We think the PDC’s top 16 players have had enough time away from the oche. Despite the World Darts Championship drawing to an exciting close earlier this month, the best players currently on the circuit are back for yet another competition – and we’re expecting an action-packed weekend in Milton Keynes.
Michael van Gerwen heads into this event as the 4/7 favourite – and rightly so.
The Dutchman won a staggering 25 titles in 2016, and picked up where he left off since the turn of the year – scooping his second World Championship trophy.
But we’re not looking at the outright markets today. Instead we turn our attentions to the First Round of fixtures.
So if you’re interested in a four-fold paying just over 11/2 to get your darting weekend off to a flyer, then keep reading…
Dave Chisnall to beat Raymond van Barneveld
This one does have the potential to be a banana skin for the acca, with both players being priced up at 10/11. But we’re backing Chizzy to prevail.
The world number seven enjoyed a fine run at Ally Pally, eventually losing in the quarters to Gary Anderson.
And while Raymond van Barneveld made it all the way to the semis, his confidence took a huge knock at the Worlds, and that’s something Chisnall can take advantage of.
Adrian Lewis to beat Kim Huybrechts
Lewis has a point to prove this year.
2016 was arguably his worst 12 months in the sport, and he’ll likely mean business against a player who wiped the floor with him on this stage last year – coincidentally in the first round.
Of the last 10 meetings between this pair, Aidy has lost just one, enjoying two previous Masters victories over The Hurricane.
Nine places separate these two in the PDC Order of Merit, and victory over the Belgian will likely see Lewis face James Wade on Sunday.
James Wade to beat Robert Thornton
The statistics don’t look good for Thornton here.
In each of the last three Masters events, Wade has won each of his first round matches. The Thorn, on the other hand, has lost every single time.
The Machine comfortably won both meetings between this pair last year, and we’re backing the world number five to get his year off to the perfect start with yet another win – certainly at 3/10.
Jelle Klaasen to beat Mensur Suljovic
Both players will have expected to have done better at Ally Pally, with Klaasen losing in the third round while Suljovic lost in the second.
On paper, this is the closest match of the round, given that the pair are ranked eighth and ninth respectively in the Order of Merit.
But while the rankings favour the Austrian, it’s Dutchman Klaasen who we’re backing at 8/11.
He’s climbed four places in the rankings in the last 12 months, and he’ll want that run to continue throughout 2017.
For that to happen though, he’ll have to start performing on a much more consistent basis.
He has it all to do if he’s to lift the Masters trophy this year, but victory over Suljovic would put him within three matches of doing exactly that.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing