Steve West and Amit Gilitwala meet for the first time in the opening bout of the 2021 PDC World Darts Championships at the legendary Ally Pally. West is best known for a couple of big scalps, the shock 2016 World Grand Prix win over Peter Taylor and the 2018 felling of Michael van Gerwen at the 2018 European Championship.
West has been a steady campaigner on the PDC circuit in a career that he feels has been beset by bad luck. And, while he should win his first-round clash easily against his Indian opponent, he could be packing his bags come midnight tonight as 2020’s champion Peter Wright awaits the winner of this match in the next round tonight at 9pm.
Gilitwala, who takes to the stage here as the Indian Darts Federation’s number one ranked player, is a relative unknown who has failed so far to land a spot on the pro tour through Q school. He has been playing in the local Super League darts in his adopted Preston home, but has only been averaging in the low 70s with a best of 81 since March. With numbers like that it’s likely the 25-year-old will struggle win a leg, let alone a set. It’ll be a surprise to see anything other than a 3-0 win for West here.
Steve Beaton will make history tonight as he appears in his 30th PDC World Darts Championship, moving clear of the great Phil Taylor who he was tied level on 29 appearances. However, the wily old campaigner’s form has not been good heading into this and his showings in this competition haven’t been great either, other than last year where he made it to the fourth round.
While the Bronzed Adonis has experience to spare, it’s just his opponent Diogo Portela’s fourth appearance on the grandest stage.
Portela is still looking for his first victory on the Ally Pally stage and Beaton is expected to have the class to book his place in round two.
The Brazil-born player has enough in the locker to seal a set, winning three in his previous three appearances including one against Peter Wright, it’s unlikely he can pull off an upset. We’re backing Beaton to celebrate his landmark appearance with a victory but it won’t be a clean sweep and we fancy 3-1 to Beaton.
Possibly the most interesting clash of the first round sees teenage sensation Keane Barry take on Jeff Smith in a contest that Paddy’s traders are struggling to call. Barry has earned his spot on the pro circuit after finishing in the top two on the Development Tour Order of Merit this season behind Ryan Meikle.
Smith has experience on his side but will face a tough task on Tuesday night against Barry who averaged 94 across 13 matches in the PDC Winter Series. Smith started his first campaign as a PDC Tour Card holder in great form, but has struggled since losing a Players Championship final to Gary Anderson.
The Canadian can be red hot on his day, but poor form in the Autumn and Winder Series means the door could be open for Barry to progress. It should be a close-fought encounter but we’re backing the man from Co Meath to progress narrowly and we’re on a Barry win 3-2.
Tuesday’s treble: West to win 3-0, Portela (+2.5) and Barry to Win
West shouldn’t have too many problems against India’s No.1 player and it would be a surprise if he was to drop a set in the 2021 PDC World Darts Championship opener. Brazilian-born Portela has averaged a set in his three appearances, including one against Peter Wright so backing him on the Alternative handicap at (+2.5) feels a safe play for an acca on Tuesday night. We think Barry will have enough up his sleeve to progress past Smith and these three selections will give you odds of over 3/1 with Paddy Power.
Tips for Tuesday’s PDC World Darts Championship matches
6.15pm: Steve West v Amit Gilitwala – West to win 3-0
7.10pm: Steve Beaton v Diogo Portela – Beaton to win 3-1
8.05pm: Jeff Smith v Keane Barry – Barry to win 3-2
Treble: West to win 3-0, Portela (+2.5) and Barry to Win
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