Grand Slam of Darts Betting Tips and Predictions
The 2018 Grand Slam of Darts get underway on Saturday 10th November, as Wolverhampton plays host to the twelfth staging of the tournament, shown live on Sky Sports. Michael van Gerwen has won the last three of these events, and despite coming here following a couple of disappointing tournaments, remains a strong favourite with the bookies.
The tournament is unique on the tour, as it matches up players from the PDC with players from the BDO. There are a number of routes into this tournament, with winners from various major competitions throughout the year being joined by Players Championships qualifier winners, European Tour winners and qualifiers through the BDO system. The final eight places on offer are decided at a PDC qualifying event to be staged in the week before the main event. Most of the biggest names from the sport will be at the Grand Slam to compete for the £110,000 first prize, including an in-form James Wade, fresh from his wins at the European Championship and World Series of Darts.
For the first stage of the tournament, the 32-man field will be drawn into eight groups of four who play each other in a best of nine-leg round robin format, with the two top players from the group advancing to the knockout stages. Second round matches are played best of 19 legs, whilst the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final are all best of 31 leg contests.
Players from the PDC have dominated the tournament in the past with Phil Taylor winning on six occasions and Michael van Gerwen three. Raymond van Barmeveld picked up the trophy in 2012, whilst the only winner from the BDO was Scott Waites in 2010.
Gary AndersonTo Win Outright
Gary Anderson comes to Wolverhampton enjoying an exceptional year in the big tournaments this season, despite losing out in the first round of the World Series Finals last weekend. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ was unlucky in that defeat to Dave Chisnall, hitting a 170 checkout, averaging over 100 and losing out in a final leg decider. Having already won the UK Open, US Darts Masters, World Matchplay and Champions League already this season, that defeat shouldn’t affect the Scotsman’s confidence too much.
Anderson has a decent record in the Grand Slam without having won it; in eleven appearances at Wolverhampton he’s always made it through the group phase, reaching four semi-finals and one final. Looking back through the history of the tournament, every winner has made at least the semi-finals in one or more of the last three events, so Anderson’s semi-final appearances in the last two years mean that history is on his side coming into the tournament.
The Scotsman has been handed a really nice draw in Group D as well, he’ll open up against Michael Unterbuchner from the BDO, with Ian White and Steve Hine his other group opponents. It would be a major shock if Anderson didn’t make it through that group. In the second round Anderson would face a qualifier from Group C, which looks another of the weaker groups in the tournament. James Wade is the obvious danger in that group, having won the European Championship and World Series of Darts, and it’s likely that Anderson will have to face Wade to get through this quarter of the draw. Anderson has an excellent recent record against ‘The Machine’ though, having won their last four matches over the last 18 months, including their only meeting this season. Should he win through this quarter of the draw, Anderson could be facing Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith or Raymond van Barneveld in the semi-final, but Anderson won’t be fearing anybody in the draw given the season he’s having.
Glen DurrantTo Win Outright (Each-Way)
At bigger odds it might be worth taking a chance on Glen Durrant to cause a few surprises in the Grand Slam this year. Durrant is one of the BDO representatives in the draw, and whilst the BDO is considered the poor cousin to the PDC, they have tasted success in this tournament in the form of Scott Waites, who was runner-up in 2009 and won the event in 2010. Durrant is a player having an excellent record in the big BDO tournaments, having won the World Championship and World Trophy, and reaching the final of the World Masters. The quality of opposition may not be quite as high as in the PDC, but Durrant has regularly been putting in ton-plus averages in the BDO, and has to be respected as a contender here.
This will be ‘Duzza’s’ third appearance at the Grand Slam, having reached the second round in 2016 and then the quarter-finals last year. His appearance last year included a group-stage win over Peter Wright where he averaged 106 in a 5-2 victory, and a 10-8 victory over Dave Chisnall in the second-round where he averaged 99.
This year the Teesider will open up against Simon Whitlock, with Gerwyn Price and Andrew Gilding his other group opponents. On paper this looks like a tough group, but Durrant insists that it is a good draw for him, and seems full of confidence that a big week lies ahead.
Max HoppTo Win Group E
There are a couple of big seeds that it appears to be worth opposing this week, the first of those is Peter Wright. Since reaching the World Grand Prix final ‘Snakebite’ has been struggling, with first round exits in two of the following three tournaments. The Scotsman’s defeat to Gerwyn Price last weekend was particularly concerning, he averaged less than 80 in a 6-1 defeat, and the constant tinkering with his set-up might be catching up with him. Wright has been placed with Josh Payne, Jim Williams and Max Hopp in Group E, and it’s the latter who could take advantage. The German made the semi-finals of the European Championship recently, and if he can repeat that sort of form should be a real contender to top this group.
Dimitri van den BerghTo Win Group H
The other top seed that has been struggling for results recently is Rob Cross, he’s in Group H alongside Dimitri van den Bergh, Ryan Searle and Mark McGeeney. There’s no doubt that Ryan Searle is in good form at present, but it’s van den Bergh that gets the vote to top this group. ‘Dancing Dimitri’ was unlucky not to progress past the first round of the World Series last weekend, his 105 average against Jamie Lewis was impressive, if not ultimately a winning performance. However that disappointment didn’t stop the Belgian from reaching the World Youth Championship final on Monday, and he should come here with some confidence. Van Den Bergh likes to play on the big stage, as shown by his run to the quarter-finals at the World Championship, and if playing to his potential, could have too much for his opponents in this group.