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2016 Players Championship Finals 1st round tips: Tasty tussles in Taylor-less tournament

Sam Barnard | 25 November 2016

2016 Players Championship Finals

  • First round
  • Friday, November 25th
  • Afternoon session starts: 12:45 GMT
  • Evening Session starts: 19:00 GMT
  • Butlins Resort, Minehead
  • Live on ITV4

2016 Players Championship Finals 1st round tips

For the first time ever in the PDC Phil Taylor has failed to qualify for a major televised event on merit, after playing just three of the 20 tournaments for the upcoming 2016 Players Championship Finals.

After his many hints that he is set to retire from professional darts, this is perhaps no surprise that The Power is fading from the sport.

Taylor’s omission shows the great strength in depth in darts these days, and could now give hope to the rest of the field who know they will not have to worry about facing the 16-time world champion at any stage of this 64-man event.

But, with the likes of Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson, Peter Wright and Raymond van Barneveld still in action, it still promises to be an intriguing spectacle especially with a number of tasty tussles at the opening stage.

Read on to view Coral’s top 2016 Players Championship Finals 1st round tips, involving 10 of the best looking fixtures…

Mensur Suljovic v Raymond van Barneveld

Van Barneveld is back in form, is back these tasty Suljovic v Barney odds now!

Van Barneveld is back in form, is back these tasty Suljovic v Barney odds now!

Like Taylor, Barney has played minimal Players Championship events this year, but just managed to squeeze into the Finals as the 57th highest ranked star in the Order of Merit.

He faces an opponent he tackled last time out at the Grand Slam of Darts, Suljovic, who he beat without too much trouble 5-3.

But the in-form Austrian has taken both Players Championship and European Championship competitions very seriously in 2016, and even finished runner-up at the latter finals late last month.

Van Barneveld has picked up form the latter part of this year too, though, and so is a tempting 11/2 shout to edge Suljovic 6-5 in their clash on Friday evening.

Adrian Lewis v Robert Thornton

Back Lewis to make amends after early Grand Slam exit.

Back Lewis to make amends after early Grand Slam exit.

Jackpot will have been hugely disappointed to lose all three of his Grand Slam group games, to crash out of the cross-organisation tournament at the first hurdle yet again.

But he’ll be happy to face The Thorn first, a player he’s lost to just four times in 25 duels and not since 2013 – 11 meetings ago.

Two of those victories came in Players Championship Pro Tour events last year, 6-4 and 6-3, so back him at 9/2 to triumph by the latter scoreline once more.

Michael van Gerwen v Andy Hamilton

Van Gerwen seems unstoppable of late, but may not have it all his own way against Hamilton.

Van Gerwen seems unstoppable of late, but may not have it all his own way against Hamilton.

As a result of Kyle Anderson withdrawing from this competitions due to visa issues, Andy Hamilton is the man to profit from his absence, but the Hammer will have to first face top seed and dominant world number one Van Gerwen (8/13 favourite to defend the title).

However, he just so happens to be one of the very arrowsmiths to have a decent record against the Green Machine, winning 19 of their 40 duels – most recently last year in Players Championship Pro Tour event in Ireland.

The duo have a win apiece against the other in this tournament, with MvG winning the last clash in the 2013 semis. Anything can happen in a shorter format, but Van Gerwen is 17/2 to edge it 6-4.

Alan Norris v Michael Smith

Norris can continue his 100 per cent record against out-of-form Smith.

Norris can continue his 100 per cent record against out-of-form Smith.

If ever there was a bet to take, this is it. Norris has beaten Smith, who is in somewhat of a decline since finishing bottom of the 2016 Premier League, in all five of their previous meetings, including twice this year.

Coral can’t split the two with both being priced at 10/11, so pile your money on Chuck to triumph again. Tastier odds of 7/5 say that Norris can win with a handicap of -1.5 legs.

Benito van de Pas v Brendan Dolan

Young-gun Van de Pas is a tasty bet to edge Dolan.

Young-gun Van de Pas is a tasty bet to edge Dolan.

Both these stars made it to the knockout rounds of the recent Grand Slam tournament, with Dolan going one stage further to the quarters.

