns once again.
But if producing his best, Van Barneveld is more than capable of re-emerging as one of the game’s elite performers, with even the 12/1 for 2013’s beaten semi-finalist to go one better and make the last two making plenty of appeal.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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