Monthly Archives: December 2013

Premier League Preview – Week 20

Premier League Preview – Week 20

Premier League Preview Week 20

Thank God for football ay. With many of us feeling like we’re dying after the New Year celebrations, what better way to ease the anxious and depressive thoughts brought on by alcohol by being thrown back into normality courtesy of Premier League football.

The last round of selections produced a small loss with only 3 matches going our way. All 3 were above evens though so the loss hardly made a dent in last week’s astronomical profits. Crystal Palace held on right until the 66th minute and if that had finished a draw we’d have made Paul the Octopus look like a guesser by comparison. I say held out but by all reports Palace were the better side up until the goal.

The current ROI is 9.72% for level stakes and an even more impressive 12.74% using Kelly Stakes. The spreadsheet is up to date and can be found here.

Can’t see any problems for Man City in the early kick off against Swansea. City have been sublime for the most part this season. They had a few dodgy away results early on but seem to have that sorted now and are undefeated in their last 3. The shine seems to have come off Laudrup’s team and they don’t pose the same threat as last season.

There’s some intriguing battles involving teams at the foot of the table this weekend none more so than Fulham who host West Ham. It’s the team that can’t stop conceding against the team that can’t score. West Ham have scored more since the re-introduction of Carlton Cole however and did score 3 last time out.

I’m hoping that Arsenal are as bad as they were against Newcastle and that Cardiff can nick an early goal. My estimates don’t have them as short as the market and I’m hopeful of an upset.

It’s the same story in the game at Anfield and Liverpool did lose the reverse fixture against Hull who will be full of confidence after their 6-0 thrashing of Fulham. Let’s hope Suarez chose New Year’s eve to finish off all that Corona he was pictured buying at Costco.

Also looking forward to seeing if Man Utd can continue the rebuilding process. They’ve won all of their last 6 matches and I personally think they’ll win comfortably against Tottenham. His attacking approach may be pleasing some fans for now but I’m not sure that Tim Sherwood is up to the job.

Happy New Year !


Bet of the Weekend: Everton to beat Stoke at 2.1 with BetVictor.


The title IS won at Christmas (Usually)

The title IS won at Christmas (Usually)

Title not won at Christmas

With the Premier League at the half way point and Arsenal top but not looking at all like a Championship winning team (in my opinion), I thought it would be worth seeing what has happened historically. Technically, Liverpool were top at Christmas for a brief moment but with the season now at exactly the half way stage, it’s Arsenal who are again top of the pile.

‘The Title is not Won at Christmas’ is a famous football Cliché but is this actually true? I planned to crunch the numbers myself but luckily the Daily Mail beat me to it and I can now tuck into some more Christmas leftovers.

In the last 21 seasons the team top just after Christmas (Boxing day) has gone on to win 11 times. Better still the team top at this time has managed to win in 8 of the last 9 seasons. So, like many footballing clichés ‘The Title is not won a Christmas’ is a bit misleading!

Is there a reason for this trend? Well, the premier league has become a top 4 dominated league over the last 9 seasons and with more of a gulf in class between the rest it makes sense that the team top at the half way stage would stay there.

Just because the data says that the team that is top usually wins doesn’t mean to say that this will happen on this occasion and a good bettor doesn’t blindly follow the historical data. We also must consider the size of the lead which is only one point. There was also only 3 point separating the top four on Boxing Day and the average difference is 9. So this year’s prem is much closer than that of most years.

We also have to look at the strength in depth of Arsenal themselves and their rivals. I watched Arsenal’s away win at Newcastle yesterday and to be honest you couldn’t even describe them as average they were that poor. I’ve never seen an Arsenal side give the ball away so much.

They were missing a few key players but it was much more evident that it should have been for a top four side. They can’t keep relying on Ramsey to get the goals either and they surely need to add to the very average Giroud and Bendtner.

Man City and Chelsea are clearly still strong contenders. City are absolutely on fire, scoring goals for fun and Chelsea are simmering nicely. Mourinho has struggled to get the best out of his attacking players so far but Chelsea still have big spending power and if anyone can convince their Chairman to buy it is Mourinho.

Manchester United are already effectively out of the running and the stats agree, showing that no team outside the top 6 on Boxing day (United were 7th) has gone on to win the league. United’s form is picking up however and the top 8 teams were again closer than in all but one of the previous 21 premier league seasons.

