Back the Hammer to be celebrating at the Grand Slam

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Andy Hamilton offers darts’ punters excellent value as he bids to lift his first major crown at the Wolverhampton Civic Centre.

The Hammer is an excellent price at 11/2 for Grand Slam of Darts glory, which puts him third in the betting behind the two Dutch masters Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld.

It is the latter whom the 2011 World Championship runner-up must overcome in the semi if he wants to claim the grand prize and, at 13/8, he represents great value in the match betting market, as well as the outright.

Barney played brilliantly to dump Wesley Harms out of the competition in the last-16 and he was imperious once more in the quarter-final stage overcoming another fellow countryman in Christian Kist.

If his confidence wasn’t high enough, it will be further boosted by the fact that one of the most one-sided rivalries in darts is tipped in his favour with 16 wins from 18 meetings. You have to go back to 2006 to find the Hammer’s last triumph over the man standing in his way of a shot at the Grand Slam title.

However, Barney can be somewhat unreliable at the oche, often failing to deliver when expected; see James Richardson at the most recent World Championship.

One thing you can never slight Hamilton for is his dogged determination and, if he can hamper the van Barneveld express in the early exchanges, the Dutchman’s self-doubting tendencies could easily drive him to implosion.

If he can see off Barney, a date with Mighty Mike seems on the cards and, as hot as he is right now, if the Hammer can reproduce the spectacular performance that saw him squeeze past Gary Anderson in, arguably, the match of the tournament he has nothing to fear from the 8/13 tournament favourite.

Van Gerwen despatched of him in the quarter-final of the World Grand Prix in their most recent meeting, but the Hammer had won three of their four clashes prior to this and has bettered him 12-9 in the 21 matches they’ve contested.

Unlike Barney, van Gerwen is very self-assured when throwing his darts and psychological warfare will be less effective here.

However, if the Hammer can stifle his pace and break up his rhythm, as well as finish with the same unerring accuracy that saw him oust Anderson, he’s well in with a chance of Grand Slam glory and see his backers collect a huge dividend.

All odds and markets accurate as fop publication’s time and date

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