Benito van de Pas v Steve West
We had the perfect session last night, going 3/3 and that makes it 5/7 over the first two days. There's a double session today but I’ve removed the preliminary games and their subsequent first round matches to make a four-fold across the day that will hopefully keep the good times rolling. Game on!
This starter should be a really intriguing game as you’ve got Big Ben coming up against an opponent he would normally expect to beat on paper in Steve West. However, the Essex ace has made some nice little runs in tournaments this year, getting into the last eight of the German Darts Championship, as well as a win in each of the Matchplay, Grand Prix and Players Championship tournaments. Van de Pas has been a model of consistency at the Ally Pally, getting to the Third Round in each of the last three tournaments and despite his quiet year comes into the game as favourite.
It really could go either way and West is a great battler, always hanging in legs and sets and he may have to show that tenacity if Van de Pas starts being ruthless on doubles like he can. For the price available, I think over 4.5 sets is a great bet and don’t be surprised if West does the business at the death.
Mervyn King v Zoran Lerchbacher
It’s always good to see King on the big stage and for my money Mervyn is one of the best players never to have won a PDC major. He comes up against an opponent who has never won a match or even a set at the Worlds. King has a shocking record in this tournament for a player of his calibre (2009 aside where he made the Semis) but will like the draw he has been given and made his first final since 2014 at one of the Players Championship events this year.
King is heavy favourite and his all round game has always been steady, which should be far too much for the Austrian. I can’t see Lerchbacher making much of a splash in the game at all, so I’m plumping for the King match treble: Which is Highest Checkout, Most 180s & winning the match.
Joe Cullen v Jermaine Wattimena
Two youngsters battle it out and this should be a fun one, as both players go at a fast pace. The Dutch slinger has always been touted for big things but has never really made a big breakthrough and he will find it tough against Cullen who actually has a wealth of experience despite being just 28, he's appeared on this stage seven previous times. He finally won a first round match last year against Corey Cadby no less, which shows his talent.
It’s a tough one to call as Cullen has never been a strong favourite to win a match at the Worlds, which he is for the first time tonight. Wattimena always plays best once he settles into a rhythm, if he gets going in the first or second set it could be a long game. He’s odds against in the +1.5 Handicap market, which is very appealing as he definitely has the game to take a couple of sets against ‘Rockstar’.
Jelle Klaasen v Jan Dekker
Former World Champion Klaasen takes to the stage and it will be a great chance to see how 'The Cobra' will play in a set format after undergoing surgery on his throwing wrist this summer. That injury will have set back what should have been a blossoming year for Klaasen which started with a Premier League place. Dekker will fancy his chances at an upset, despite not having much form at all going into this one.
Dekker made a Semi-final for the first time in a Players Championship event, but that was all the way back in April. If you saw the draw and didn’t know about the injury you would never price Klaasen at 1/2. He has said that he is fully healed and if that is the case, I really can’t see anything other than him winning. Not the most imaginative of bets but one that I am pretty confident about.