We’ve barely drawn breath from the Darts Grand Prix and yet we are already off to Dortmund for the 2022 European Championship.
Rob Cross is the defending champion from a thrilling 2021 edition where he edged past the ever-dangerous Michael van Gerwen in the final, but has been handed a nightmare opening round fixture against James Wade.
Michael van Gerwen (5/1 with bet365), Gerwyn Price (7/1 with William Hill) and Peter Wright (7/1 with bet365) are the three favourites coming into this tournament, but at 11/1 with bet365, many will be backing the chances of Michael Smith to land his maiden TV PDC title.
Play gets underway on Thursday evening, so let’s take a look at some of the best opening round tips:
8.30pm - Nathan Aspinall to beat Josh Rock at 10/11 with bet365
Aspinall and Rock are both priced the same for this opening round fixture, which raises one or two eyebrows.
Sure, Josh Rock has impressed in a recent climb up the PDC rankings, but to put the 21-year-old alongside Aspinall seems a little presumptuous – opening up real value in backing the “Asp”.
Aspinall is fresh off a final loss at the World Grand Prix and is in fine form. A 10/11 shout to beat the inexperienced Northern Irishman on the big stage is value underlined.
9pm - Michael Smith to beat Karel Sedlacek -2.5 handicap at 5/6 with bet365
“When will Michael Smith win a TV major?” is one of the hottest questions in world darts.
“Bully Boy” is a seven-time runner-up at majors, continuing to fall at the final hurdle, but looks re-born – to some degree – in 2022.
Smith has been handed a reasonable opening round tie in Czech player Karel Sedlacek, ranked 84 in the world, and the St. Helens player should fly through to round two.
A handicap of 2.5 in a race to six opens up results of 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 and 6-3 and he is more than capable in sweeping “Evil Charlie” aside.
9.30pm - Vincent van der Voort Most 180s vs Damon Heta at 3/1 with William Hill
Damon Heta is turning into a real danger in televised majors and is certainly worth an outside look in the outright markets.
But if we are talking pure power; pure ‘red bit’; pure maximum hitting, the Dutchman VVdV is well in the conversation.
Race to six matches can be over in a heartbeat, and despite van der Voort losing 6-2 to Heta at the weekend’s Players Championship, we think that 3/1 for the hart-hitting Dutchman to notch up the most 180s provides value.
Coupling that with the match win for the “Dutch Destroyer” can boost your odds significantly, but let’s just stick to the 3/1 pick for now.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.