With that in mind we can’t rule out Liverpool, Everton and Spurs, who will also be hopeful of mounting a challenge. Liverpool are lacking defensively for me and some argue that Suarez can only turn it on against the smaller clubs. Everton with Martinez as manager have become masters of possession but keeping hold of Lukaku is imperative. Spurs have spent a lot of money but aren’t quite clicking into gear at the moment and I’m not sure Tim Sherwood is the man to change that.

Even though it’s very tight between the top 8 it is hard to see the champions coming from outside the current top 3. Despite the stats, I don’t think Arsenal will win it and that both Chelsea and Man City have greater strength in depth and are playing better. The market agrees with this and has City as favourites (2.24 on Betfair) but based on the stats alone you could definitely make a case for Arsenal being value at their current price of 5.8 on Betfair.

Chelsea are a similar price to Arsenal (5.3) but are playing better and are more likely to spend in January and I think a bet on them would be very good value and should trade much lower.

It’s good to see a title race that is pretty wide open and hopefully it can remain interesting right up to the finish.

Premier League Preview – Week 19

Premier League Preview – Week 19

 Premier League Preview - Week 19

Having only just finished counting my winnings from Boxing Day, there’s already another set of matches to price up!

Did I learn anything from the last set of games. Not really. I was a little surprised that Everton didn’t come back to get at least a draw, having not lost at Goodison all year. I also didn’t expect Stoke to get hammered the way they did but having played most of the match with 9 men pretty much explains that one. I was also quite surprised that United managed to complete the comeback from being 2-0 down at Hull. They are showing signs of developing the character they had last season but the quality is still lacking for me.

Some intriguing matches this weekend that are very difficult to call. I couldn’t comfortably tell you who will win most of the matches this week in particular but am of course looking for the value selections.

The matches on Sunday look more exciting than the Saturday ones and a few people are tipping up Newcastle to do well against Arsenal. I have it as sight value on Arsenal but Newcastle do perform well with Cheick Tiote in the side and he’s back for this one.

Everton Southampton in particular is a difficult one to call. Everton are usually superb at home despite the blip against Sunderland but Southampton beat most and have proved capable against some of the big boys. Tim Howard and Gareth Barry are also suspended for the Toffees.

I think Tottenham are a tad low at home to Stoke. Spurs seem to struggle at home andhave only won 3 of their 9 matches at WHite Hart Lane. I know they have much more quality than Stoke but I’m not sure the inexperienced Tim Sherwood can be trusted to guide them to plenty of easy victories. I’m not sure he’ll organise them well enough and they could concede easy goals. Paulinho is back for Spurs and Stoke are without the 2 that were red carded against Newcastle though (Whelan and WIlson).


Bet of the Weekend – Arsenal to beat Newcastle at 2.0 with Bet365.

Finding Big Priced Winners

Finding Big Priced Winners

Boxing Day was an incredible day for my value premier league selections. I managed to get 7 winners from 10 which might not sound that remarkable but the odds of them were. All of the bottom 3 won which recorded winners at prices of 11.0, 5.0 and 4.0. I also picked the draw out on the Spurs match, a win for Southampton (Should have made this tip of the day in hindsight as it was better value than Man City) and shorter priced winners on Arsenal and Man City.

I heard on the TV that the bookies quoted odds of 140-1 for all of the bottom 3 to win so it shows how impressive Saturday’s results were. It actually could have been even better had Hull held on to a 2-0 lead and Stoke not had 2 men sent off when 1-0 up. Yes, I know, I’m just getting greedy now and I’m well aware that plenty of other things went in my favour.

So, how do I pick these out exactly and is it just luck? Well, regular readers of this blog will know that I use a value finder spreadsheet to input my percentage predictions which when compared to the inputted odds available shows up which selections are value (based on my estimates). It’s an approach that requires patience and it’s only in the last few weeks that the selections crept into profit. It I s however an approach I am confident with however and I made a handsome profit betting this way for most of 2011.

It’s not just as simple as opposing all the big favourites and whilst you probably won’t do too badly selecting most outsiders at the best odds, it won’t guarantee profit and the losing streaks will be painful. As you can see from the Boxing Day selections, I had 2 odds on bets in addition to the underdog selections and both won albeit after initially trailing.

What I do with the premier league selections is price up the favourites first as it’s much easier. You might think an outsider has a good chance of winning but when they lose more often than not it’s very difficult to estimate how much they do win. It’s much easier to estimate how often the team that usually wins or would usually win and when you compare this to the actual odds you can see whether the price on the favourite offers value. If it doesn’t then there’s likely value on the underdog. To turn odds into a percentage estimate just do 100 divided by the odds e.g. a 1.3 shot will be 100/1.3 = 76.92%.

When pricing up the football, I typically take into account form but also the match up and styles of the two teams. If an underdog is improving and they are playing against a not typically convincing odds on favourite then they will probably be picked out by my spreadsheet.

The only times I give strong estimates to favourites are when they are scoring freely, their opponents aren’t and usually when they are at home. I didn’t even think of the bottom 3 teams as being the bottom 3 when I priced them up. They’ve all had new managers recently and shown plenty of improvement and if I’d thought too much about league position I probably wouldn’t have given them a prayer.

The horse racing tipster Pricewise whose selections we track, actually highlights looking for improving horses as the key to his profits. The stats/data alone may not show that a horse should be a much shorter price but there may be other things that indicate why an improvement might be just around the corner.

A lot of the time it’s as simple as tracking talented performers and getting a feel for when it’s possible that they might be making the transition from good to great. It might be that you hear that they are taking their training more seriously. Their condition might have improved or they’ve had a big win that might take their confidence to the next level.

In recent years we’ve seen tennis players like Milos Raonic make this kind of surge and last year Fabio Fognini also had a huge improvement. In the Darts many felt it was a matter of time before Adrian Lewis took his game to the next level but his odds were still well into the 20s for the first World Championship that he won.

You won’t get every one right but at the kind of prices you’ll be looking at, being right only a third of the time could see you make big profits. It’s all about speculating, similar to the approach of that in the stock market. Betting is a much more professional game now and we can even look to trade some of these speculative prices to smooth out returns.

Premier League Preview Week 18

Premier League Preview Week 18

Premier League Preview Week 18

Hope you are all having a great Christmas. Another quick post with selections just to show where I believe the value lies on Boxing Day.

I am surprised Man City are such a good price considering how dominant they are at home, having won all of their Premier League home games this season and the price should be around 1.5/1.6 for me.

Newcastle are without Cheick Tiote and I think Stoke could get at least a point today.

Arsenal are without Wilshere but should still breeze past West Ham who are struggling for goals.

Southampton look a decent price to win away at Cardiff.


Bet of the day: Man City to beat Liverpool at 1.8 with Bet365.

Kempton Preview – Boxing Day

Kempton Preview – Boxing Day

King George VI - Boxing Day
Image by Carine06


Merry Christmas and a very happy and prosperous new year to all Betting Tools blog followers. The Christmas period is always a chance to over indulge in some of our favourite things. Racing plays a huge part in this for me as the festive season takes hold and what a week we have coming up.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, poet and lecturer whom I studied at university. His thoughts on transcendentalism and his naturalistic doctrine were of course intriguing but it was his philosophy and poetry that I enjoyed the most, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”. This quote is a tenuous link between a philosophy I loved reading about and our potential, ambitious novice chasers and hurdlers. Moreover, it relates to the progressive types who come March may indeed have a role to play within the prose of our national hunt season culminating as a champion at Cheltenham in the spring.

With this in mind, we have the likes of My Tent or Yours, Dynaste, Cue Card, Silvinaco Conti all hoping to illustrate the ability and potential they may possess, in Ireland we have the likes of  Ballycassey, Morning Assembly and Black Thunder also trying to prove their credentials (amongst many others)

Below I’ll be marking your card for Kempton on Boxing Day!


12.50pm William Hill – In the App Novices Hurdle (Class 2) 2m  

The first thing to note is undoubtedly the weather conditions. The ground here will quite clearly be soft to heavy and I’m siding with it being extremely testing. This makes a stoutly bred type who may have enough in reserve to keep galloping at what is usually characterised as a quick track would be one of the key variables well selecting possible winners here. Most of the form is relative to the kind of opponents they have encountered on only a few starts so as always it’s a tricky start to proceedings.

Champagne At Tara may indeed be a solid proposition here, I liked the way he jumped in the main last time out on his hurdling debut at Sandown and AP McCoy wasn’t hard on him and gave this exciting prospect a real learning experience, he finished 7 lengths or so behind Vaniteux who stayed on up the hill, they re-oppose here and one must respect the Nicky Henderson charge.

However, the Jonjo O’Neil stable is hitting form of late and this Kayf Tara grey gelding may indeed make progress here on ground which may well suit. The flat track at Kempton over the two mile trip will play into the strengths of Champagne At Tara, a really interesting prospect for the future.


13.25pm William Hill – Download the App Novices Chase (Class 3) 2m 4f 110y

The five year olds have a good record in recent years and Nicky Henderson took this race with Tetlami & River Maigue in the last two years respectively. Again, the main protagonists will be the most progressive here and I see Urbain De Sivola with the right profile to land this prize for the Ditcheat yard. Since moving to deepest Somerset this Le Fou chestnut performed extremely creditably on his inaugural start for the Nicholl’s team.

Urbain De Sivola will be stepping up in trip and will be facing the bigger obstacles for the first time, it is relatively unknown as to how well he will cope with that but I don’t believe he’ll find it too much of a problem. He is a scopey, progressive type who is undoubtedly on the upgrade. Once again when looking at previous winners in recent years five year olds have a solid record in this race but he will need to jump convincingly. Paul Nicholl’s has thrown him in here off a workable mark and I believe a man like Nicholl’s certainly ‘knows his onions’ when it comes to making a decision like this.


14.00pm Kauto Star Novices Chase (Grade 1) 3m

Formerly known as the Feltham Chase the name was changed in July 2013 which represents quite rightly one of the greatest steeplechasers of all time. Watching back Kauto Stars wins in the King George always makes me smile but his Betfair Chase win will always live long in the memory, a gutsy, brave, bold and courageous champion. T

This race for me represents little value but as I’m selecting a runner for each race I have to go for Just a Par. A little uninspiring when looking at the price but ticks plenty of boxes. Another selection for the Paul Nicholl’s yard and it may be an excellent day for the stable.

Just a Par will enjoy Kempton, a nice even gallop would play into his strengths and if he can jump like he did last time out at Newbury then he will be hard to beat. He was never really asked many questions by Daryl Jacobs, pushed out to a cosy victory jumping accurately throughout beating Third Intention who lines up again today. Not the most competitive or exciting renewals of this race but Just a Par will be hard to beat.


14.35pm Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m

Now this is where the heart starts beating a little bit quicker and what a spectacle we have in store. Is it quite as simple as a match bet between My Tent or Yours v The New One? I’m not so sure but one thing I am sure about at this track and on this surface is that The New One will have the advantage of stamina in reserve and he won’t mind a tactically run affair, he will stay and quicken if need be on ground which won’t hinder his chances.

Conversely, the same cannot be said about My Tent Or Yours. Although a classy, speedy horse who will be my choice come March in the Champion Hurdle but this is different. With no obvious pace angle and with how he fights for his head early on in races, failing to settle appropriately at times I just don’t think this will be best suited to him.

The New One on the other hand will have the opportunity to illustrate his ability to handle this ground if it evolves into a tactical affair. We already know how well he travels and jumps, winning the Neptune in style at Cheltenham and winning both his starts this year only goes to show more is on its way. A class chaser in the making? I think so.


15.10pm William Hill King George VI (Grade 1) 3m

This race never fails to disappoint year on year. Many will be looking for the new young pretenders to take centre stage and I believe that could be the right way to go. Cases can be made for at least four or five of these and it really is as close as the proverbial ‘cigerette paper’ between the front three in the betting market.

Starting with Al Ferof his last run in the Amlin Chase bodes well from a jumping and fitness point of view but not from a competitive one. This Dom Alco grey is without question a classy type and looked a top class chaser in 2012 when taking the Paddy Power Gold Cup in style but will a step up to 3 miles enhance his chances? He has a pedigree that suggests he can so I’m pretty certain he’ll stay but not sure he’s as good as some of the other protagonists.

Silvianco Conti is another who has chances and will of course come on from his last run but I believe he still has many questions to answer. He shares the same father as Al Ferof and can certainly stay the 3 mile trip. If he jumps and travels like he did in the Denman Chase back in February then he undoubtedly has a chance, I’m just certain he is a little short of top class ability. Long Run goes again and could well be the fly in the ointment at a respectable each way price but I believe he’s now regressing and may well be falling out of love with the game.

My selection goes to the consistent jumper Dynaste. Last time out this grey was travelling like the winner. He jumped beautifully throughout but just couldn’t handle the stamina reserves of Cue Card, who he faces once again and who had the benefit of a run. I’ve never really been a lover of how Cue Card jumps (particularly at this track and when going right handed) and he certainly has his idiosyncrasies.

Cue Card has recently put many question marks to bed particularly surrounding his quirks and stamina doubts but I’m still not sold by him. Dynaste may of needed the run last time out and he’ll be ripe and primed for this. That last run will no doubt bring him on and I expect a solid performance on ground he’ll relish. Dynaste in my eyes will progress into a super chaser and with winning the Feltham last year at this track, over this distance and on this ground I’m expecting him to take this with aplomb.



Recommended Bets:

12:50 – Champagne At Tara at 10.0 with Paddy Power

13:25 – Urbain De Sivola at 4.5 with William Hill

14:00 – Just a Par at 1.62 with William Hill

14:35 – The New One at 2.0 with William Hill

15:10 – Dynaste at 4.5 for Bet Victor


Premier League Preview – Week 17

Premier League Preview – Week 17

Premier League Preview Week 17

It was a small loss last week (first in 5 weeks) but we’re sill in profit overall which is obviously good! Not much of a preview today I’m afraid. It’s all a bit hectic around Christmas and to top it of I have a sever case of eye strain!

If I’m feeling better tomorrow I may try and add a bit of reasoning/thinking behind my estimates but failing that have a good Christmas.


Bet of the Weekend – Everton to beat Swansea at 2.5 with bet365


Premier League Preview – Week 16

Premier League Preview – Week 16

Premier League Preview Week16

It was another week of profit last week making it 4 in a row now. The selections are now showing a profit overall to level stakes and Kelly stakes both with a modest return just short of 5%. The Kelly stakes are actually out-performing the level stakes ever so slightly and this is unusual for me. It means that I’m pricing the games up pretty well on average though and it’ll be interesting to see if this continues.

Man City v Arsenal is  the early game on Saturday and taking into account their home record and the fact that Arsenal struggled against Everton and lost to Napoli in the week,1.83 looks a decent price. Man City have in fact won all 7 of their home games this season.

Cardiff entertain West Brom at the Millenium Stadium and although this one is difficult to call, I do make WBA slight favourites and the value is with them.

How on earth Chelsea are 1.2 coming off a loss to Stoke I don’t know. They may well beat strugglers Crystal Palace but 1.2 is not value. Palace have done well under Pulis with 3 wins from their last 4 and starting with a lay of Chelsea could be a good trade.

Everton host Fulham at Goodison and although I was impressed with them at Arsenal, I still feel they’re a little short. Fulham gave a spirited performance at home to Aston Villa on Sunday and the work ethic will be there again. The draw looks a decent shout at 5.0.

I found the Newcastle v Southampton match difficult to price up. The Saints have exceeded expectations so far this season but have had a small blip in recent weeks. Newcastle’s form on the other hand has perked right up and even without the suspended Cabaye, I have to favour the home side in this one (just).

West Ham are still struggling for goals and Sunderland are improving. West Ham have only managed 1 win in their last 8 matches and so the value has to be on the Black Cats here.

Stoke did well against Chelsea last week but they were a bit lucky. Hull have had some solid performance so far this season and conceded only 3 goals in 7 home matches. I think Stoke will find it tough to break them down.

Onto Sunday and Man United are worth backing against Aston Villa in the early kick off, with the Joe Punter righting them off. Yes, they are falling short of being title contenders but they still have plenty in reserve to ease past Villa (even without the injured Van Persie) who have more than rode their luck this season.

Norwich seem to be on the up and improving and winning 3 of their last 5. 2.88 is a pretty big price for a home side playing against a Swansea side in pretty poor form. The Swans have lost 3 of their last 4 and were lucky to draw against Hull on Monday.

Finally, Tottenham play Liverpool in the 4pm game at White Hart Lane. Spurs are struggling for goals in the Prem and unfortunately for them, the opposition is nowhere near as poor as that in the Europa League. I don’t think Gerrard is as big a miss as people think and with Luis Suarez in hot form odds of 3.00 look very juicy indeed.


Bet of the weekend – Norwich to beat Swansea at 2.88 with bet365.

Cheltenham International Preview

Cheltenham International Preview

Cheltenham International Meeting
Image by Stephen Bowden


12.10pm – JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial (Juvenile Hurdle) 2m 1f

Firstly, these trials can be a good precursor for future grade one events and this race without question is worth scribbling the result into the proverbial notebook. Conversely, results and performances within this race may result in following a (for want of a better phrase) ‘nearly man’ kind.

This sounds like a paradox but it has paid dividends when looking at the runners up rather than the winners. A case in point would be the Paul Nicholl’s trained Hinterland who finished second in 2011 and has now gone on to better things.

COMMISSIONED  for the John Ferguson yard is a training establishment which quite simply has gone from strength to strength, a trainer that likes to purchase flat pedigree’s and who can blame him. This Authorized colt ran three times on the level and ran progressively winning two of his three starts running over the 1m 6f at Musselborough on his final run in October of this year.

My expectation is that a market check would be in order for his hurdling bow but hailing from a proven yard who undoubtedly will have him fit and schooled to perfection seems worth highlighting.


13.15pm – Jenny Mould Memorial Handicap Chase 2m 110y

With Nicholl’s v Henderson a common place battle for the NH trainers championship and with the former in terrifying form I really believe it won’t be long until we see the Seven Barrow’s yard start to fire (also potentially terrifying).

With this in mind I believe FRENCH OPERA  at a tantalizing each way price could be the one here. The boxes are firmly ticked on current ground conditions and he has won at the Cleeve Hill track on two occasions and usually puts up a good performance over the two mile trip.

More importantly his current mark of 150 is certainly workable, well within the realms of possibility as this Bering colt took this race back in 2009 off a three pound lower mark (147). Another positive is that his last run would of brought him on, finishing 2nd in the Amlin Chase (which counts for little as only two went to post) that form is irrelevant to a degree but seeing that he jumped right handed throughout illustrates a clear liking to running left handed.

FRENCH OPERA  is a solid jumper and can travel like the best in the business over this trip. Solid each way selection in my view.


14.25pm Stewart Family Gold Cup (Handicap Chase Grade 3) 2m 5f 

SALUT FLO  springs out of the page here and may indeed be better than a handicapper even as an eight year old. Lightly raced, progressive type who may show plenty and can take this. David Pipe trained him to perfection at the Cheltenham festival in 2012 when he led from pillar to post and landed the Byrne Group Plate.

Obviously, you can find holes in that form, a long layoff which hasn’t seen him run since and is hard to assess in terms of how he will favour after such a long time off the track, it also may be true that he failed to beat any superstars. Though, I wouldn’t read too much into that as David Pipe is a shrewd operator, he knows the time of day when it comes to getting horses right on the day.

His bloodline has produced some excellent top level horses including Quel Esprit, Quito De La Roque and  the progressive Sametegal so he comes from a solid jumping family. You can also argue that the handicapper is quite literally guessing as to how good he might be, a mark of 144 looks a fair assumption but it could also prove to be extremely lenient. Is he better than that? I think he could well be. Watch the market!


Best Bets:

12:10 – Commissioned at 6.0 with Bet Victor

13:15 – French Opera at 15.0 with Bet Victor

14:25 – Salut Flu at 9.0 with Paddy Power


PDC Darts World Championship Preview

PDC Darts World Championship Preview

Darts World Championship 2014

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas for me without the Darts action from the Ally Pally. It all starts this Friday, the 13th December and as this is a knockout competition it will indeed be unlucky for some.

The World Championships has been dominated by Phil Taylor for the last 46 years. Ok, not quite but he has won 16 times out of the last 24! This also includes last year’s win over Michael Van Gerwen. Taylor was 4-2 down but came back to win 7-4 and it again emphasised just how difficult it is to beat Taylor in this long format.

If everyone brings their A game then the winner can only come from 3 players: Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, ‘Mighty’ Michael Van Gerwen and Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis.

Taylor’s 16 World Championships also include wins in 3 out of the last 5. He’s had another good year winning a 5th UK Open, a 14th World Matchplay, 11th World Grand Prix and 5th Grand Slam of darts. His form has got better as the year has progressed and he seems to have peaked at the right time as is often the case.

The draw has been very kind to Taylor too with Van Gerwen, Lewis, Barneveld, Wade and Anderson all in the opposing half. It would be almost unthinkable for Taylor not to make the final.

Lewis has won the title twice but is also the most inconsistent of the ‘big 3’. He still seems to be in awe of Taylor and with the two now back to being best buds again in recent years Lewis is much less threatening to Taylor. The two even practiced together before the recent semi-final in the Grand Slam of Darts. It’s almost as if he doesn’t dare to beat Taylor at times.

MVG is yet to win this title and as already mentioned came desperately close last year. He will certainly have the desire but last year’s defeat was brutal and whether he has the belief is another matter. Both Lewis and Van Gerwen will be hoping that Taylor gets beat in the early rounds where the format is slightly shorter and upsets are more likely.

Remember that the Championships takes a break over Christmas and resumes the day after boxing day. The full schedule is below.


Date Time Matches
Fri Dec 13 7pm-12am 1x Prelim, 4x R1
Sat Dec 14 12pm-5pm 1x Prelim, 4x R1
7pm-12am 1x Prelim, 4x R1
Sun Dec 15 7pm-12am 1x Prelim, 4x R1
Mon Dec 16 7pm-12am 1x Prelim, 4x R1
Tue Dec 17 7pm-12am 1x Prelim, 4x R1
Wed Dec 18 7pm-12am 1x Prelim, 4x R1
Thu Dec 19 7pm-11pm 1x Prelim, 4x R1
Fri Dec 20 7pm-11pm 3x R2
Sat Dec 21 7pm-11pm 3x R2
Sun Dec 22 12.30pm-4.30pm 3x R2
7pm-11pm 3x R2
Mon Dec 23 7pm-11pm 3x R2
Fri Dec 27 12.30pm-4.30pm 1x R2, 2x R3
7pm-11pm 3x R3
Sat Dec 28 12.30pm-4.30pm 3x R3
7pm-11pm 2x Quarter-Finals
Sun Dec 29 7pm-11pm 2x Quarter-Finals
Mon Dec 30 7pm-11pm Semi-Finals
Wed Jan 1 8pm-11pm Final


Round 1 highlights

Brothers Kim and Ronnie Huybrechts cruelly have to face each other in round 1. Kim is the better and more experienced player and beat older brother Ronnie in the Grand Slam of Darts quarter-finals only last month.

Gary Anderson plays 2005 finalist Mark Dudbridge. I’ve not seen Dudbridge play for a while but he’s a very capable player and Anderson can have very bad days on the doubles.


Darts Facts and things to look out for

-Look out for Kim Huybrechts’ wife in the audience. She is fit. Don’t worry, you won’t need to look closely as the cameraman will look to switch to her as much as possible.

-James Wade used to date Helen Chamberlain from Soccer AM and is now dating one of the walk on girls. Lucky Bar steward.

-Simon Whitlock’s pony tail is real.

-Paul Nicholson has a very interesting accent for an Australian.

-Phil Taylor loves a good name drop and will probably mention Ronnie O’Sullivan or Robbie Williams.

-9 darters are ever more frequent but people will still bring up the 9 darter/147 is snooker debate.


Darts Betting Tools

2 brilliant darts sites we really recommend are Darts Database for all your stats and head to heads and also Live Darts Data. This is useful  if you can’t watch the action for any reason or need to keep tabs on 180s and averages.

Darts can be good to trade in-play but make sure you use a third party program like Gruss, Bet Angel or Geek’s Toy that has fast refresh rates. The price movements are fast and brutal and you’ll be destined to take poor value using Betfair itself. I’d also advise taking trading positions during breaks or where there’s a decent pause in play.


Betting Advice

Taylor should make the final but 1.9 doesn’t offer much value and his price can’t go much shorter until the final. So if you’re going to back him do so after he’s been sure to avoid any shocks in the shorter, early rounds.

In terms of value, I like Michael Van Gerwen at 5.0s. He nearly had Taylor last year and I think he has the mental strength to go one better. He’s won half of his meetings with Taylor this year including 2 out of the last 3.

In fact you’d be silly to bet against MVG at any stage not least because of how good he is but also because his celebratory fist pump and facial expression after he hits a 180 will drive you crazy.

I also think James Wade is a decent each way bet at 34.0. He’s troubled Taylor in the past and has played some good stuff this year. He could also provide a good back to lay opportunity.


The darts really is great viewing so don’t knock it til you’ve tried it! If you’re on twitter also makes sure you follow prolific darts tweeter @DinkyRach for excellent darts related banter.

Enjoy the action!