Dan Fitch is backing a big win for Jonny Clayton against Dirk van Duijvenbode, to set up a mouthwatering clash with Gerwyn Price in the next round...
"On the two previous occasions that they’ve met in best of 19 games, Clayton has won 10-4 and earlier this year, 10-3."
PDC World Matchplay
Saturday 17 June
Live on Sky Sports Arena
The first round of the World Matchplay begins on Saturday, with the darting action coming from the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
It's Michael van Gerwen who is the favourite to win the tournament at 6.05/1. The world number one Gerwyn Price is just behind at 6.411/2, with Jose De Sousa the third favourite at 8.615/2, Peter Wright at 9.28/1 and Dimitri van den Bergh at 13.012/1.
Four matches from the first quarter kick off the tournament, in what looks like the toughest section of the tournament. It's no surprise that Price is only second favourite when he may have to meet the new Premier League champion Jonny Clayton in the second round and then possibly the reigning World Matchplay title holder Van den Bergh in the quarter-finals.
Dutchman is the value
Dave Chisnall 1.51/2 v Vincent van der Voort 3.02/1
Saturday 17 July, 19:15
Though Chisnall's reputation and ranking means that he should be favourite, these prices look a little too far apart. Van der Voort has won his last two games against Chisnall, which includes at 10-6 victory in this very tournament last year.
A month ago Van der Voort beat Chisnall 6-5 in a Players Championship event. The value is clearly with the Dutchman. Either back Van der Voort to win at 3.02/1, or if feeling cautious, go for him in the handicap market with +2.5 at 1.84/5.
Clayton can win big
Jonny Clayton 1.574/7 v Dirk van Duijvenbode 2.6413/8
Saturday 17 July, 20:10
Clayton has already had a great season, but it has had no impact upon his ranking. The Ferret has already lifted the Masters and the Premier League this season, but with both of those tournaments being non-ranking invitational events, Clayton finds himself seeded 16, which hardly reflects his current form.
Success in this tournament could give his ranking a much needed boost. Van Duijvenbode is far from being an easy opponent in the opening round, but on the two previous occasions that they've met in best of 19 games, Clayton has won 10-4 and earlier this year, 10-3. Back Clayton with -2.5 on the handicap at 2.35/4.
Price is right for Gerwyn
Gerwyn Price 1.21/5 v Jermaine Wattimena 5.14/1
Saturday 17 July, 21:05
Price was meant to play Mensur Suljovic, but the Austrian pulled out of the tournament due to medical reasons and had been replaced by Wattimena.
The reigning World Champion played Wattimena twice last year and won both matches without losing a leg, which included a 7-0 whitewash in the Premier League, when Wattimena guested as a Challenger. Back Price with -3.5 on the handicap at 1.910/11.
Dancing Dmitri will make it through
Dimitri van den Bergh 1.374/11 v Devon Petersen 3.613/5
Saturday 17 July 22:00
The reigning champion Van den Bergh starts his defence against Petersen. The draw has not been kind to his hopes of retaining the Matchplay title, with Petersen always a capable opponent and the likes of Clayton or Price waiting in the quarter-finals.
Van den Bergh tends to raise his game on the big stage and should make it through. Back Van den Bergh to win the match and score the highest checkout at 1.9110/11.