Mighty Mike A Solid Bet In Dublin
World Grand Prix
It’s that time of the year again; when the world’s greatest darts players descend upon Citywest in Dublin for a cracking week of unmissable darting action!
The Year So Far
2014 has been all about the rivalry between Phil Taylor and the pretender to his crown, Michael van Gerwen. Van Gerwen struck the first blow by winning the World Championships to start the year as number one, a ranking that he backed up by subsequently whitewashing Taylor in the Premier League and in the final of the World Cup. But Taylor has fought back in recent months, beating van Gerwen a couple of times, most significantly in the final of the World Matchplay in July.
Established in 1998, this prestigious Dublin-based tournament has had a number of different formats, but is now a straightforward knock-out event, restricted to thirty-two players.
It is the only televised event to include the ‘double in’ rule, under which players have to start as well as finish each leg with a double. Phil Taylor has won eleven of the sixteen editions, though only two of the last four.
Who To Avoid
Phil Taylor is no longer the world number one but is an eleven times winner of this event and is fighting hard to regain top spot, winning in Perth and Sydney after his triumph at the World Matchplay.
But it is worth noting that he has gone out of this tournament at the first round stage on three occasions, and this time faces a tricky opener against Steve Beaton, who has beaten him on television before. At typically short odds of 21/10, it’s worth taking the chance of opposing The Power.
It’s also advisable to steer clear of old favourite, Raymond van Barneveld. He’s twice been runner-up in Dublin, but has never won it. More significantly, he’s had a poor season and is in serious danger of slipping out of the top sixteen. Up against a tough first round opponent in the shape of last year’s beaten finalist Dave Chisnall, Barney isn’t one to bank on, even at odds of 22/1.
Such is Phil Taylor’s record against most of his rivals that their best hope of winning one of the top events is to hope he slips up early against someone else. Michael van Gerwen is different.
The world number one is the only player to beat Taylor more than once in a televised final and will fear no-one in Dublin.
He should have few difficulties against Vincent van der Voort in his opener and is a solid bet at 10/3.
Two years ago this was the tournament at which Van Gerwen earned his breakthrough win and it could be worth backing rising star Michael Smith to do the same. He recently beat Van Gerwen in the European Darts Trophy, his fifth ranking final of a year in which he also knocked Phil Taylor out of the World Championships and broke into the top 32 for the first time. At 28/1 he offers plenty of value.