World Darts Championship: Saturday predictions, odds, betting tips, accas, order of play & TV times

Gary Anderson and MVG are in action on Saturday
Gary Anderson and MVG are in action on Saturday

The third round of the PDC World Darts Championship gets under way today and our preview includes the order of play, match-by-match predictions, Sky Bet odds and a suggested acca.

Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen are back on the Alexandra Palace stage for the first time in what seems like years (well, a long week!) when they take on Jermaine Wattimena and Max Hopp respectively.

There's six games in total, split equally across the afternoon and evening sessions so here's my preview of the lot.

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World Darts Championship: Saturday December 22

AFTERNOON SESSION

Click on the odds for more Sky Bet match markets

  • TV Coverage: Sky Sports (1230 GMT)
  • Third Round: Best of seven sets

Ryan Joyce (4/5) v Alan Norris (1/1)

H2H: 0-0
2018 Meetings: 0-0
PDC Titles: 0-3
2018 Titles: 0-0

Not much was known about Ryan Joyce before his debut World Championship but the former Matalan employee now finds himself as favourite to reach round four at Alexandra Palace.

It's a remarkable rise for the affable and quietly spoken Geordie, who only joined the PDC Tour at the start of 2018, and while it's hard to imagine him doing a Rob Cross, there's no reason why he can't ensure himself a life-changing payday of £35,000 by beating Alan Norris.

He's still yet to drop a set having brushed aside both Anastasia Dobromyslova and - more notably - eighth seed Simon Whitlock in straight sets although the Wizard was well below his best.

Norris is obviously a more experienced campaigner but a poor season meant that his thrilling sudden-death victory over Neil Lennon on Thursday was his first televised outing since the Masters in January.

Chuck, who puts his timely return to form down to wearing glasses, was never ahead in the match - and also trailed 2-0 in the deciding set - until that final leg there can be no doubting his desire and battling spirit to end the year on a high and prove he's back.

Norris is marginal underdog but I'm not sure he should be. However I quite like backing him to win with Joyce hitting most 180s at 6/1. The Geordie managed five in 13 legs in his last match, whereas Norris hit 10 in 29.

Prediction: 3-4

Dave Chisnall (8/13) v Kim Huybrechts (5/4)

H2H: 12-5
2018 Meetings: 0-0
PDC Titles: 12-4
2018 Titles: 0-0

Great. It's a match between two of the most unpredictable in the game.

The best version of Kim Huybrechts turned up last time out when destroying Daniel Larsson 3-0 with a tournament high average so far of 103.26 and at one point, when leading 2-0, he was even on course to break Michael van Gerwen's world championship record of 114.05.

By contrast Dave Chisnall lost the first seven legs of his match with Josh Payne, who was playing fantastically it has to be said with an average of 110 at that time, before doing a quick sub for the real Chizzy that won nine of the next 12 for a 3-2 triumph.

There's a risk of putting too much thought into this one only to be let down by the 'wrong' version of either player taking to the stage so let's just expect a great game.

You can back the match to have over 23.5 legs, the highest checkout to be over 137.5 and over 14.5 total 180s at 3/1.

Prediction: 4-3

Daryl Gurney (4/11) v Jamie Lewis (11/5)

H2H: 5-2
2018 Meetings: 0-1
PDC Titles: 3-0
2018 Titles: 1-0

It's that long ago since I wrote it, I almost forgot I'd backed Daryl Gurney to win his quarter of the draw in my pre-tournament preview.

Last month's Players Championship Finals winner, who so memorably defeated Michael van Gerwen to lift his second televised trophy, maintained his hot streak with one of the few 100+ averages so far during his crushing win over Ross Smith.

Jamie Lewis, last year’s surprise semi-finalist, was in danger of being added to the list of players to have lost after leading 2-0 in this tournament when Cody Harris forced a deciding set but he upped his game a level to avoid a shock.

The last time these players met was on a stage environment at the European Darts Grand Prix, with Lewis edging it 6-4 but that was one of the few times the Welshman has progressed as far as a quarter-final this season.

