He may not have had the best of years, but it looks like Michael Smith has found some form at the perfect time as we head into three weeks of top tungsten action.
Bully Boy defeated Ricky Evans 3-2 last night to progress to the second-round of the PDC World Darts Championship for the fourth successive year, despite being 2-1 down.
And his figures from last night’s match suggest he could go a long way in this competition.
He topped the 180’s table last night, hitting seven maximums – that’s two more than reigning world champ Gary Anderson could manage – and handled the pressure of the pre-match favourite tag well.
A 143 checkout also ensured he had the best finish of the night, while boasting a steady 96.78 average, again a higher figure than any other player.
Up next for Smith will be either Mervyn King or Steve West, with the former some 11 places behind the 26-year-old in the PDC Order of Merit, and the latter 34 places behind him.
He’ll be confident of securing a victory over either of those potential opponents, and that’ll set him up for a meeting with James Wade, Ronny Huybrechts, Steve Beaton or Devon Petersen.
Smith narrowly lost out on a place in the semi-final of this tournament last year, but the world number 11 will be quietly confident about going at least one better this time out.
And at 80/1 to lift the trophy, there may well be some value in backing Bully Boy each-way.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing