Thursday sees the first of the World Matchplay quarter-finals take place and Dan Fitch is backing Michael Smith and Krzysztof Ratajski to continue their consistent scoring.
"Smith scored ten 180s alone in his last match against Suljovic."
Thursday 23 July
Live on Sky Sports Action
Heavy scorers can beat 180s limit
Krzysztof Ratajski [2.0] v Michael Smith [1.92]
Start time, 19:15
Krzysztof Ratajski has been in great form so far, recording the highest average in both the first round and the first day of the second round matches. The Polish player beat Gabriel Clemens 12-10 on Tuesday and now faces his toughest match so far, against the number five seed Michael Smith.
Smith also endured something of a marathon in the last round, as he beat Mensur Suljovic 14-12. His scoring has not been too shabby either, with an average of 101.02 when he beat Jonny Clayton and then a very solid 94.99 in his extremely long match with Suljovic.
It's a measure of how well Ratajski has been playing that the odds are so tight here in a match against one of the highest ranked players remaining in the tournament. Considering his form and that we've already seen the likes of Rob Cross, Gerwyn Price and Michael van Gerwen crash out of the tournament unexpectedly, it would hardly count as a surprise if Ratajski progressed to the semi-finals.
That's even more true when you examine the past encounters between the pair. Ratajski has won four to Smith's three. In 2019 they met four times, with Ratajski winning three (L1).
So as the slight outsider Ratajski should perhaps be favoured, but it's hard to back against Smith, who is capable of beating anyone. Instead, with both players scoring heavily, let's go for over 14.5 180s at [1.91]. Smith scored ten alone in his last match against Suljovic.
Anderson will win 180s war
Simon Whitlock [3.0] v Gary Anderson [1.46]
Start time, 20:45
Simon Whitlock produced the biggest shock of the tournament so far with his 11-4 defeat of the favourite Van Gerwen and now has a chance to create another upset when he takes on Gary Anderson.
It would be easy to just put Whitlock's win down to Van Gerwen having an off night. Certainly MVG's average of 90.80 is low for him and his checkout percentage of just 16.67% was very poor, but it still needs an opponent to step up and take advantage and Whitlock did just that.
Averaging 98.11, Whitlock raced into a 5-0 lead and never looked back. Yet he remains the underdog against Anderson, who enjoyed an impressive 11-8 win over James Wade in round two.
Anderson holds the head-to-head advantage, but not by a huge amount. In 41 past matches, Anderson has won 24 to Whitlock's 17. Looking at that record and Whitlock's form, there doesn't seem much value to be found in backing Anderson to win.
Where there does seem to be some value is in the Most 180s Handicap market on the Sportsbook. Anderson scored nine 180s against Wade and you can back him at 11/10 with a handicap of -1.
Dan Fitch World Matchplay P/L
Staked 20.00 pts
Returned 6.21 pts
P/L: -13.79 pts
Back over 14.5 180s between Ratajski and Smith at [1.91]
Back Anderson -1 to score more 180s than Whitlock at 11/10