Posted on December 14th, 2012
The Ladbrokes World Championship brings together a colourful cast of characters from around the world. 21 countries are represented and with the outright market covered we can turn our attention to the rest of the 72 man field and see if we can highlight the potential early shocks. It’s not looking likely.
There are 16 international qualifiers hailing from all corners of the globe who will fight out a preliminary round that will halve their number to 8; Germany, China, Japan, New Zealand, Croatia and Finland are among those represented by the best dartists their country has to offer.
The eight preliminary victors will join 24 unseeded players to take on the 32 seeds in round one.
For the majority simply being on the Ally Pally stage is glory enough but some have much grander plans and each year there are one or two relative unknowns who spring a surprise on an over-confident or under-prepared seed.
Last year James Richardson had his 15 minutes of fame with a first round whitewash of Raymond van Barneveld. Andy Hamilton is Richardson’s initial hurdle this time around so a repeat looks remote. But then we would have said the same with Barney 12 months ago.
Devon Petersen made it through a couple of rounds in 2012 and had Gary Anderson on the ropes until the Scotsman found his touch to end the dream of the plucky South African. Petersen has not made it this year but fellow countryman and name-a-like, Charl Pietersen, takes on Max Hopp in the preliminary round with Denis Ovens waiting in round one. This rubber is one to watch as the winner could give Ovens real problems and ‘do a Devon’.
Aside from Devon Petersen, the stand out non-seeded performers from a year ago were Steve Farmer, Justin Pipe & Kim Huybrechts.
Huybrechts made the quarter finals while Farmer & Pipe reached the last 16. Seeds Brendan Dolan, Ronnie Baxter, Wes Newton, and Paul Nicholson all fell to this unfancied trio who in the case of Pipe & Huybrechts have gone on to greater things. Both are established PDC stars now and go to the Ally Pally as 11th and 27th seeds respectively. As poacher-turned-gamekeeper they will both be aware of threat posed by the unseeded throng.
And remember, the conqueror of Phil Taylor in round two last year was an unseeded Dave Chisnall. Chizzy goes into this tournament as the 12th seed and is now a bona fide contender.
So where will the early upsets occur and where can we shrewdly invest our match betting moolah?
Well the first thing to say is to treat this kind of betting with caution. There weren’t actually that many shocks last year. Of the 32 first round matches less than a third saw the seed bow out and of these 10 matches only 3 or 4 were real shocks. The bookies were not overly troubled and are usually ahead of the curve (for instance this year unseeded Ian White goes off as 8/11 favourite against 10th seed, and 2011 semi finalist, Mark Webster).
By contrast, the 8 preliminary round matches in 2012 were split 50/50 with half going to the lesser rated player. 50% is better than a fraction of 33% so this is an area to focus your attention. Look for the value and play the odds rather than the players. Stage fright can do funny things to an inexperienced player and all 16 of the prelim qualifiers lack the big stage experience.
Dave Harrington, Robert Marijanovic, Carlos Rodriguez, and Lourence Ilagan could be the four worth siding with. All four matches look pretty even so back the outsider.
Max Hopp is well fancied to get through his prelim match against Charl Pietersen and would then tackle Denis Ovens, once upon a time a perennial first round loser on the TV stage. The Heat has arrested that reputation recently but is still worth taking on as age catches up with his shocking shirts.
This leaves us with the 24 unseeded players who start their campaign at round one. The genuine big shocks are too difficult to call from a standing start but there are a smattering of matches that bear the hallmarks of a surprise reversal…
- Jerry Hendriks (2/1) doesn’t arrive with top pedigree but he has a chance against 32 seed Wayne Jones (4/11) who has sagged in 2012 and looks vulnerable.
- James Hubbard won’t be unhappy at drawing Richie Burnett (8/13) and the 6/5 on offer for emerging youngster Hubbard is tempting.
- Steve Brown has beaten Terry Jenkins twice in the last three meetings, including the 2010 World Matchplay. 11/4 looks good value for The Bomber when compared to 1/4 for The Bull.
- Arron Monk is slipping nicely into his big stage slippers and 6/5 to beat the colourful but erratic Peter Wright (8/13) looks worth a sniff.
- Stuart Kellett was BDO world number one not too long ago and could do for Vincent van der Voort if that form is back. Kellett came through the tough qualifying night and can be had at 5/4.
There is very little else to go at with most seeds looking to have a safe passage through round one. Perhaps the wrong James Wade will turn up and make Peter Hudson’s 4/1 look massive. Two-time world champion Dennis Priestley might roll back the years to stun Ronnie Baxter, who isn’t getting any younger himself. Colin Lloyd has a habit of messing up his first game so Darin Young could benefit. Much of this is speculation though.
Colin Osborne, Andy Smith and Jamie Caven have been struggling for form and probably won’t go far but each plays a qualifier and should have some breathing space. Caven probably faces the toughest test and might be worth opposing, a la Ovens.
In a nutshell, you pays your money, you takes your choice and if you can call out the upsets we will give you a job!
My advice is to get stuck into our Dartabase and Head to Head stats and do your homework to find those niche bets that can prove more lucrative. Most 180′s and highest checkout are areas to analyse and find trends that defy the odds.
That’s all the help I can give. Happy betting!
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