Wayne Mardle on the World Championship: Bully Boy to push Wade all the way

James Wade looks set for a tough match against Michael 'Bully Boy' Smith
James Wade looks set for a tough match against Michael 'Bully Boy' Smith

The action moves swiftly on at Ally Pally with another two sessions today, and our man Wayne Mardle has a couple of selections from this afternoon's matches...

"I'm confident Michael can push James all the way and maybe nick it in a last set."

Back Smith +1.5 Sets @ 6/5
Back Smith + 2.5 Sets @ 8/11

Mark Webster v Daryl Gurney
Thursday, 13:15
Live on Sky Sports 3

Once bitten, twice shy! Well, I'm not prepared to quit just yet.

I fancied Mensur Suljovic to take care of Mark in the previous round, but he came up just short, but this time I think Daryl ends Mark's hopes.

Daryl is playing consistently better than Webby. Gurney's averages are way above the Welshman's. Daryl's mean average is just over 96, compared to Mark's, 90.

I know averages don't win games, but they do tell us who's playing better.

Gurney's scoring should be way too good for Mark. If, Daryl can hit his doubles to over 50%, just like he did against Robert Thornton, he will be very difficult to contain.

Mark missed 42 darts at a double against Mensur. Daryl, in all probability won't allow Mark that many darts at a double.

Gurney has won the last two meeting between the two, and although they came over a much shorter format I fancy he'll make it three on the spin this afternoon.

Recommended Bets
Back Gurney -1.5 Sets @ 11/10

James Wade v Michael Smith
Thursday, 16:00
Live on Sky Sports 3

I really do think Michael Smith can do a job here. He has had a horror of a year, playing poorly for huge clumps of it.

He came into this world championships with the pressure firmly on. Playing on the world stage with little confidence is distressing.

He's a young man and it was all going wrong so early in his career, so halting the slide by beating Ricky Evans, then Mervyn King, shows that Smith might just have more resilience than I gave him credit for.

James Wade is playing well, against Steve Beaton he played superb for three sets, but the moment he started to struggle, the game went, and Beaton rallied.

I'm confident Michael can push James all the way and maybe nick it in a last set.

The stats suggest Wade is playing the better of the two, averaging two points more than Smith, and with a superior checkout percentage, but I just don't believe Smith should be 5/2 to win this match. This is a price-based punt.

Head to head, Wade has won the last five meetings, so here's hoping that sequence doesn't continue today, though if Smith can stay within one set of the Machine then both the recommended bets will land.

Recommended Bets
Back Smith +1.5 Sets @ 6/5
Back Smith + 2.5 Sets @ 8/11


Follow Wayne on Twitter @Wayne501Mardle

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