However, Benito van de Pas made a better account of himself overall, topping his group that involved Adrian Lewis, former BDO world champion Scott Mitchell and rising star Chris Dobey.

Big Ben only lost out to eventual runner-up James Wad and, boasting a 2-1 career record over the Northern Irishman, he is 11/2 to win 6-5.

James Wade v Mervyn King

King is a decent shout to upset Wade again.

King is a decent shout to upset Wade again.

Speaking of Wade, his first opponent just happens to be a man he’s had a fair share of epic duels with – King.

One was as recently as 2014 in The Masters final when the veteran was leading 5-0 and 9-2, before The Machine somehow came back to triumph 11-10.

Wade has lost the last two meetings – both this year – so, after his tiring run to the Grand Slam final, back The King to catch him off-guard again and win at 9/4.

Gary Anderson v John Henderson

Can Henderson defeat fellow Scot Anderson once again?

Can Henderson defeat fellow Scot Anderson once again?

World champion Anderson has not been in the best of form of late, though did get to the Grand Slam semis and stop the rampant Barney.

The 2014 winner of this event only qualified for this year’s edition as number 23 in the Order of Merit, and could go down to fellow Scot Henderson, who is a very tasty 5/1 for victory after winning their last battle 6-2.

Gerwyn Price v Dimitri Van den Bergh

Van den Bergh beat Price last time out in the Grand Slam.

Van den Bergh beat Price last time out in the Grand Slam.

This duo last met in the recent Grand Slam, with Van den Bergh causing a slight upset by edging the Welshman 5-4.

Despite that, The Iceman qualified for the last 16, at the Belgian’s expense, but The Dreammaker is 13/8 to triumph once again.

Ian White v Keegan Brown

Back White to spoil Brown's long-awaited return to TV.

Back White to spoil Brown’s long-awaited return to TV.

Brown has slightly gone of the radar since being touted as a rising star over a year ago, but he’s back on TV for the first time all year and has the chance to show what he’s made of against White.

Now nicknamed The Needle, he may have won their most recent meeting in the 2015 World Series of Darts Finals, but lost all four others with ease. White is a very enticing 11/10 chance to win with a -2.5 legs handicap.

Mark Webster v Terry Jenkins

Jenkins (pictured) and Webster look set for a close encounter.

Jenkins (pictured) and Webster look set for a close encounter.

Jenkins had a great record against former BDO world champ Webster, up until the last two years, however he is certainly in the better form this year.

Again Coral can’t split the duo in the match betting, so instead why not back this match to be over 9.5 legs at 5/6?

First round schedule

Friday, November 25

Afternoon Session (12.45)

Main stage
Joe Cullen v Steve Brown
Ian White v Keegan Brown
Chris Dobey v Mick McGowan
Jelle Klaasen v Simon Stevenson
Simon Whitlock v Matthew Edgar
Cristo Reyes v Berry van Peer
Christian Kist v Ricky Evans
Dave Chisnall v Kevin Painter

Stage Two
James Wilson v Vincent Kamphuis
Joe Murnan v Jermaine Wattimena
Justin Pipe v Andy Jenkins
Darren Webster v Jonny Clayton
Josh Payne v Mark Walsh
Vincent van der Voort v Andrew Gilding
Jamie Caven v Jamie Lewis
Robbie Green v Devon Petersen

Evening Session (19:00)

Main Stage
James Wade v Mervyn King
Gerwyn Price v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Mensur Suljovic v Raymond van Barneveld
Benito van de Pas v Brendan Dolan
Michael van Gerwen v Andy Hamilton
Gary Anderson v John Henderson
Peter Wright v Jason Wilson
Adrian Lewis v Robert Thornton

Stage Two
Steve West v Jan Dekker
Steve Beaton v Jeffrey de Graaf
Mark Webster v Terry Jenkins
Daryl Gurney v Ronnie Baxter
Kim Huybrechts v Mickey Mansell
Alan Norris v Michael Smith
Ronny Huybrechts v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Stephen Bunting v Ron Meulenkamp

Related

For more darting tips, previews and features during the festive season, check out our extensive archive.

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