PDC Darts: Forget the averages, James Wade vs Gary Anderson has to be close

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Recommended Bets  (New Year’s Day 1pm Quarter-Final match)

James Wade (+2.5) to beat Gary Anderson on the handicap 4/7 Paddy Power

Anderson to win 5-3 11/2 Ladbrokes

Anderson to win 5-4 9/2 Coral

Wade to win 5-4 9/1 Paddy Power

The doors of the 2016 PDC World Darts Championship have been blown wide open following the defeat of World No.1 and even-money ante-post favourite Michael van Gerwen.

There is now everything to play for and at least six players now probably believe they have a real chance of becoming the 2016 World Darts Champion.

It’s a crown that Gary Anderson currently wears and he has performed as well as any other player en-route to his place amongst the final eight.  On Friday the ‘Flying Scotsman’, who entered the tournament ranked No. 2, faces off against the No. 7 seed James Wade.  

At 32-years old James Wade is by no means an old timer but many believe his best days are behind him. The Aldershot native may have never won a World Championship (he is a three time semi-finalist) but he is the third most successful player ever on the PDC winning most of the sports major prizes. Nevertheless barring an unexpected win in the 2014 Masters, Wade’s game has been in desperate decline since it peaked in 2010.

Unquestionably much of this loss of form is due to his well-publicised struggle with depression but, with a new wife on his arm and some coaching from darts legend Eric Bristow he may well be on his way back to the top of his game.

Wade’s third round 4-1 victory over Jamie Caven came after he had reportedly ‘crawled out of his bed suffering from flu’.  If there is a hint of truth to the story it makes his victory all the more impressive.

Caven has been the only player to take a set off of James Wade, who had previously dispensed with Wes Newton 4-0 and John Michael 3-0.  In the process his three dart average has been 95.77, 92.84 and 93.89.

Therein lies the problem for his New Year’s Day meeting with Gary Anderson as the current World Champ has also dropped just the one set and his three-dart average is a more impressive 99.55, 99.44 and 101.58.

But is it a problem?  The three dart average is a barometer bookmakers use when pricing darts matches – hence they are making Anderson a 4/9 favourite – but it is no done deal.  Ask Michael van Gerwen who had an average of 105.78 when eliminated by Raymond van Barneveld whose average was 100.44.

The quarter-finals are the best of nine set encounters and I’d be blown away if either player does not win at least three sets, for my two-penneth a 5-0, 5-1 and 5-2 scoreline looks highly unlikely.  Both players are way too experienced to suffer a meltdown when things go against them; they are tenacious.

Paddy Power’s 4/7 on a Wade win with a +2.5 set head start on the handicap is huge.  Let’s face it, for us not to collect he needs to lose 5-0, 5-1 or 5-2, every other results is going for you.

But that’s not a get rich quick price so how about playing three correct results scores?  At the best of the prices Ladbrokes are going 11/2 about a 5-4 Anderson score-line, Coral offer 9/2 about a 5-3 Anderson win and Wade to win 5-4 can be backed at 9/1 with Paddy Power.  

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