Gary Anderson meets Michael Smith in the semi-final of the World Matchplay and Dan Fitch is expecting 'Bully Boy' to progress...
"Anderson has not reached the final of a major since 2018 and though the Scot holds a 9-7 advantage when it comes to past meetings, Smith has won the last four."
World Matchplay Semi-Finals
Saturday 25 July
Live on Sky Sports Action
Belgian underrated in game that could go long
Glen Durrant [1.6] v Dimitri van den Bergh [2.62]
Start time, 20:15
Glen Durrant takes on Dimitri van den Bergh in Saturday's World Matchplay semi-finals, with both players looking to book their place in their first final of a PDC major.
Of the two, it's Durrant that has the most pedigree. The 49-year old won the BDO World Championship in three consecutive years before finally making the switch to the PDC in 2019. This will be his fourth semi-final appearance in a major since moving, having reached the same stage of the World Matchplay last year.
Durrant came through a marathon of a quarter-final against Vincent van der Voort. He neither scored or finished with quite his normal consistency and found himself 10-5 down at one stage. Gradually, Durrant clawed the legs back and eventually ran out as an 18-16 winner, in a draining match.
Van den Bergh's night was a lot easier. Averaging 99.67 and scoring eleven 180s, the Belgian raced into a sizeable early lead against Adrian Lewis. Though Lewis brought the score back to respectability, Van den Bergh was always in control in a 16-12 victory.
These two players have faced each other before. Durrant's experience makes him a worthy favourite, but the value could be with Van den Bergh at these set of prices. This should be another tight one. We know Durrant will keep his cool in the final legs, so it's important that Van den Bergh gets off to a good start.
In a best of 33 leg format, over 29.5 legs should pay out at 5/6. It might also be worth taking a chance on Van den Bergh at [2.62], as at the very least those odds should get a lot shorter during the match.
Smith on top in recent encounters
Gary Anderson [1.98] v Michael Smith [2.0]
Start time, 21:45
The starting odds don't get much closer than in this intriguing semi-final between Gary Anderson and Michael Smith.
Anderson is the very slight favourite at [1.98]. In the quarter-finals, Anderson beat Simon Whitlock 16-12, in a match that could have been easier for him had he finished better. Anderson's checkout percentage of 31.37 (16 doubles from 51 attempts) will have to get better against an opponent as good as Smith.
The narrow outsider, Smith beat Krzysztof Ratajski 16-13. Ratajski had been scoring well all week, but met his match against Smith, who hit a huge number of 180s, recording 13 maximums as he averaged 98.32.
When the odds are this tight it's hard to quibble with who is the favourite, but it does seem like it should be Smith at the shorter odds. Anderson has not reached the final of a major since 2018 and though the Scot holds a 9-7 advantage when it comes to past meetings, Smith has won the last four.
Perhaps its Smith's reputation as a nearly man that has seen Anderson made favourite, but 'Bully Boy' has no problems in reaching finals, only winning them. If he can beat Anderson, then it would be his sixth appearance in a major final, having lost his previous five, with the most recent coming earlier this year at the Masters.
Given Smith's recent record against Anderson and the sheer amount of finals he's reached over the past couple of years, back him to make another at odds of [2.0].
Dan Fitch World Matchplay P/L
Staked 28.00 pts
Returned 19.03 pts
P/L: -8.97 pts
Back over 29.5 legs between Durrant and Van den Bergh at 5/6
Back Smith to beat Anderson at [2.0]