While the key workers continue to do their wonderful service for the country and the rest of us follow the social distancing guidelines put in place to assist their great work, the folks at Modus Darts have put together an event which sees live sport taking place to ease some of the boredom during the lockdown.
The inaugural and hopefully (in terms of getting back to normality) only staging of the Modus Icons of Darts Live League gets underway on Monday and should offer up some decent entertainment for those of us who are missing our sporting fix.
Each day from Monday to Saturday five men will battle it out in a round robin group with the overall champion being determined on Saturday May 2. Matches will see the players compete over the best of 9 legs with each of them at home in front of a webcam throwing at their own individual dartboards. Scores can be found on Dart Connect and the tournament will be streamed on the bookmaker live streaming consoles and hopefully one of Modus’ social media sites.
Monday Line Up
The favourite for the opening day of action is the five-time world champion and recently retired Dutch star Raymond van Barneveld. There has been talks on the horizon of a huge match between the Dutch legend and Phil Taylor for charity later this month so you would think Barney would be relatively serious about this, if for nothing else for practice and getting used to how it all works and everything. He’s 7/4 to be the man to come through this group but this is short course darts which could make life tough for Barneveld.
Mark Webster is the other world champion who is in the field on the opening day. Webster hasn’t technically retired from the game but the fact he has dropped off the tour and is doing more and more media work is a testament to his career being in the twilight stage. He was a class act on his day and could have something to offer here, although how much he would have been pounding the board in recent times remains to be seen. The Welshman is 7/2 to top this group.
Paul Nicholson is in a similar boat to Webster in that he doesn’t have a Tour card anymore, but the fact that he went to Q-School to attempt to get one is a sign that he doesn’t believe his career is over. You only have to follow the social media feeds of ‘The Asset’ to know darts is engrained in him so in times of little other option I would imagine he would have been working relatively solidly on his game. This is a chance to show his worth again and I fancy he’ll go well as a result.
Dutch rising star Wessel Nijman is also in the field on Monday and he will be keeping some illustrious company here, in with players he won’t have been in with very much recently. That said, find me a Dutch youngster who isn’t amazing on a practice board and I’ll probably show you someone who isn’t into darts! He is the enigma in this quintet and at 11/2 there could be a little bit of value around the relatively unknown man who could break into the big time here.
The final man in the group is the BDO ace David Evans, a man who made it through to the quarter final at the o2 earlier in the year. In that event he showed that he can score with the best of them but wasn’t as solid on his doubles. You would think that the lack of pressure of playing in his practice room will take away those troubles and if he does click the doubles he could well be a factor in this group. At 7/1 I’m sure he’ll attract a bit of money.
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Outright Group Betting
At the prices you can make a case for all of these. If Barneveld didn’t have this match with Taylor in the pipeline I would put a line through him completely. He is still too short for me to back but I wouldn’t want to write him off in full. I am however prepared to leave Mark Webster out of the equation. He was never the heaviest scorer and his game hasn’t been wonderful for a while. I respect Wessel Nijman and David Evans at the prices but I’ll go with a man who has forged a decent PDC career out.
That is Paul Nicholson. I don’t think Nicholson is done yet by any means. He was always underrated as a scorer and I certainly see no reason why that would change here. He was good under pressure and while the intensity will be at a different kind here I would expect him to handle what comes. This is a chance for Nicholson to show he still has plenty to offer and at 9/2 he looks more than fair value to top the pile here.
I’ve a hunch that Webster could be the straggler in this company. He’s actually favourite to win three of his four matches, the one against Barneveld being the anomaly. I’m not going to take him on with Nicholson as I’m on him outright and I’d like to know exactly how Nijman is playing before I side with him which leaves the match against David Evans where it could prove valuable to take the Welsh ace on.
As I mentioned above, Evans is very much still playing the game, and he’s doing so to a fairly high level and it could be that his activity in the game gives him an advantage. We’ll only truly know that once the event gets underway but there should be no reason why he can’t at least match Webster in the scoring department and if he clocks his doubles, given that it is only five weeks ago that Evans made the final of the Slovak Masters, the 13/10 on him winning this match could look big.
Back P.Nicholson to win Group 1 for a 2/10 stake at 5.50 with Bet365
WON – Back D.Evans to beat M.Webster for a 3/10 stake at 2.30 with Betfred