Phil Taylor enters the tournament on the second night of the PDC World Championships and Betfair Ambassador Wayne Mardle believes the Power will start with a straightforward victory...
Phil will win this 3-0. He likes to open up with a big performance to let people know what his intentions are and to really get into a tournament from the first throw. There's a nice incentive for The Power at the Worlds this year in that he could be one of only two players to make the quarter-finals before the Christmas break. He'll want to be in the last eight nice and early and I think that will fire him through the early rounds starting with Mansell.
In truth, most of the early games at this tournament are done and dusted before they start and I really can't see any other eventuality here than a first round whitewash for Taylor.
During the Grand Slam it seemed that punters were underestimating James Hubbard and, while I'm not sure he'll win this, I do fancy him to score more 180s than Richie Burnett. I backed him to do just that against Simon Whitlock at the Grand Slam and he rewarded me at a nice price. When Hubbard hits that first treble 20 he is instantly looking for a 180 and he can score big, no problem. Burnett is the 1.664/6 favourite and he should justify that status but Hubbard can give him a fright.
Hopp is one of the young generation who could turn out to be something special. This 17-year-old German just plays the game and keeps it simple. In fact, he has that typical German efficiency. I fancy him to beat Pietersen then go and beat Denis Ovens.
Despite Jenkins being a 1.351/3 favourite, this is not cut and dried. I'm not too keen on getting involved. Brown is an unpredictable player and when he is on form, he gets the bit between his teeth and thinks he can beat the world. He might just do that here and I suppose that makes him value but I wouldn't want to chance my money on him.
Chizzy is pure class and this has 3-0 written all over it!
Hendriks is another outsider who I will back to score most 180s on Saturday. He probably won't win but he can score big whereas Jones is more of a steady type.