World Matchplay semi-finals: Snakebite can overcome Mighty Mike
Peter Wright has continued his fine recent form in major tournaments, by avoiding an upset at the hands of former professional rugby player Gerwyn Price, who slayed seeds Michael Smith and Adrian Lewis earlier this World Matchplay.
The Scot eventually came through with ease, breaking The Iceman down to a 16-7 victory, and is on course to reach his third consecutive televised (in UK) final, after losing out at that stage in the World Cup of Darts and Japan Masters.
However, he will need to knock out world number one and title odds-on favourite Michael van Gerwen (8/11 with Coral). Snakebite, a 9/1 tournament shout, knows what it takes to beat the Dutchman, though, having edged him out in the semis in both Japan and the World Cup doubles with Gary Anderson.
Wright, therefore, is a very enticing 7/2 chance to win this first-to-17 match, and he could then potentially meet his World Cup and Japan Masters conqueror Phil Taylor for a third-time-lucky final against the all-time great.
Van Gerwen, however, boasts a terrific 26-8 (with one draw) record over Snakebite, and has lost just one of his last 10 singles encounters with him. He also thrashed him 13-3 in their only World Matchplay meeting back in 2013 in the last 16, which is why he is the heavy odds-on favourite at 1/5 to triumph again.
One thing is for sure, Mighty Mike will have to play better than his quarters clash against Ian White, who took him all the way in an epic 16-13 result. Van Gerwen could get the best out of Wright, though, so expect a duel of the highest quality here between these two fiercely competitive darting rivals, who seemingly don’t like each other.
Watch footage of these to riling each other up…
There have been a total of five nine-darters in the last five years in this tournament but, although there have been a few attempts, there have been none this year. This is the match where we could finally witness one, and you can take tempting odds of 12/1 for there to be a perfect leg.
These deadly accurate darters are likely to light up the oche on Saturday night, and expect there to be a 170 checkout too, at 6/1.
Both Van Gerwen and Wright are neck-and-neck for the tournament to date in terms of legs won (39), legs lost (19) and total 180s (20). For the latter stat, you can take an enticing price of 8/1 for the duo to be tied on maximums this match.
This clash could go down to the wire, and it would not be surprising if they were forced to go beyond the first-to-17 scoreline. Despite last year’s finalist Van Gerwen holding the slight average advantage this World Matchplay with 104.05, Wright (100.68) is 25/1 to win by any other score.
Betting tip – Nine-dart finish @ 12/1