Some love the unique format of the World Grand Prix and some hate it, but two of the top-ranked players in the game absolutely revel in it and Wayne Mardle is keeping his early bets simple ahead of the action in Dublin
"Phil Taylor has gone off the boil in recent weeks, but when it comes to the televised events he never lets himself down and 3.259/4 is probably as big a price as I can remember seeing in lord knows how many years."
It's World Grand Prix time and the first thing to remember is that this is an utterly unique tournament.
Players must start and finish each leg on a double and, quite simply, there's no other event like it in the calendar. This is the only time we play the format all year and it can be awkward to get your head around. I hated it!
Competitors can get mesmerised by the doubles and hopelessly watch a leg disappear in the space of a few throws as their rival races away with it. If you are not away with a double straight off then you're as good as dead.
For that reason this is a horses for courses event and you have to back players with proven form and swerve those who hate it. That's nice of course because all of a sudden you have significantly shortened a 32-runner field into a handful of genuine contenders.
At the prices you have to back Phil Taylor. Yes, he has gone off the boil in recent weeks, but when it comes to the televised events he never lets himself down and 3.259/4 is probably as big a price as I can remember seeing in lord knows how many years. The man is a ten-time Grand Prix champion since 1998 - only four times has he failed to win the Grand Prix crown since then. A must bet.
Next up is James Wade at 12.011/1. The man is an absolute double machine who can be relentless when in the mood, rarely throwing away a chance to win when given a sniff. Wade is not world no.2 by mistake and he's the only man in the field other than Phil to have won this more than once.
Some are concerned by his mental state, but I think he's better now and I fancy him to shrug off recent mediocre form at one of his favourite tournaments.
Elsewhere in the betting, a couple of players in the second quarter catch the eye. Simon Whitlock revels in the format and it wouldn't surprise me were he to go deep while I have a sneaky feeling that Kevin Painter will have a little run if he can get past Kim Huybrechts in the first round.
At a massive price (120.0119/1) Richie Burnett is of interest as he clearly loves the format. The Welshman reached the semi-final last year and if he can get over the first hurdle he is going to be hard to stop and maybe only Wade will able to stop him in the quarter. I certainly think he's a massive price to beat Adrian Lewis on Tuesday evening and will be backing him at around 3.412/5.
There are bound to be first round shocks so don't be afraid to back a few outsiders as we get under way in Dublin. The cream usually rises to the top after that but a few big names are going to fall early doors so watch out and make sure you profit when they do!