The Grand Slam of Darts takes place at Wolverhampton Civic Hall from the 12th to 20th of November, and Michael Van Gerwen is the hot favourite after winning the last three tournaments in a row. The 32-player tournament features players from the PDC and the BDO, competing across nine days of high class darts, live on Sky Sports.
Dutch phenomenon Michael Van Gerwen won his 23rd tournament last Sunday night, defeating Peter Wright 11-9 in the World Series of Darts Finals in Glasgow. It was his third successive televised tournament victory after recently claiming the World Grand Prix and the European Championship in October. He’s already won the Masters, the UK Open, the Premier League and the World Matchplay in 2016, and right now he is at another level to anyone on the planet.
Mighty Mike has to be backed to win the Grand Slam, but there could also be value in picking out other players at bigger odds on an each way basis. We’re siding with James Wade – available at +3400 – who has been unfortunate to run into Van Gerwen and Phil Taylor in two semi-final appearances this season.
The PDC Meets the BDO
The Grand Slam of Darts brings together the top stars from both the PDC and the BDO to compete against one another, with a £100,000 first prize up for grabs for the winner. 24 PDC qualifiers are joined by eight BDO qualifiers – Glen Durrant, Scott Mitchell, Danny Noppert, Jamie Hughes, Martin Adams, Scott Waites, Darryl Fitton, and Jeff Smith.
Tournament Format and Draw
The 24 PDC qualifiers are split in order of their PDC order of merit position. The top eight players have been seeded into eight groups, with the remaining 16 split into two pots for the draw. The eight BDO qualifiers were in a fourth pot and drawn to make up the eight groups of four.
The first four days of the tournament are played in a round robin format, where players in each group play each other once and the top two qualify for the last 16 and the knockout phase. Michael Van Gerwen is in group A along with Brendan Dolan, Max Hopp and Martin Adams. The draw is split into two halves in respect of the latter stages, with the winners and runners-up in groups A-D making up the ‘top half’ of the draw, and the two qualifiers from groups E-H making up the ‘bottom half’.
Naturally, everyone will want to avoid MVG for as long as possible, which is bad news for the likes of Phil Taylor, Peter Wright and Robert Thornton, who are the top-seeded players in groups B,C, and D. One has to assume that Mighty Mike will qualify, and any of those potential opponents are therefore vulnerable in terms of reaching the final.
Can Anyone Beat MVG?
The one player who has had more success and been a formidable opponent to MVG over the years is Phil Taylor, but the Power hasn’t had the best couple of seasons and at present Van Gerwen looks to have his measure. Plenty of sentimental punters will look to back the Stoke ace, but at +650 he is passed over because a meeting with Mighty Mike looks inevitable – provided both players make it through to the business end.
Wade a Lively Outsider
Looking to the other half of the draw for a decent each way shot is a better route to take, and James Wade fits the bill for a speculative punt at +3400 .
Other big names in the bottom half include Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis, Dave Chisnall and Raymond Van Barneveld, but at the prices it’s Wade who ticks the boxes. Anderson has the quality, but he hasn’t been in the best form recently and at +700 is a short enough price. Better odds are available on Wright, Lewis and Chisnall and preference would be for the former – who was the beaten finalist for the second year running in last week’s World Series.
However, Wade is a big price for a man who has reached semi finals in both the Champions League and the European Championships in recent tournaments. He ran into Taylor and Van Gerwen in those two semis, so there’s no shame in losing, but crucially he can’t meet either of those players before the final in this competition. A group involving Dave Chisnall, James Wilson and Jamie Hughes won’t be easy, but one would expect Wade to come through it and take his place in the last 16. He’s certainly capable of making the quarters and semis, and by that point it should be possible to lay the bet off for a good profit regardless of whether he progresses.
Most bookmakers are paying half the odds for a top two finish, so if Wade lines up in the final it will be a good return. A bet on Van Gerwen to win and an each-way side bet on Wade should give us a good run for our money throughout the week.
Michael Van Gerwen to Win the Grand Slam of Darts
12th to 20th November 2016
James Wade to Win the Grand Slam of Darts – Each Way
12th to 20th November 2016
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