The BetVictor Matchplay is live on Sky Sports 1
The first two days of the BetVictor World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens didn’t produce any shock results.
Tournament favourite Michael Van Gerwen was given a workout by Steve Beaton on the opening day on Saturday, but came through the tie with a 10-7 verdict, while Phil Taylor produced a real masterclass when seeing off former practice partner Darren Webster on Sunday.
The Power recorded a 101.79 three-dart average en route to an impressive 10-3 victory over The Demolition Man, and the sponsors reacted by trimming the 14-time Matchplay champion to 3s from 7/2, while leaving Van Gerwen unchanged at 2/1.
Phil Taylor will now square up against Michael Smith on Wednesday. Smith, who edged out Justin Pipe in the evening session on Sunday, knocked The Power out of the World Darts Championship when they last met so the Stoke thrower will be keen to exact revenge this time.
Mighty Mike occasionally produces workmanlike performances before upping his game when it really counts, but he will need to step up a notch or two against Ian White in the next round. Diamond White was imperious when outpointing two-time Blackpool finalist Terry Jenkins on Saturday.
BetVictor’s odds compilers don’t rate White’s chances against the world No 1, going 4/1 about the 43-year-old and 1/6 Van Gerwen. However, don’t be surprised if the match is much tighter than the betting suggests.
Darts Premier League hero Raymond van Barneveld got off to the perfect start at the Winter Gardens by beating fellow Dutchman Vincent van der Voort 10-4. The redoubtable Barney hit no less than eight 180s and his second-round clash with Simon Whitlock will be an enthralling affair.
The Australian dug deep to get the better of Kevin Painter during the weekend, prevailing 10-6, but he will be the underdog against van Barneveld. Indeed, BetVictor make Barney the 8/13 favourite and you can back Whitlock at 5/4 with the Gibraltar-based firm.
Former Matchplay champ James Wade had a bit of a wobble against Andy Smith on Saturday, but The Machine regained his composure and asserted to win the match 10-5. Next up for Wade will be Richie Burnett.
The pick of Monday’s action is the face-off between Peter Wright and Stephen Bunting. The Scotsman was a cosy winner when the pair locked horns in the Premier League last year, but The Bullet has been in cracking form in the run-up to Blackpool and the Lakeside champion rates a cracking bet at 6/5 to book his place in the next round.
Also in action on Monday is Adrian Lewis who takes on Andrew Gilding; earlier on the card Mervyn King goes head-to-head with Kim Huybrechts; and the session concludes with Gary Anderson’s match against Jamie Caven.
Betting on darts during the World Matchplay? Remember to stay tuned to TVBet for the latest news and darts betting tips during the BetVictor-sponsored tournament.
Darts betting tips – World Matchplay
Peter Wright v Stephen Bunting
Stephen Bunting to win – 6/5 (BetVictor)
Already advised (tournament outright betting):