* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
Joe Cullen may sit nine places ahead of Chris Dobey in the PDC Order of Merit, but normally this would still be a close-run affair between the two likeable English players. However, Dobey has been playing some box office darts of late, and looks to be living up to his nickname of ‘Hollywood’ heading into this tournament.
Dobey survived eight match darts to pick up his maiden PDC title at the Players Championship 18 event a couple of weeks ago. He also claimed a spot in the World Matchplay with the win, beating the likes of Luke Humphries, Premier League champion Jonny Clayton and Stephen Bunting on the way to the final.
In that decider he had to beat world number 10 José de Sousa to win his first title at the fifth attempt, and he is certainly on red-hot form coming into this first-round affair in Blackpool. Cullen, won’t make it easy for him, but he has lost his last four opening games in PDC events and we are siding with Dobey to come out on top.
If there is one thing Ryan Searle knows how to do, it’s how to make life utterly miserable for top players – especially on the big stage. In the last month alone, the battling arrower from Somerset has beaten Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson, Joe Cullen and Adrian Lewis, so he clearly doesn’t fear the big names of the sport.
Michael Smith knows he needs to be wary on Sunday evening, and in fairness to the number seven ranked in the world he’s been raking up the wins on tour in the last couple of months – even though he’s been falling a little short of making it into the winner’s circle. However, the reason we are sniffing an upset here is because Bully Boy’s recent TV tournament record is not good.
Smith has gone out in his first games at the World Championship and Masters this season – as well as the second round of the UK Open – and that has us throwing our weight behind the steadier Searle. However, there is no doubt that Smith is the heavier scorer of the pair, so don’t be surprised to see him top the 180 column at the end of the game.
What a great time it is to be Jose de Sousa! The Special One might just be the man to beat in Blackpool and has claimed three Players Championship wins on the Tour this season. De Sousa grabbed his first PDC major title at the Grand Slam of Darts last year and was unlucky to lose out in the 2021 Premier League final.
He faces German darter Gabriel Clemens on Sunday evening, and De Sousa has won four of the five meetings between the pair – as well as both TV clashes the two have shared. It’s also easy to fancy The Special One to win given that he is the highest average scorer on the PDC Tour this season with an average of 99.73 before this tournament begins.
We are also tipping him to grab the most maximums in this contest as the Portuguese star clearly loves to pile up the 180s on his opponent. De Sousa has hit 240 of them already in the 2021 campaign and that’s more than any other player on Planet Darts!
The above 3 bets clock in at around 13/1 with Paddy Power.
- Olympics tips: Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s 5 best gold medal hopes
- Olympics tips: Paddy’s complete guide to betting on the Games
- Paddy’s Rewards Club: Win a trip for two to ANY Premier League game
- Football’s coming home… to Ireland! Paddy donates €129K to grassroots footy