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Players Championship Finals – Betting Tips and Predictions

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The 2018 Players Championship Finals get underway on Friday 23rd November, as Minehead plays host to the eleventh staging of the tournament, shown live on ITV4. Michael van Gerwen has won four of the last five of these tournaments, including the last three, and is once again the favourite to improve on this impressive record.

The tournament is the culmination of the Players Championship qualifiers, a series of 22 floor events held around the UK between February and October. The top 64 players from the Players Championship Order of Merit qualify for this tournament, with the draw having already been made for the whole of the tournament.

There’s a total of £460,000 up for grabs over the three-day tournament, with £100,000 going to the winner, who will be crowned on Sunday night. The first two rounds of the competition are best of 11 legs, the third-round and quarter finals are best of 19 legs, whilst the semi-finals and final are best of 21 legs.

There were 14 different winners on the tour this year, multiple winners included Michael van Gerwen (4 titles), Gary Anderson (3), Krzysztof Ratajski (2), Peter Wright (2) and Ian White (2). Seedings are based on performances across all 22 qualifiers, and due to some of the top players not playing in all of the events, they have a slightly different feel to some of the other major tournaments.

Due to his consistency in the floor events this year, Ian White is the number one seed, with Gary Anderson, Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright making up the rest of the top four. However some of the World’s best players are lower down the seedings and face the prospect of a tougher route through the tournament, for example Simon Whitlock is the 31st seed, Mensur Suljovic the 35th seed and last week’s Grand Slam of Darts Champion Gerwyn Price is the 37th seed.

The draw
(1) Ian White v (64) Scott Taylor
(32) Brendan Dolan v (33) Michael Barnard
(16) Daryl Gurney v (49) Robert Thornton
(17) Josh Payne v (48) Ryan Searle
(8) James Wade v (57) Ross Smith
(25) Nathan Aspinall v (40) Martin Schindler
(9) Dave Chisnall v (56) Jamie Lewis
(24) Chris Dobey v (41) Ron Meulenkamp

(5) Adrian Lewis v (60) Adam Hunt
(28) Krzysztof Ratajski v (37) Gerwyn Price
(12) Danny Noppert v (53) Rowby-John Rodriguez
(21) Mervyn King v (44) Simon Stevenson
(4) Peter Wright v (61) Toni Alcinas
(29) Max Hopp v (36) Steve West
(13) Stephen Bunting v (52) Richard North
(20) Mickey Mansell v (45) Madars Razma

(2) Gary Anderson v (63) Alan Tabern
(31) Simon Whitlock v (34) Kyle Anderson
(15) Steve Beaton v (50) Kim Huybrechts
(18) John Henderson v (47) Joe Cullen
(7) Michael Smith v (58) Vincent van der Voort
(26) Jonny Clayton v (39) Mark Webster
(10) Jeffrey de Zwaan v (55) Jelle Klaasen
(23) Ricky Evans v (42) Jan Dekker

(6) Rob Cross v (59) Cristo Reyes
(27) Ryan Joyce v (38) Steve Lennon
(11) James Wilson v (54) Dimitri van den Bergh
(22) Gabriel Clemens v (43) Andrew Gilding
(3) Michael van Gerwen v (62) Matthew Edgar
(30) Keegan Brown v (35) Mensur Suljovic
(14) Jermaine Wattimena v (51) Stephen Burton
(19) Darren Webster v (46) Jeffrey de Graaf

James WadeTo Win Outright (Each-way)

James Wade is playing some of the best darts of his life at the moment and could be about to make it three tournament wins out of four. Wade’s run of excellent results started at the European Darts Trophy in the middle of October, a tournament he reached the final of. He followed that up by claiming the European Championships at the end of the month and then the World Series Finals at the beginning of November. Last week Wade won all three of his group games at the Grand Slam of Darts in comfortable fashion, before suffering a shock defeat to Michael Unterbuchner in the second round. In his last four tournaments ‘The Machine’ has beaten many of the biggest names in the sport, including Rob Cross, Simon Whitlock, Gerwyn Price, Raymond van Barneveld and Mensur Suljovic and boasts a 17-2 winning record.

Wade’s record at the Players Championships isn’t ideal, but he has reached the semi-finals once and the quarter-finals twice, including last year when he was unlucky to run into Rob Cross who was playing some scintillating darts at the time. As well as his excellent current form, the other big reason to get Wade on side is his draw. The Englishman has been drawn in the easier half, and would avoid players like Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson until the final. He has a first round match with Ross Smith to look forward to, a player he’s beaten in both of their meetings this season. Nathan Aspinall or Martin Schindler would be his second-round opponent, two players Wade has a winning record over this season. Dave Chisnall is a potential third-round opponent, but over 19 legs Wade would be confident of getting the better of ‘Chizzy’. He’s seeded to face the number one seed Ian White in the quarter-finals, but White’s record on the stage is poor compared to his floor performances. At odds of around 16/1, Wade is good each-way value to have another decent tournament.

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Michael SmithTo Win Outright (Each-way)

The bottom half of the draw looks really tough, but one player who hasn’t done much wrong in the last couple of weeks and looks worthy of support is Michael Smith. Smith is the current Shanghai Masters champion and Premier League runner-up, but it’s his form in the last couple of tournaments that has caught the eye. At the World Series Finals he reached the final, before losing in a final-leg decider to James Wade, a game in which he missed match darts. That result could have affected his confidence, but he performed well at the Grand Slam, winning all three of his group games before succumbing to Michael van Gerwen 10-8 in a classic in the second-round.

‘Bully Boy’ is the seventh seed for this event, but to win the tournament will have to do things the hard way given his draw. Vincent van der Voort is his first-round opponent, with either Jonny Clayton or Mark Webster in round two. He’s then seeded to meet Jeffrey De Zwaan, Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen on a potential route to the final. Despite the tough draw, Smith has been playing well recently and at odds of about 25/1 looks an interesting contender this week.

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Type of Bet: Tournament Preview. Sports: Darts.
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