Raymond van Barneveld v Brendan Dolan
After obliterating Michael Smith with the only 100+ three-dart average in the first round, Raymond van Barneveld was the talk of the first week at Alexandra Palace. There’s no disputing that if the Dutchman can maintain that level of play for the next two weeks he has every chance of landing a sixth world title. But playing at that level for the duration of the World Championships is a tough task, and I fear that he may have peaked too early in the tournament.
He should still have enough to see off Brendan Dolan, but the Northern Irishman’s slow pace won’t help Barney settle into a rhythm and there could be a few more ebbs and flows in this one than each man’s respective opening round whitewashes. Dolan +2.5 sets can be backed at odds of 2.08 in the handicap market, and it’s a 2.25 chance that there are more than 2.5 sets.
Simon Whitlock v Colin Osborne
The battle of the two Wizards was once a tasty tustle, but Colin Osborne’s slump in form coupled with Simon Whitlock’s rise through the ranks means that this should be a fairly one-sided contest.
Both men came through potentially tricky opening round matches by beating preliminary round qualifiers, and there wasn’t too much in the winning three-dart averages. But Osborne hasn’t been doing it on a consistent basis for a long time now, while his Aussie opponent has. Whitlock looks a good bet to win with a -2.5 handicap at odds of 1.70, while the 4-1 correct score is a more rewarding 3.00.
Adrian Lewis v Denis Ovens
World Champion Adrian Lewis continues his quest to win a hat-trick of world titles with a second-round match-up against number 31 seed Denis Ovens. The Heat struggled in round one, falling over the line to beat youngster Max Hopp, and I can’t see him causing Jackpot too many problems.
Ovens has struggled with a neck and shoulder problem over the past 12 months, and his game is suffering as a result. He qualified for Ally Pally this year largely by virtue of his performances and results from before the problem arose, and I very much doubt that he will be here next year.
Lewis wasn’t particularly impressive in the first round either, but he’s had more than a week to get his game together. This one could be over fairly quickly if Jackpot hits his straps. 4-0 is worth a punt at odds of 2.50.
Dolan +2.5 sets @ 2.08
Whitlock -2.5 sets @ 1.70
Lewis to win 4-0 @ 2.50