After almost 3 weeks of watching the PDC World Darts Championships, where Michael Van Gerwin was crowned the champion after an enthralling 7-4 victory over Peter Wright, it’s now time to switch sides as the BDO takes the main stage where, over the next 9 nights, we’ll find out which of the 40 combatants will take home the £100k first prize.
The Lakeside in Frimley Green is the home of darts since 1978, but it has been completely in the shadow of the PDC since the split in 1994. The £100k first prize dwarfs the £250k first prize that MVG collected for his victory, and many dart enthusiasts believe that you can really class yourself as a proper World Champion until you do it in under the lights, glitz and galls of the PDC, but that’s a different matter!
This event normally features the World’s top 16 players along with 16 qualifiers, but this year sees the format extended to 40 players, with some ‘Invitational Players’ getting their chance. We start with a Preliminary Round where 16 players will fight it out for a place in the first round proper. Among these 16, are Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams and Christian Kist. Adams is a former 3 times Champion and between himself and Kist, they have won the title 3 of the last 4 years. Both players are in the event courtesy of being ‘Recent world champions not in Top 24 of Invitational rankings’
Adams has had a pretty poor 2012-2013 as he mainly focused on his personal life, which included giving up smoking and losing weight, but on his comeback he won 2 big events in Belgium beating Bunting, Green x 2, Wilson x 2 and O Shea, so it shows he’s come back strong and focused to try and claim a 4th title. He’s in quite a tough quarter of the draw, but @ 22/1 he’s sure to give you a sweat for your money.
He’s due to face the runner up for the previous 2 years, Tony O Shea in the first round. O Shea is a perennial underachiever in darts and both of these guys have been around the block a few times and know each others game inside out. Adams can beat O Shea on the day, and you can guarantee that if he does, you won’t be seeing 22/1 again. I wouldn’t put too much of your hard earned money on this, but the lakeside is his home and he’ll want to do well there.
In the top half of the draw, Stephen Bunting arrives at the Lakeside on the back of a fantastic season which saw him win 8 tournaments and get to the 3 other finals. He won the World Masters without dropping a set which is no mean feat but his form in the World Championships is poor to say the least. He’s only made it past the 2nd round once and at 5/2 with Boyles, it may be a little short but he has been given a kind draw, so he’ll be expected to motor through to the final.
The man to stand in his way of making the final is Wesley Harms available @ 14/1 with Betfred and Coral. Harms has won the Scottish Open and the World Cup Singles this season, beating Bunting in the final in the latter. He’s lost in the semi-final of the Worlds to Tony O Shea in each of the last 2 years, so he’ll be hoping to go one better this year.
The bottom half of the draw has been unkind to many of the players, with so many contenders all due to meet each other before they reach the final. The Number 2 seed Wilson has had a very good season netting him 2 wins, but he fell short of the title in another 5 finals. Most of his loses were by the odd leg/set and he also holds a 4-3 head to head advantage over World Number 1 Stephen Bunting, so he won’t fear anyone in the draw.
Scott Waites would be Wilson’s likely opponent in the Quarter Finals. Waites is the defending champion and is 2nd favourite in the betting but is too short @ 7/2 considering his draw. He’s also not been in the greatest form since lifting the title last year.
After winning the Dutch Open 3 weeks after his Lakeside win, it took him 4 months to reach another final, and then we had to wait until 6 weeks ago for his next win in the Czech open.
Going to ignore the top 2 in the betting because I don’t think there’s any value in them as they are way too short, so we’ll take Harms @ 14/1 and Wilson @ 12/1. If we want 2 outsider EW bets, then last years beaten semi-finalist Richie George is available @ 125/1 and 2 time QFs (1 time SF) Jan Dekker is 50/1 with a host of bookies and both players will be hoping to produce darts they are capable of on the greatest stage of them all.