We’re heading Down Under for another World Series of Darts event this weekend, as we dissect the quarter-finals of the 2023 New Zealand Darts Masters.
We’ve already had two upsets with local boys getting through from the last 16: Peter Wright lost to Jonny Tata and Dimitri van den Bergh was danced out of the door by Haupai Puha.
But can thunder strikes two, three or even four times in Hamilton?
Or one of the more recognisable names on the PDC Tour grab the trophy?
Let’s take a look at Saturday’s quarter-finals:
Rob Cross -3.5 handicap to beat Jonny Tata at Evens with bet365
Jonny Tata stunned Peter Wright 6-3 in the opening round, but that doesn’t tell the full tale of the story.
Wright and Tata both averaged a miserly 84, with Tata being the ‘least worst’ of the two and edging the Scot on his doubling.
Rob Cross wasn’t playing his best either on Friday, but has the higher ceiling to reach Down Under.
“Voltage” can race to a match win in rapid fashion once he’s up and running.
Michael Smith to beat Damon Heta at 8/15 with bet365
This is the pick of the quarter-finals, with Damon Heta strengthening his argument as being one of the most improved players on the tour over the past year.
But Michael Smith is still the world number one and reigning world champion.
“Bully Boy” edged past Darren Penhall 6-5 in the opener, and will be enthused by his head-to-head record against Heta, currently leading 3-1.
This one could go all the way, but we expect Smith to come out on top.
Nathan Aspinall Over 3.5 180s vs Haupai Puha at 6/4 with bet365
Aspinall and Puha were two of the best performers in the opening round, both averaging in the 90s and looking good on their doubles.
Aspinall is the rightful favourite, but Puha could stretch this one out for a few legs.
This opens up the maximums market for big hitting Nathan Aspinall.
If we see over 10 legs, then over 3.5 maximums for the favourite isn’t a big ask.
Danny Noppert +2.5 handicap vs Gerwyn Price at 4/6 with bet365
Noppert is in New Zealand on merit and can’t be slept on by the “Iceman”.
He’s not beaten Price since 2020, but has been enjoying life on tour, winning last year’s UK Open and reaching two major semi-finals and three quarter-finals.
Price averaged 98 against Simon Whitlock, but we’re expecting Noppert to run him closer than the “Wizard” managed.
Noppert with a 2.5 leg head start provides value.