Rag2gar previews the first round of the World Grand Prix Darts from Citywest Hotel in Dublin and he has a number of bets including Whitlock, Klassen and a strong Robert Thornton.
World Grand Prix First Round Preview
Adrian Lewis v Raymond Van Barneveld
The tie of the first round sees two of darts finest players meet as Adrian Lewis takes on Raymond Van Barneveld. With such a short format it's obviously hard to pick the winner, but at the same time I can see why Lewis is the bookies favourite. Either way no bet for me here.
Gary Anderson v John Henderson
First rounds of tournaments have never been Gary Anderson's favourite and he has struggled before in the past at the first round here too. John Henderson will be a tricky opening assignment for the Scot and I think those who include him in any first round accumulators could well be made sweat with the 1/5 shot here. No bet for me.
Andrew Gilding v Simon Whitlock
Andrew Gilding is starting to appear more and more on our TV screens, but I do think he could struggle against Simon Whitlock here. Whitlock is some 15 places ahead of Gilding in the world rankings yet is only a marginal favourite here. I think Whitlock will show enough class to get the win here.
Ian White v Jamie Caven
Ian White is one of the most underrated players in darts, but he hasn't exactly been given an easy first round tie here either. Caven is very capable on his day and for that reason I will avoid backing White this time around.
Wade v Suljovic
James Wade is another player who will not be delighted with his first round draw as he takes on the ever-improving Mensur Suljovic. To me this one is priced correctly but do not be surprised if Suljovic takes at least one set here.
Jelle Klassen vBrendan Dolan
This may look like a good draw for the history-maker Brendan Dolan, but I think he will have it all to do if he is to make the second round in front of his home crowd. Klassen has been in super form this past year and he recently won a PDC players championship away from the TV cameras. I think he's going to get the victory here and send the local's favourite home early.
Justin Pipe v Steve Beaton
This looks a close contest as two out of form players take to the oche to try put their year right. I think Pipe is probably the better player but only just and I think Beaton makes more appeal at the odds available. For me though it will be a no bet.
Kim Huybrechts v Benito Van de Pas
I think this will be a win for Kim Huybrechts although Van De Pas is starting to come into a little bit of form just now for the first time since he joined the PDC. Huybrechts is a class act however and I expect him to bank a routine victory here and the 7/4 about a 2-0 win looks reasonable enough.
Mark Webster v Stephen Bunting
Two former Lakeside champions square off in another intriguing first round tie as Mark Webster faces Stephen Bunting. Obviously Bunting should be the favourite based on any form from the past year or so but Webster is always capable of performing on the big stage too. Not one to get involved in especially when you take the short format into account.
Mervyn King v Terry Jenkins
Recent players championship winner Terry Jenkins should be able to use current form to his advantage and book a win over Mervyn King here. Two evenly matched players it's no surprise to see so little in the betting but form is critically important in darts and that gives Jenkins the edge in this one.
Michael Smith v Gerwyn Price
The bully boy Michael Smith is up to eight in the world rankings and should certainly be in line for the second round after being drawn against Gerwyn Price here. Price was a revelation on the Blackpool stage at the Matchplay earlier this year but that may well have been a flash in the pan. Either way expect Smith to get the best of him here but at the prices available he makes little appeal.
Michael Van Gerwen v Keegan Brown
I could think of easier first rounds for the defending champion and tournament favourite Michael Van Gerwen as he faces the up and coming Keegan Brown who's a real live wire. 1/5 is plenty short enough for MVG but you would have to expect him to get the win.
Peter Wright v Dave Chisnall
Another one of the ties of the round and the bookmakers can't split them either. Bad news is either can I! Dave Chisnall was very impressive in the premier league this year and could get the win but Peter Wright is a quality player also. No bet for me here.
Phil Taylor v Vincent Van der Voort
The 11-time World Grand Prix champion Phil Taylor begins his quest for this year's title with an opponent he should be extremely happy to face. With only three victories in his 24 lifetime attempts against the power, Vincent Van der Voort will find it difficult to get motivated for this one. Hard to see anything but another Taylor victory here.
Robert Thornton v Daryl Gurney
Robert Thornton looks a good bet here to beat Daryl Gurney. I'm not too worried about the 4/9 either. The Thorn is very proficient on doubles and that alone should be enough to see him past the Northern Irishman here. However Thornton should be too strong in all departments for his opponent truth be told and for that reason I don't think he'll be put under any pressure whatsoever here.
William O'Connor v Jamie Lewis
The only Irishman in the competition William O'Connor will probably need all the help he can get from the home crowd if he's to make the second round. Jamie Lewis is a decent player but in fairness to O'Connor he can play well too. A bit too close to call in my opinion but this should be a good game.
2 pts win S. Whitlock to beat A. Gilding at 4/5 with Sky Bet.
2 pts win J. Klassen to beat B. Dolan at 8/11 with Paddy Power.
1 pt win K. Huybrechts to beat B. Van de Pas 2-0 at 7/4 with Paddy Power.
2 pts win T. Jenkins to beat M. King at 4/5 with Paddy Power.
5 pts win R. Thornton to beat D. Gurney at 4/9 with Boylesports.
2 pts win R. Thornton to beat D. Gurney 2-0 at 11/8 with Boylesports.