The Pie Man set to rise to the challenge at Ally Pally
Alexandra Palace opens its doors for the sixth night of the Ladbrokes Darts World Championships and our news team expects the run of upsets to abate for at least one day. Below is a 3/1 treble involving the best of the evening’s action.
Andy Smith to beat Steve Brown @ 8/11
Andy Smith’s personal website boasts that he has been in the world’s top-20 for the last three years, a claim they will no longer be able to make if the ‘Pieman’ doesn’t perform this Christmas at Ally Pally.
The 46-year-old has been largely disappointing this season, dropping down to 26th in the PDC’s Order of Merit, and he will see this competition as a chance to go into the new campaign on the rise.
Smith matched his 2006 last 16 finish at the World Championships two years ago and will be confident of getting half the job done at the expense of opponent Steve Brown.
‘The Bomber’ is also no stranger to the biggest oches in the game having progressed past this stage in 2011, but he has struggled to make any impact this year, not venturing further than the last 16 of any event bar a Grand Slam qualifier last month.
Smith, on the other hand, has at least threatened this term, reaching the quarter-finals in five of his events. In addition, he has plenty of winning experience over his younger rival – in their six meetings Smith has triumphed four times, although half of those encounters have required a deciding leg.
Brown will cite their last meeting where the 32-year-old won convincingly, however, Smith said before that Players Championship in Ireland that he was not fully fit and so little should be read into the 6-1 scoreline.
As a result strong preference is for the popular ‘Pieman’ to give the Wood Green faithful what they want…more of the Pieman.
Justin Pipe (-1.5 Sets) to beat Arron Monk @ 8/13
Justin Pipe has frustrated many into defeat with his laborious action and Arron Monk looks set to be the latest in line.
Pipe has climbed to 11th in the world following a hugely consistent couple of years where he has routinely made it to the latter stages of the biggest events.
Semi-final appearances at the World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals have consolidated a series of impressive performances since 2011 and ‘The Force’ looks certain to make it to the second week and beyond.
His opponent Monk literally has darts in his blood but has failed to build on the promise threatened when beating the now Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen in the final of the PDC U21 World Championship. Monk will be hoping he can follow the incredible trajectory chartered by the Dutchman he beat that day but up until now there has been no real sign of that happening.
Whilst Monk’s former World Masters champion father, Colin still believes his progeny can go all the way to the top, the reality is his son is far from regularly reaching the level that could trouble Pipe, who is now a bonafide top player.
Monk actually won their last meeting in a UK Open preliminary qualifier back in the spring to claw their personal record back to 3-1 in favour of Pipe.
However, that win is unlikely to become a new trend in their history and the 8/13 available that the senior player confirms his superiority by winning either 3-0 or 3-1 giving up 1.5 sets on the handicap looks more than fair.
Adrian Lewis to beat Dennis Smith 3-0 @ 1/2
Two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis is long odds-on to beat veteran thrower Dennis Smith, and rightfully so.
‘Jackpot’ has roared back into form at the back-end of the season, making the final of the Masters before following that with a semi-final run at the Grand Slam of Darts.
Just those results alone are more than Smith has achieved in his entire career and it looks destined to be a short night’s work for the man they call ‘Smiffy’.
Their head-to-head record doesn’t offer any encouragement for the underdog either. In their five meetings Smith has only triumphed once back in 2010 and the most the Hungerford resident could hope for is taking the match beyond the minimum distance of three sets.
That looks beyond Smith though as his opponent has shown in the last few seasons that he reserves his best arrows for the biggest stage and so the 1/2 available about the world number three winning in straight sets looks the best option.
The 2011 and 2012 winner has dropped sets in his opening matches for the past two years, however, it is almost impossible to see how Smith will be able to win three legs in a set before Lewis does.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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