* 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.
It just shows the quality of player left in this field that the meeting of a former world champion and an 11-time PDC Major winner is the opening act of the night at the Grand Slam Of Darts. James Wade and Rob Cross have already met in the tournament, a match that Wade took with a 5-2 scoreline which helped ‘The Machine’ top Group C by a single leg ahead of Cross.
Both have made it to this point on the back of convincing Second Round victories. Voltage saw off Group D table-topper Ryan Joyce 10-4, while Wade absolutely battered Rowby-John Rodriguez 10-2 to advance to the last eight in Wolverhampton. Those results have made the betting for this one very tight, and given that their head-to-record on TV stands at nine victories apiece, you can see what our traders have had such a tough time splitting them.
James Wade just seems to be a little further along in his resurgence than Cross though, and while there is less than a point separating the pair in the tournament averages, Wade is head and shoulders over his opponent when it comes to Checkout Percentage (46.60% – 38.66%) at the Grand Slam. It is a game that is likely to have little in it, finishing will be crucial and that’s why will tip our cap to The Machine to take this one.
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When Gerwyn Price claimed his first World title at the start of January, you would have thought he would be the most dominant Welshman on Planet Darts for a long time to come. But, he didn’t even get 12 months, as Jonny Clayton has grabbed three PDC majors (The Masters, Premier League and World Grand Prix) inside of a year and ‘The Ferret’ is many pundits’ pick to claim a fourth one here in Wolverhampton.
Price scored wins in his opening two Group A games over Nathan Rafferty (just) and Krzysztof Ratajski, but was shocked by the bottom-placed man Martin Schindler in the group’s final match. His iffy form continued in Round 2, as the world number one barely squeaked out a 10-8 success over Bradley Brooks – a man 78 places below him in the PDC Order of Merit. Meanwhile, Clayton has been perfect on the Wolverhampton stage, winning all of his group games before convincingly dispatching Nathan Rafferty last time out.
Given the question marks over Price’s form, we just have to go with the more consistent and on-song Clayton to score the victory tonight – especially as he has made a habit of beating ‘The Iceman’ in big tournaments (World Grand Prix final and World Series quarter-final) of late. Don’t be surprised if Clayton tops the 180 charts in this one either, as Price has struggled with maximums since he arrived the West Midlands – banging in just 7 in the 41 legs he’s played in so far. Clayton has smashed in 13 180s in four less legs, so it’s easy to see why we’ve selected him to win with the most maximum scores.
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