In our betting preview for the Grand Slam we highlighted the fact that the bottom part of the draw appeared to be the easiest route to the final and gave one of the outsiders a great chance of getting to the final. It was Barney (yes I admit I was wrong about Barney) who came through and such has been his form recently was actually one of the outsiders we rather generally referred to.
We highlighted Newton, Hamilton and a rollercoaster ride with The Bull as possible contenders for the spot Barney collected in the final. Jenkins was disappointing; from an outsider looking in he appears more interested in his two man dart show with The Pie Man than winning darts tournaments! We will put our pound each way on a different ride this time round.
The same scenario (just the other way round) where this time the top half of the draw looks a slightly less hazardous route for this tournament. The first player in the frame is Dave Chisnall. I like Chizzy. He doesn’t think too deeply about the game that is true, but that seems to suit him. I would also recommend Chizzy’s apprenticeship that has helped him to make it to the top of the PDC. For years he trekked around entering as many tournaments as he could get to. He built up valuable time on the oche, competing against all levels of players and has become a better player because of all that experience.
But! He does seem to fade in tournaments. On the floor he is brilliant. His experience of long days in dingy rooms playing darts means that the PDC floor tournaments are second nature to him. He won the PDC floor event last Saturday! The problem seems to be for Chisnall to repeat form from a day or two earlier. Maybe it is something to do with his preparation, maybe he gets over confident after a good win and gets brought down to earth in the next round. If he can get over this and get through to Sunday the quarters, semis and final are all on Sunday. This will suit Chizzy down to the ground.
Barney is also in the top half but can he repeat the trick of a couple of weeks ago? I don’t think so. The competition is much fiercer and it may be too much to expect Barney to win again. James Wade is also in this section, we advised a watching brief for the Grand Slam and this proved the right decision and nothing has changed to alter that. Kim Huybrechts. Pipe and The King seem to be the most likley challengers out of the balance of the top half.
The bottom half is a minefield. If things go to seeding there would be quarter final clashes between Taylor and Van Gerwen and Whitlock and Newton with the winners playing each other in the semi. See what I mean about a minefield! Because if things don’t go to form Anderson, last year’s winner Painter, Nico as well as The Hammer are all lurking in this part of the draw as well.
Jackpot is also down there too. It is reported on the PDC site that Lewis is expecting to be a Father for the second time this week! Yes, I had to read it twice and for a moment I had visions of the most amazing child bearing feats being performed by Jackpot. These were the only amazing feats by Lewis I could conjure up to be honest and the watching brief from the Grand Slam also stays in place for this weekend.
Overall though, Taylor and Van Gerwen are still the men to beat in the bottom half of the draw. We will stick with Mighty Mike at 5/1 and ignore the 7/2 for Taylor to take the title. Let’s give Chizzy a go for our rollercoaster ride; each way at 9/1 seems fair. Barney is at 12/1 which I am sure will tempt some but it’s not for me, I have been wrong before mind!