* 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.
With the top half of the draw sorted after last night’s action. We turn our attention to night two of the quarter-finals at the World Matchplay Darts in Blackpool, and first up on stage we’ve got an explosive meeting of two players firmly within the top 10 in the world.
Peter Wright has been imperious at the tournament so far, battering both Danny Noppert and Joe Cullen to make it to the last eight. Meanwhile, Michael Smith survived a match dart against José de Sousa last time out to get here, and that came after a tough opening round fight with Ryan Searle.
Snakebite simply has not let his opponents into games at the World Matchplay this year, and has conceded just seven legs in his last two outings – so, you might argue that he hasn’t been tested yet. But when it comes to the head-to-head with Smith, the Scot totally bosses it – leading by 21 wins to just 11 for Bully Boy. For his part, Smith will be delighted to get a few rounds at a TV tournament under his belt after early exits at this season’s World Championship and last year’s World Grand Prix, and he is certainly the more battle-tested of the two players.
However, we can’t see past Wright’s form heading into this meeting at the oche. He dominates Smith in every important stat – including tournament average per game, checkout percentage, 180s thrown and most interestingly, 180s per leg thrown. Snakebite has hit 10 maximums in 28 legs he’s had at the Winter Gardens, while Smith has surprisingly only managed 7 180s in a 41 legs. That makes up our mind to tip Wright to grab the most 180s and win this match-up tonight.
Match two on the night promises to be a tight, tense and potentially fiery affair between two players who love a good scrap with each other. Nathan Aspinall has never shown the fear of Michael van Gerwen that other players have over the years, and now that MVG has been a bit off-colour of late, he’ll be rightly revved up to take him on tonight.
MVG may have stuttered a bit in his opening round against Damon Heta, but there were ominous signs in the way the three-time world champion closed the show in that game and in how he dispatched at in-form Ian White last time out. Van Gerwen, just seems to be finding his mojo again after a recent poor patch of form, so The Asp will need to bring his ‘A’ game to the oche later if he wants to advance to another major semi-final.
On the flip side, Aspinall has had a much harder route to this point as he saw off an on-song Mervyn King in the first round, before going on to squeak past the great Gary Anderson in his last match by 11 legs to nine. It may be his first time getting this far in the World Matchplay, but having made it to the semi finals of the World Championship (twice) and this year’s Premier League, Aspinall is clearly not afraid to win high pressure matches on the big stage.
The Dutch darter leads the head-to-head record with Aspinall by a single victory (6-5), so expect another corking contest here. But, with MVG just about outperforming The Asp on the tournament average and checkouts stats, so we just about siding with him to just get over the line tonight.
However, don’t be stunned if the Stockport native tops the 180 charts in this one. Van Gerwen has been shockingly shy of maximums in Blackpool, only hitting just seven in the 36 legs. Aspinall has played the same amount of legs in the competition and has grabbed 13 180s, so that’s why we’re going with him to continue that form later this evening.
- Check out Darts betting previews and tips over at Paddy Power News
- Fantastic five-fold sees crafty Irish punter score over €3.5k off only €1.44 stake
- Paddy’s Rewards Club: Win a trip for two to ANY Premier League game