World Darts Championship Tips: Szaganski to soar

World Darts Championship Trophy
Szaganski could put down a real marker on his Ally Pally debut

Radek Szaganski heads to London to make his Ally Pally debut on Wednesday afternoon and I think he'll bring his recent floor form to the big stage...

  • Reigning champion Michael Smith is 9/110.00 to retain the title

  • Szaganski to bring superb floor form up onto the big stage

  • Ross Smith Should have too much for Dutch opponent

Five days into one of the greatest events in the darting calendar, we've see the likes of Gerwyn Price and Luke Humphries coast through to post-Christmas action. Michael Smith also put down a real marker in his opening game as the St Helens man looks to retain the title he won 12 months ago. The world number one is now 9/110.00 to do just that.

Poland has a new star

Radek Szaganski is one of my dark horse picks at this year's World Championship. I don't think he'll be challenging for the title come January 3rd but I do expect the Pole to advance to the second round with relative ease and maybe even produce an upset when he faces Raymond van Barneveld in round two.

Having narrowly missed out on qualifying for the World Cup, he has gone on to win his first PDC title in 2023, after threatening to do so for a number of months.

He's shown with victories over the likes of Joe Cullen, Jonny Clayton and Gary Anderson that he doesn't fear anyone and can mix it with the game's very best.

The Polish bus driver, who now lives in Ireland, is also competing in this event with his Tour Card privileges on the line. He's already confirmed that he will return to Q-School in January if he isn't able to do enough, but how he would love the security of retaining his status as a professional player during the World Championship.

Despite his first round opponent Marko Kantele having superior experience on the Ally Pally stage, I'm backing Szaganski to win the match 3-0 at 7/42.75.

Back Szaganski to beat Kantele 3-0 @ 7/42.75

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Smith to suffer no more

Ross Smith is one of the most exciting players on the circuit, for me. I absolutely love watching him play and think he has been incredibly unlucky in 2023. Time after time he has delivered ton topping averages, outscored opponents and somehow ended up on the wrong end of results but at this year's World Championship, I think he'll go further than he ever has done before.

I also believe that he will have way too much for Niels Zonneveld in his opening game, especially given the way his Dutch opponent played to set up this meeting.

Triple Z averaged a shade under 80 against Darren Webster but did of course show a higher level during his run to the Last 16 of last month's Players Championship Finals. With that said, I don't think he'll be given a great deal of time to settle into this contest.

ross smith getty.jpg

Twice Smudger has advanced to the last 32 of the World Championship, and twice he has been beaten at that stage in the most excruciating manner by Dirk van Duijvenbode. This year, he could have a real mouthwatering clash with Chris Dobey in round three.

Smith is one of the heaviest 180 hitters on tour and I'm backing him to win his match against Zonneveld, hit the most 180s and highest checkout at 11/82.38.

Back Ross Smith to win, hit the most 180s & highest checkout @ 11/82.38

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