PDC World Darts: Upset expected, but not for Van Barneveld

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The penultimate day of the PDC World Darts Championship is upon us, with several big-names in the seeded section of the draw already ruing what might have been having suffered early exits.

Simon Whitlock is the highest-profile sufferer but, if our best bets for the day’s action are anything to go by, he’ll be joined in the luck-cursing stakes by at least one respected player before the day is through:

Jamie Caven to beat Jason Hogg 3-1 @ 9/4

The seeds have been finding it tough against the qualifiers in the early stages of the competition, with Wes Newton and Justin Pipe both being knocked out in the first round by supposed tournament minnows.

It’s not expected that Caven suffers the same fate, although Scotsman Hogg, who booked a first-round spot by winning the PDC’s qualification tournament, can take a set off the man called Jabba.

Mensur Suljovic to beat Michael Smith @ 5/2

The Yugoslavian-born 42-year-old has been a fixture of the PDC World Championship, appearing in all but one of the tournament’s first rounds since 2008.

In that time he’s been quite adept at navigating the first hurdle, picking up some major scalps along the way.

He defeated Andy Smith and Peter Manley in his opening matches of the 2008 and 2009 tournaments and saw off both Michael van Gerwen and James Wade to reach the third round in 2011.

Raymond van Barneveld to beat Rowby-John Rodriguez 3-0 @ 2/1

Barney’s form has been curious of late, with the Dutchman interspersing flashes of his brilliant best with befuddling losses to lesser names.

However, if there’s one opponent that can help him relocate his darting groove it’s the 20-year-old Austrian he faces in the first round.

Rodriguez has played Barney once before and lost and comes into the tournament having won just three of his last seven outings. A first appearance on the big-stage is likely to stem his flow too.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.