The second round of the PDC World Darts Championship continues in the evening session inside Alexandra Palace in London on Friday and it is the night that the very big guns come out to play on what looks a brilliant session.
The winners of the last four world titles are on show on Friday evening and around them we have two other major champions and a couple more class acts so we should be in for something of a treat here.
Mensur Suljovic vs Robert Thornton
Mensur Suljovic: Round 1 beat Kevin Painter 3-0 – Ave: 93.03 180s: 1
Robert Thornton: Round 1 beat Brendan Dolan 3-1 – Ave: 98.67 180s: 6
Head to Head: 8-5
The first match of the evening looks to be a cracking contest. It is a repeat of the 2015 World Grand Prix semi-final as Mensur Suljovic takes on Robert Thornton over the best of seven sets for a place in the last 16.
Suljovic has had a wonderful year on the circuit which included winning a TV event in the Champions League but he struggled for large spells against Kevin Painter and he will need a significant improvement here. Thornton produced possibly his best TV performance since he won that World Grand Prix in the first round when he took care of Brendan Dolan.
A repeat of that would give Thornton every chance of winning here and at a shade under 3/1 there is plenty of value on him in this match. I’ll have a small piece of that and a bigger bit of the Thorn to hit more than 6.5 180s. He hit six in four sets against Dolan in a match that had no rhythm like this one.
You would think this will have six sets in it so he would only need to average one a set with one on top somewhere if there are six sets. In their World Grand Prix semi-final he hit 11 in six sets with a double start so everything suggests the Scot can hit seven 180s in this one.
Gary Anderson vs Paul Lim
Gary Anderson: Round 1 beat Jeff Smith 3-0 – Ave: 100.93 180s: 7
Paul Lim: Round 1 beat Mark Webster 3-2 – Ave: 95.98 180s: 6
Head to Head: 1-0
The second match of the night looks to be a bit of a mismatch as the twice champion Gary Anderson takes on a legend of the game in Paul Lim who really rolled back the years earlier in the tournament.
I guess the big question here is whether Paul Lim can go to the well and come up with the goods once again. If he can then this should be another entertaining watch but I have my concern over whether he will be able to or not. The other question is how Anderson will go if the crowd are on Lim’s side which you would think they will be.
All of the lines are fairly high and would probably need a fifth set to have any chance of coming in. Normally I wouldn’t fancy a fifth set here but if the crowd get stuck in we might see one. I’ll sit this out rather than guess.
Michael van Gerwen vs James Wilson
Michael van Gerwen: Round 1 beat Christian Kist 3-1 – Ave: 106.17 180s: 4
James Wilson: Round 1 beat Krzysztof Ratajski 3-1 – Ave: 97.94 180s: 5
Head to Head: 4-0
The night concludes with the defending champion Michael van Gerwen continuing his title defence when he takes on James Wilson for the right to face Gerwyn Price in the last 16 after Christmas.
The Dutch ace was in blinding form in the first round when he saw off a very competent Christian Kist in a ruthless performance but after an edgy first set James Wilson was equally as classy and as convincing and he will carry hope into this second round match.
There will be a stack of 180s in this match. The overall number of them will determine how long Wilson can keep MVG on stage for. The 180s line is 12.5 and if Wilson can take this to a fifth set I would expect that to be covered but I have my doubts as to whether he can.
One bet I do like is for MVG to hit a checkout over 120.5. It is a real risk from the bookmakers giving the player the 121 these days. Van Gerwen has covered this line in every World Championship match he has played since the second round in 2015 apart from the first round last year so he has plenty of previous and can take out a big finish here.
Back R.Thornton to beat M.Suljovic for a 3/10 stake at 3.60 with Bwin
Back him here:
Back R.Thornton – Over 6.5 180s for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Bet365
WON – Back M.van Gerwen Highest Checkout – Over 120.5 for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Betfair
Back him here: