Grand Slam of Darts 2018: Odds and Betting Tips
On 10 November, we have, without doubt, one of the most eagerly-anticipated tournaments on the darting calendar: the Grand Slam of Darts. This is the only time you will see the stars of the PDC and BDO locking horns in an officially sanctioned event.
All eyes will be on the likes of Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and Peter Wright, as ever. Meanwhile we’ll be wondering how the BDO participants, such as Glen Durrant and Mark McGeeney, will fare.
Perhaps they should all be worried about James Wade, who has brought new meaning to the term ‘the nappy factor’.
Wade, who has recently become a father for the first time, is clearly enjoying a new-found perspective. Perhaps he is starting to put the hours in on the practice board again now that he has another mouth to feed.
It’s certainly working, with The Machine following up his win at the European Championship with another in last week’s World Series of Darts finals. He arguably shouldn’t have had a chance really, with our 25/1 pick Michael Smith missing three match darts to win the trophy; however, sometimes, when the sun is shining, you simply have to lie back and enjoy the good times.
Sadly, this year’s edition of the Grand Slam will be the first in the tournament’s history not to be held at the majestic Wolverhampton Civic Hall, which is undergoing a renovation. The Aldersley Leisure Village doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as a host venue….
Tournament History & Format
There’s a 32-man field for the Grand Slam of Darts, with eight seeded PDC Tour stars, eight BDO qualifiers and 16 who make their way through the PDC qualification campaign.
They are then split into eight groups of four, with the PDC seeds kept apart and one BDO player being drawn in each bracket.
They then play each other in a round robin format, with the top two from each group making it through to the last 16, which is played out in the typical knockout fashion.
The second round is played over the best-of-19 legs; then the event becomes quite a slog from the quarter finals onwards: matches become the best-of-31 legs.
Historically, the PDC has had their way in the event, although the BDO’s Scott Waites is a two-time finalist. He became the organisation’s sole winner in 2010 when he produced a memorable comeback to beat Wade 16-12 in the final.
The players qualify for the Grand Slam based on their performance in specific tournaments; remarkably Phil Taylor had qualified for this event after finishing as a runner-up in the World Championship final in January.
The Power declined his invite however, and the Aussie star-in-the-making, Corey Cadby, has also had to withdraw after breaking his arm in a car accident.
Otherwise, many of the big stars are in town, with MVG, Anderson, Wright, Wade and Smith seeded alongside Rob Cross, Mensur Suljovic and Simon Whitlock.
The likes of Raymond van Barneveld, Gerwyn Price and Ian White will also head to the West Midlands; meanwhile, at Monday’s final qualifier, there were some remarkable surprises: Daryl Gurney, Dave Chisnall, Adrian Lewis and others failed to win through, opening up places for Steve ‘The Muffin Man’ Hine, Andrew ‘Goldfinger’ Gilding, former BDO world champion Mark Webster and World Youth finalists Dimitri van den Bergh and Martin Schindler, among others.
The BDO will be represented by reigning world champion Durrant; runner up McGeeney and World Masters champion Adam Smith-Neale, as well as the next five from the brand’s invitational rankings.
The Betting Favourites
Having won each of the last three editions of this event, it’s little wonder that Michael van Gerwen goes off as an even money favourite with Unibet.
But he appears a touch out of form in TV events at the moment, and canny punters will be aware that messrs Anderson (25/1 with Betfred) have all reached the final before in Wolverhampton.
It’s been a year to forget, by all accounts, for the likes of Cross (22/1 with William Hill) will fancy ending their season on a high.
The BDO’s most fancied entrant is the talented Durrant (50/1 with Guts), who has won plenty of matches recently.
Gerwyn Price (100/1 with Ladbrokes).
To win the Grand Slam of Darts, you need to win six, maybe even seven, darts matches in a week.
That includes your group games, where three wins is deal but two can get the job done, plus progress in the knockout format.
As such, this might be a rare occasion where we actually back Michael van Gerwen to win an event.
Think about it: nobody has a better win ratio than MVG, and having been drawn in Group A alongside out-of-form Jonny Clayton, unheralded Joe Murnan and the outclassed Gary Robson, the Dutchman will surely canter through the early stages.
We were interested in backing Smith once more, but in a ‘group of death’ containing Barney, Ratajski and Smith-Neale we’re willing to let him slide this time.
Trying to fathom out how the draw will pan out is tricky, as it’s littered with tremendous ties. But we really do like Dimitri van den Bergh to get through Group H, which features Cross, McGeeney and Ryan Searle. If he wins it, he’ll tackle the runner-up of Group G in the last 16; one of messrs Suljovic, Bunting, Schindler or Mitchell.
The Belgian averaged 105 in defeat at the World Series, and battled through the qualifiers to book his spot in the World Youth final later in November. His form is good, and in an event where the format lends itself to surprises, he might just carve his way through the bottom half of the draw.
Best Bets for the Grand Slam of Darts 2018:
- Michael van Gerwen to Win (Evens with Unibet)
- Dimitri van den Bergh each way (80/1 with William Hill)