Grand Slam of Darts champion Raymond van Barneveld is the value bet following the draw for the invitational tournament that pits players from the Professional Darts Corporation against those from the British Darts Organisation.
Van Barneveld produced some of the best darts of his life in Wolverhampton 12 months ago to take out the 2012 Grand Slam of Darts title, defeating fellow Dutch star Michael van Gerwen 16-14 in a classic final at the Civic Hall.
Phil Taylor is the obvious Grand Slam of Darts favourite but The Power has run out of luck in the draw department and finds himself in same half as Adrian Lewis and Van Gerwen, whereas Van Barneveld cannot meet any of those players until the field should he negotiate his way through the half in which the seeds are Andy Hamilton, Scott Waites and Simon Whitlock. The top three in the Grand Slam of Darts market are drawn away from the title holder so he is the value play at odds of 13.00 with Youwin, to go back to back in Wolverhampton.
One should back Van Barneveld at his juicy pre-Grand Slam of Darts odds and see what happens in the top half of the draw. If Van Barneveld makes it through to the tournament decider then his supporters will have a great opportunity to lay off their bet, especially if Taylor trips up and does not reach the final. Wolverhampton is almost a home game for Taylor – historically, it is in the same county as The Power’s home city of Stoke-on-Trent – and he has won four of the event’s six previous editions. But Taylor is too short to make it five at odds of 2.30 with Stan James.
With regards to Grand Slam of Darts exotic bets, the pick of those concerns betting against James Wade in Group B. Wade is nicknamed The Machine but the 2010 Grand Slam of Darts runner-up has been anything but machine like in recent weeks, including losing 1-10 to Phil Taylor at The Masters when he asked to concede the match before its conclusion.
Grand Slam of Darts Group B comprises Gary Anderson, Wesley Harms, Peter Wright and Wade. One can back both Anderson – available at odds of 3.50 with BetVictor – and Wright – trading at odds of 3.60 with Sky Bet – and obtain dutched odds of just under 1.80 that one of the two Scots tops the section. That seems like the most rational way to oppose Wade because the form of Harms suggests that he will struggle to win the group and Anderson, while brilliant on his day, is prone to inconsistency. Anderson is a player who relies on really big scoring to win matches so sometimes he is unstoppable and sometimes he does not get going. Wright is the play if one only wants to back one player to roll Wade but Anderson is simply too risky to leave out.
Finally, Kevin Painter appeals at odds of 2.00 with Paddy Power to win his Grand Slam of Darts opener versus Paul Nicholson. The Grand Slam of Darts is a major tournament and it is on the big stages that Painter tends to produce his best performances. Nicholson is the opposite of Painter insomuch that his finest displays tend to occur when the spotlight is not so bright. Painter is ranked 13th on the PDC Order of Merit ahead of the Wolverhampton event, which is seven rungs higher than Nicholson. Bookmakers are right in thinking that the Group A game is likely to be close but they are wrong to favour Nicholson over Painter, with the latter entitled to be trading at odds of around 1.70 given his superior ranking and love of the limelight.