The Lakeside World Darts Championship gets underway this weekend and it is the strong Dutch contingency that is expected to make waves in the BDO showpiece.
Christian Kist will be bidding to retain the title he won for the first time in the 2012 tournament, but the fact he hasn’t been seeded will make his chances far harder and his 7/1 price should probably be swerved.
A more attractive proposition is the prodigious talent that is Wesley ‘Sparky’ Harms.
At 14/1, the former electrician is quite a way back in the betting, but this should not put potential backers off.
He may have only been playing darts for eight years, but he already has a BDO International Open title to his name, as well as lighting up the English, Swiss and French Opens with victories in 2012.
In addition to this, he reached the last four in his maiden Lakeside venture before being edged out 6-5 by Tony O’Shea.
He made a good impression in the Grand Slam of Darts in November too. He qualified from a tough group that was expected to be dominated by PDC duo Wes Newton and Terry Jenkins, but his 5-2 defeat of the latter enabled him to reach the last-16 against the odds.
Unfortunately, a Raymond van Barneveld-shaped brick wall halted any further progression but, encouragingly, he still managed to take a few legs from the eventual winner of the tournament in a 10-4 loss.
The experience will definitely work in Harms’ favour and, having acquired several titles on the BDO circuit this term, he’s proved himself capable of beating the men he will be competing with at the Lakeside.
Another aspect working in his favour is a relatively kind draw.
As number nine seed, he could have been given a much tougher prospective last-16 opponent than Alan Norris, while his potential quarter-final tie with Stephen Bunting won’t phase him too much either, even if he is the number one seed – he was the man Harms beat to claim the International Open title in 2011.
All things considered, Sparky is more than capable of becoming the second Dutchman in as many years to reign supreme at the Lakeside and, should you back him early doors, his triumph will ensure a large profit for punters.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date