Wayne Mardle on the World Grand Prix: Unflappable Mensur can go all the way
We're off to Dublin on Sunday for the start of the World Grand Prix, the only darts tournament in the calendar where you need to hit a double to start. Wayne Mardle gives his thoughts and best bets...
"I've already alluded to the format being double start, this favours Mensur and Wright, both very good finishers, they on average hit a double with three darts in hand 77% of the time and that means hitting the double in and out shouldn't hold any fears for either."
Double in, in Dublin!
This is the one event of the year with a completely different format to any other. The double in means you have to hit a double before you can start scoring, and then you have to hit a double for the second time in the leg to win it.
This is a great leveller because it takes a scoring visit away from the real big hitters.
Over the last few years there's been plenty of upsets, especially in the first round where the format is ultra short, the best of three sets. Sheesh!
MVG favourite but tough semi-final awaits
Michael van Gerwen is the favourite to win yet again at 6/5. Gary Anderson, the man of the moment, the man who some believe is the world's best player right now is 7-1.
Whoever wins this event will have to go through at least one of the above in my opinion. Michael and Gary are in the same top half, meaning they are due to meet in the semi final.
Mensur can go far if getting past Wade in round one
Of all the bottom half of the draw dwellers, I fancy some highly ranked players, namely Peter Wright (8/1) and Mensur Suljovic (14/1).
I tipped up Suljovic to win the World Matchplay in July, on that occasion he was beaten in the final by Anderson in a real thriller, so maybe I'm thinking he can do me another favour and at least reach the final.
There are lots of dangers in Smith, Lewis, Whitlock, and how about the reigning champ Daryl Gurney (30/1). I'm a Michael Smith (25/1) fan so I'm hesitantly omitting him from my bets.
I've already alluded to the format being double start, this favours Mensur and Wright, both very good finishers, they on average hit a double with three darts in hand 77% of the time and that means hitting the double in and out shouldn't hold any fears for either.
There is a spanner in the works for those wanting to back the big Austrian, Wade, James Wade (50/1). The two time Grand Prix champ is the first round opponent of Mensur and it's is a real horror draw for both, but I'm thinking if Suljovic comes through it he'll fancy going all the way.
So I'm happy to get Suljovic on side and I'll also back him to meet MVG in the final (9/1). I can't foresee anyone but Michael or Gary to fill the finalist space from the top half.
You need oodles of composure to win this and I've picked two who don't melt very often.