Welcome back to OpenOdds Darts Round Up, which this week looks back at the Danish Darts Open in Copenhagen and, with this weekend offering little in the way of darts betting action, takes a longer-range look ahead to the World Matchplay at the end of July – including news of a legend of the game who has withdrawn from contention for the Blackpool tournament. We’ll also have a quick look at this weekend’s Players Championship in Wigan which, while ignored by the bookmakers, will for many players be an opportunity to qualify for the Matchplay.
There are no major tour events this week, with more than a few players taking some time off before getting back in action at the Czech Open in Prague at the end of the month. In the aftermath of a busy few months, including the Premier League and World Cup, it’s a good time to rest up, regather strength and energy, and prepare for the second half of the year – which of course will culminate in the PDC World Championship. There are six months to go, so a few of the players who missed out on Premier League action will consider this to be the point where the season starts in earnest.
No Blackpool for Barney
It’s been a turbulent final season in the world of professional darts for Raymond van Barneveld. The former World Number One announced at the start of the season that he would retire after the 2020 World Championship, and then was offered a wild card for the Premier League despite being ranked well outside the top ten. His run in the competition – a source of much controversy given his poor form – did little to back up the wild card decision, as he was the first player eliminated and won just one match (and that was against an invited challenger rather than an actual competitor). He then announced that he would retire immediately, before going back on the decision a day later.
Now Barney has announced that for personal reasons, he will not be taking part in this weekend’s Players’ Championship events in Wigan. The tournament was to be his last chance of qualifying for the World Matchplay, and so for the first time since 2006 he won’t be taking part in the Blackpool showpiece – a title which has eluded him during an illustrious career. The popular Dutchman still intends to compete in the World Championship, although his 100/1 odds with Betway to win it suggest that his participation may be brief.
Danish triumph for Chisnall
The Danish open took place at Copenhagen’s Brondbyhalle this past weekend, and with Michael van Gerwen among others sitting the tournament out there will have been a number of players feeling they had a chance to pick up a title. Gerwyn Price, Daryl Gurney and newly-minted World Cup winner Peter Wright were all involved – but the former two, as well as Mensur Suljovic, were eliminated in the last sixteen. Rob Cross had an even shorter involvement, entering at Round Two and immediately losing to Kirk Shepherd. Price survived until the semi-finals, and was red-hot favourite for the honours at that point, but lost 7-4 to Chris Dobey. In the other semi, ninth-seed Dave Chisnall pulled out a narrow 7-6 win over Jonny Clayton.
The unseeded Dobey can be proud of his run to the final, especially having started a round earlier than the more vaunted players who failed to get anywhere near as far as he did. However, he never looked like taking it all the way, as a fine performance from Chisnall, averaging 98.92, saw the St. Helens man take the title 8-3. A first tour title of the year, and a definite boost with the World Matchplay on the horizon. Chisnall remains an outsider for the title in Blackpool – currently boasting odds of 30/1 with Betfair – but in a year where Ireland have made a World Cup final, you never know.
MvG to Czech back in for Prague trip
When you’re Michael van Gerwen, you can pick and choose the tournaments you enter, and the Dutchman will return from his break in the Czech Republic next week. The PDC has never held a tournament in the country before, so it is a chance to make history for all involved. Naturally, van Gerwen is the favourite ahead of the Czech Open. In the absence of Rob Cross, the main challengers to the World Number One include Gurney, Price and Wright, and Chisnall is 33/1 with Sportingbet to pick up a second tour title in a row.
With van Gerwen priced at 91/100 by the same bookmaker – and given that his record in tour events this year has been fairly so-so – you might be best advised to make smaller punts rather than look for any value from the favourite. The bottom half of the draw is noticeably thinner than the top, with Gurney, Wright and Mensur Suljovic joining MvG in the latter group, while Price and James Wade are located in the weaker half. Getting on Wade at 20/1 may well be the smart bet here.