World Darts Championship Wednesday Tips: Ashton could be underrated

Lisa Ashton
Can Lisa Ashton become the second woman to win a match at the PDC World Championships?

Lisa Ashton has a winning record against her opponent Adam Hunt and Dan Fitch thinks there's value in backing her, as he previews the second day of the PDC World Championships.

"Ashton has won both of her two matches against Hunt this year, so it’s curious as to why she’s such an outsider here."

Back Ashton +1.5 against Hunt at 2.01/1

PDC World Championship
Wednesday 16 December
Live on Sky Sports Arena

On Monday came the news that the darts world feared. Fans were set to return at this World Championship, with 1000 in attendance per session, but the decision to put London into Tier 3 has seen those hopes dashed.

There will be fans there when the tournament kicks off on Tuesday night, but none by Wednesday, when the new Tier 3 rules kick in. Presuming that London remains in Tier 3 throughout the competition, then the Ally Pally is going to be a lot quieter than usual.

That could have an impact on who wins the World Championship in 2021. One of the theories as to why there have been so many shock winners in major tournaments this year, is that the top players - who are adept at handling the pressure of playing in front of big crowds - have been robbed of an advantage. For now the odds remain largely unchanged, with Michael van Gerwen still the favourite at 3.613/5.

Aspinall conquerer will go through

Ross Smith 1.674/6 v David Evans 2.427/5
Start time, 13:10

Smith and Evans meet for the dubious pleasure of taking on the recent Grand Slam of Darts winner Jose de Sousa in the second round, with the Portuguese player the fifth favourite to win the World Championship at 21.020/1.

Both players are aged 31, but it's Smith that's built up the most experience. Ranked 42 in the world, Smith recently enjoyed a good run at the Players Championship Finals in which he beat Nathan Aspinall on his way to the last-16.

The 1.674/6 available for Smith is not a huge price, but is decent enough value, with everything pointing towards the favourite claiming victory.

Zonneveld can push favourite

William O'Connor 1.645/8 v Niels Zonneveld 2.447/5
Start time, 14:05

O'Connor returns for his fourth successive PDC World Championship and if he wins this one he will set up an all-Irish clash with Daryl Gurney in the second round.

As the more experienced player, the world number 36 is the rightful favourite, but Zonneveld's results this year suggest that he will be competitive at the very least.

The 22-year old Dutchman recently knocked James Wade out of the Players Championship Finals and has pushed a lot of other top players close in defeat over the past few months. Over 4.5 sets is 2.727/4.

Outsider has winning head-to-head record against opponent

Adam Hunt 1.434/9 v Lisa Ashton 3.211/5
Start time, 20:05

One player who might have benefitted from having a crowd on her side is Ashton. As good as Fallon Sherrock's performances at the World Championship were last year, a major advantage that she held was that the fans got behind her very strongly and her male opponents struggled to cope under the pressure, with Mensur Suljovic in particular suffering with a visible crisis of masculinity.

Not that Ashton should need any help against Hunt, despite what the odds might suggest. Aston has won both of their two previous matches this year, so it's curious as to why she's such an outsider here.

Given Ashton's record, it's worth backing her with +1.5 in the handicap market at 2.001/1.

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