There are two events left before the European Championship takes place and the first of those comes this weekend when the European Darts Grand Prix is played out over in Sindelfingen in Germany.
Ian White won this title last year and he is in the field looking to defend his title but with so many players chasing valuable pounds for their European Tour ranking in a bid to make it to the European Championship, he’ll have his work cut out to keep hold of his title.
2019 – Ian White
2018 – Michael van Gerwen
2017 – Peter Wright
2016 – Michael van Gerwen
2015 – Kim Huybrechts
2014 – Mervyn King
We are using the same format as last season for these tournaments which means that the last 32 of the tournament is played over two sessions of action on Saturday, with the last 16 on Sunday afternoon and the quarter finals on Sunday night. They are all the best-of-11 legs with the semi-finals also on Sunday evening. They are the best-of-13 and then the final in the same session is the best-of-15 legs. The draw has been pre-determined and is played in a straight knockout format.
It is the second seeded Gerwyn Price who is the leading seed in the top half of the tournament this weekend. The newly crowned World Grand Prix winner has been in exceptional form recently and will be looking for that to continue but there will be seven seeded players out to deny him the chance to win another title. They are the defending champion Ian White, Daryl Gurney, the new Premier League winner Glen Durrant, Michael Smith, Dave Chisnall, Joe Cullen and Jose De Sousa.
There is a mixture of good and unknown qualifiers in the draw this weekend. The big name is the winner of the previous European Tour event in Devon Petersen who has a blockbuster last 32 draw against Gerwyn Price. The other players on show in this section are Maik Kuivenhoven, Nico Kurz, former world champion Scott Waites, Derk Telnekes, Darius Labanauskas, Kim Huybrechts and the lesser known Ricardo Pietreczko.
This is the half of the draw where the former champion Michael van Gerwen will look to discover his tournament winning form from. If he is going to make it out of this bottom half of the draw then he is going to have his work cut out because there are some class acts in this part of the draw, led by Krzysztof Ratajski and Mensur Suljovic while the Premier League finalist Nathan Aspinall is also here. Rob Cross, James Wade, Jamie Hughes and Vincent van der Voort make up the seeds in this bottom half.
There are some decent qualifiers in this half of the draw. The Challenge Tour runner up David Evans is one of those while World Cup runner up Steve Lennon is also in the field this week. There is a place in the draw for Martijn Kleermaker as well with Adam Hunt, Gabriel Clemens, William O’Connor, Mervyn King and the home star Max Hopp making up the remainder of what looks like a very competitive draw this week.
I’ll plough in with a couple of bets over the course of the weekend with the main outright bet being on the man who scored for fun at the World Grand Prix but couldn’t finish his dinner in the form of Jose de Sousa. Now that de Sousa is seeded this week I think he has an excellent chance of a breakthrough weekend. He is one of the best scorers on the circuit and when he starts to feel comfortable on a big stage and hits his doubles on there like he does on the floor then he is going to be a leading player in the game for a good while. The Portuguese Man of Scores has a nice and kind opener and while it isn’t ideal that he could run into Gerwyn Price in the second round, should he come through that the draw opens right up. Given his seeded position I’m prepared to take a chance at 25/1.
The other one I’ll have a dabble on is Scott Waites who is more than capable of coming through any draw let alone this one. He’s in the very top quarter where the out of form Ian White and Daryl Gurney are the leading seeds along with the Premier League champion Glen Durrant and Michael Smith, another out of form player. Durrant may well feel a comedown from his Premier League win and you wouldn’t rely on any of the other three for a big run. Waites has White in the opener to the weekend action and if he can come through that the draw might just start to open up and at 150/1 it might be worth paying to see how well the former BDO champion fares here.
WON – Back J.de Sousa to win European Darts Grand Prix (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 26.00 with William Hill (1/2 1-2)
Back him here:
Back S.Waites to win European Darts Grand Prix (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 151.00 with Betfair (1/2 1-2)
Back him here: