Dan Fitch is backing Peter Wright to have too much for Michael Smith and a competitive match between Nathan Aspinall and Michael van Gerwen in Friday's quarter-finals.
"Wright was in scintillating form against Cullen, averaging the highest total seen in the tournament to date, with 105.46."
PDC World Matchplay
Friday 23 July
Live on Sky Sports Arena
We will find out the identity of the last two semi-finalists on Friday, as we watch two more quarter-final clashes unfold.
The world number two Peter Wright is in action first against Michael Smith and 'Snakebite' has come into third favourite to win the tournament at 5.79/2, having blown away Joe Cullen in the second round.
Michael van Gerwen did not have it all his way against Ian White, but won comfortably enough in the end. MVG is the second favourite to win the World Matchplay at the time of writing, at odds of 4.67/2.
Snakebite form makes him rightful favourite
Peter Wright 1.548/15 v Michael Smith 2.6213/8
Start time, 19:15
Wright was in scintillating form against Cullen, averaging the highest total seen in the tournament to date, with 105.46. His finishing wasn't bad either, as he produced a 55% checkout percentage to help secure a 11-5 win.
Smith was involved in a draining 13-11 win over Jose de Sousa. Averaging 99.73, with a 41.94% checkout percentage, there is the potential for such a long match in sweltering heat to have taken a toll on 'Bully Boy'.
That could be an issue considering that Wright won his match so easily. These two have not played each other since 2020, when they met seven times, with Wright winning five to Smith's two. This included the Masters final that year, which Wright won 11-10.
As was the case with Wright for many years, Smith has reached a number of major finals without winning one, which includes the World Matchplay in 2019, before reaching the semi-finals last year. Given Wright's form, we have to back him to inflict more misery on Smith, with 'Snakebite' -2.5 available at 2.111/10.
That bet allows for Wright to win by any scoreline up to 16-13. You can partially cover that by backing over 27.5 legs at 1.84/5, which allows for a win for either player, at any score from 16-12 upwards.
Aspinall has strong record against MVG
Michael van Gerwen 1.51/2 v Nathan Aspinall 2.767/4
Start time, 20:45
Van Gerwen's odds here have more to do with his past achievements than the current reality. He's played well in his wins over Damon Heta and White to get here, but certainly not better than several other quarter-finalists.
Perhaps these odds also reflect the fact that Aspinall is generally a little underrated. 'The Asp' is rarely spectacular, but he's very consistent and has a real competitive edge. These traits have made him a very dangerous player in the Premier League, where he has reached the play-offs in both of his two seasons, losing in the final in 2020.
In this season's Premier League, Aspinall draw 6-6 with Van Gerwen before beating him 8-3 in their second encounter. Even when you go further back to include all of their previous meetings, many of which took place when Van Gerwen was at his peak, Aspinall has fared better than most against the Dutch master. In 12 games, Van Gerwen has won six, with Aspinall winning five and one ending as a draw.
Aspinall's record suggests that he can at least make this tight and you can back over 27.5 legs at 1.834/5.
Another bet to consider is for Aspinall to average over 97.5 at 1.834/5, having produced 98.98 in his second round win against Gary Anderson, despite a slow start.
Dan Fitch World Matchplay P/L
Staked: 24.00 pts
Returned: 24.23 pts
P/L: +0.23 pts