The final batch of first round games are now upon us at the Darts World Matchplay and Dean Winstanley seems to have the best chances of springing a surprise in the night’s action as he steps up to the oche to face Gary Anderson.
Justin Pipe to beat Joe Cullen @ 4/11
Pipe has already beaten Cullen twice this year, the latest a semi-final 6-0 whitewash at the UK Open Qualifier.
Cullen has only triumphed once in their four career meetings, a tight 6-5 in a players’ event in Gibraltar in 2010 and he will need the crowd to be vocal if he is to have a chance.
Pipe is one of the slowest players on the circuit and will have to keep his nerve if heckled by the crowd in Blackpool, with the Match Play tending to be one of the best tournaments on the darts schedule for atmosphere.
This is also Cullen’s Match Play debut and Pipe’s experience can help carry him through to round two.
Wes Newton (-2.5 handicap) to beat James Hubbard @ 4/6
Hubbard has taken great strides on his first season on the full PDC tour and impressed at the recent European Tour Dusseldorf event when reaching the quarter finals through beating the likes of Andy Hamilton and Steve Brown.
He will also take confidence from victory in his latest start in a Youth Tour event.
However, Newton not only has masses more experience, he has home advantage given that he lives only a few miles away from the Winter Gardens.
Newton got a monkey off his back when advancing beyond the first round of the Match Play for the first time last year and can do so comfortably again.
Dean Winstanley to beat Gary Anderson @ 6/4
A fully fit Anderson should not only win this match, but be a serious contender for tournament victory. The problem is recent form suggests that he is not.
Anderson looked out of sorts for much of the recent Premier League, finishing bottom of the table from the eight entrants and alongside a lingering shoulder injury, he has also had eye problems of late.
Reports suggests that this has cleared up, but Winstanley can still profit from any rustiness, given the smooth transition he has made this year after moving from the BDO to the PDC ranks.
Dave Chisnall to beat Ronnie Baxter @ 1/3
Chisnall has reached the final in three of his last five tournaments and holds a 100 per cent winning record over Baxter, claiming victory in all four of their previous meetings.
The latest of these was only last month in a final in Crawley and he can repeat this success.
Most meetings tend to be fairly close and so there may be some value in backing Chisnall to progress 10-7 at 13/2.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.