King’s record against Lewis means second big upset at World Champs
It is fair to say that Adrian Lewis enjoys the PDC World Darts Championships, having lifted the trophy in two of the last four years and reaching the quarter finals in each of the other pair.
A place in the quarter finals is up for grabs again if he can get past Mervyn King in the third round and not only is Lewis the only player to have averaged over 100 in a match this year, he is also the only player left in the draw to have won this event in the past six years.
However, despite being the 1/7 favourite to beat King, a rocky road may be up ahead for Lewis if history is anything to go by.
Aside from tipping King to triumph with a handicap, the third round could be one to back the favourites, with Peter Wright, Robert Thornton, Simon Whitlock and 2007 champion Raymond van Barneveld all expected to progress to the quarter finals.
Putting the below five bets into a little accumulator would reward punters to the tune of almost 8/1.
Mervyn King (+2.5 sets) to beat Adrian Lewis @ 1/1
The match betting for this 21st career meeting between the pair has a one-sided outcome, with Lewis the shortest price across all of the third-round matches at 1/7 and King the 11/2 underdog.
This price does look fairly justified given the information in the early paragraphs of this piece, while King has not made it beyond the last 16 in any of his last seven events.
However, something in King’s game does seem to cause a dip in Lewis’ form, as the two-time Alexandra Palace champion has lost his last nine meetings with King and 16 of the 20 in total.
This fact alone does generate some temptation in King’s price for victory, but the safer bet is that he wins at least two sets, with the winner being the first to four.
Peter Wright to beat Michael Smith @ 4/9
Michael Smith has already made a name for himself by dumping out Phil Taylor and he does have a winnable match here with Peter Wright, who has never gone further than the third round here and has only reached this stage once in four previous attempts.
However, beating Taylor is not necessarily a good thing in this tournament, as the last two players to have done so – Mark Webster in 2011 and Dave Chisnall in 2012 – went out in the next round.
Lightning is expected to strike for a third time on Smith, given that Wright has averaged over 98 in both of his matches so far and another repeat will make him hard to live with here.
Robert Thornton to beat Wes Newton @ 8/13
Thornton may have won neither of his meetings with Newton in 2013, but victories in 10 of their 15 career showdowns does bode well for his chances here.
Newton has not had to play particularly well to see off either Royden Lam or John Part thus far, with neither opponent managing to average above 88, so he will need to step up here against Thornton, who averaged virtually 99 to beat Beau Anderson 4-0 in the second round, dropping only two legs in the process.
This was despite Thornton feeling unwell and a few days to recuperate should see him feeling much sharper against Newton.
Simon Whitlock to beat Kevin Painter @ 2/5
Both players have reached this stage without dropping a set and the head-to-head record between the pair suggests they could be evenly matched too, with Whitlock marginally ahead 8-7. However, it could be significant that Whitlock has won six of the last eight.
The fact the Australian has practiced on Xmas Day to attempt to improve his game further shows how seriously he is taking this tournament and the elimination of Taylor gives him a real chance to make the final here for a second time.
Whitlock’s doubles will be the key to the result, as he should hold the edge in the scoring department, but Painter has averaged at least 50 per cent in terms of doubles success so far and therefore could easily step in if given the opportunity.
Raymond van Barneveld to beat Mark Webster @ 2/7
Van Barneveld has held all of the aces between this pair of late with victories in their last five meetings and an average over 98 in the first two rounds here, suggests he comes into this latest meeting in strong form.
Webster is arguably the luckiest of the players left in the last 16 after sneaking past John Henderson in a second-round tie-break, after his opponent missed three darts to win the match.