Gurney admitted himself he’s not even had a season worthy of retaining his Premier League spot but he’s riding the crest of a wave right now and I’m not going to back against him now.

Prediction: 4-2

EVENING SESSION

· TV Coverage: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

· Third Round: Best of seven sets

Ryan Searle (10/11) v William O'Connor (10/11)

H2H: 3-0
2018 Meetings: 1-0
PDC Titles: 3-0
2018 Titles: 0-0

Ryan Searle made the most of Mensur Suljovic’s off day to cause one of the many second-round shocks but he’s not the outsider on this occasion.

One of the other 13 seeds to fall – James Wilson – was a victim of William O’Connor and now both men will believe they can take a further career-changing step.

The bookies can’t even split them and whoever loses will feel they’ve let a huge opportunity slip through their grasp so that’s a whole new pressure to deal with up on the oche compared to their previous experiences.

Statistically, O’Connor was the stronger performer, averaging in the high 90s and taking out 50% of his doubles while Searle was down at 90 and 35% respectively.

That said, Searle pointed out in his post-match interview that he’s got the superior head-to-head record, winning all three previous meetings 6-3 although they were on the floor and he accepts it probably doesn’t count for much.

I’m leaning towards O’Connor.

Prediction: 2-4

Gary Anderson (1/14) v Jermaine Wattimena (7/1)

H2H: 4-0
2018 Meetings: 2-0
PDC Titles: 46-0
2018 Titles: 4-0

Don’t go and make yourself a cuppa during this one whatever you do, it’ll be over before you get back even if it finishes 4-3 to either player.

You’ve probably forgotten Gary Anderson has played a match in this World Championship, it was that long ago.

But after a week at home he’s come back to resume his tilt for a third world title and there can be little doubt he’d rather play someone as fast as Jermaine Wattimena than the slow Dinosaur Michael Barnard.

The Flying Scotsman has won all four meetings, including a 10-6 victory at this year’s UK Open – one of the three big trophies he’s collected this season as well as the World Matchplay and Champions League of Darts.

He’s very short a price so maybe an option would be to back him at 3/1 to win, score over 6.5 180s and have a checkout of over 125.5.

Prediction: 4-2

Michael van Gerwen (1/20) v Max Hopp (9/1)

H2H: 5-0
2018 Meetings: 1-0
PDC Titles: 113-3
2018 Titles: 18-2

If you're trying to remember if Michael van Gerwen had beer thrown on him at this World Championship or last year's, it was this year.

The world number one has certainly had enough time to calm down from that disgraceful incident and now he'll be looking to claim a sixth successive victory over rising German star Max Hopp and earn himself another break.

Hopp is improving all the time, however, and this year he's gained a lot of confidence with his first European Tour title in front of his home crowd as well as a Players Championship title and a run to the semi-finals of the European Championship.

Now we're in the longer format of best-of-seven, I'm not sure Hopp has the firepower to live with the might of MVG but he can pick up a couple of sets against a player who has lost some of his aura.

Prediction: 4-2

Suggested acca

  • Norris, Gurney & O'Connor

Suggested bets

  • Norris to win and Joyce to hit most 180s at 6/1
  • Chisnall v Huybrechts to have over 23.5 legs, a high checkout of over 137.5 and over 14.5 total 180s at 3/1
  • Hopp (+2.5 sets) to beat MVG at 23/10
  • Anderson to win, score over 6.5 180s and have a checkout of over 125.5 at 3/1

Click here for Sky Bet's latest darts odds and offers

Schedule for Sunday December 23

Sunday December 23
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
Third Round (Best of 7 sets)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Darts

  • Vincent Van der Voort v Chris Dobey (R3)
  • Brendan Dolan v Mervyn King (R3)
  • James Wade v Keegan Brown (R3)

Evening Session (1900)
Third Round (Best of 7 sets)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Darts

  • Adrian Lewis v Darius Labanauskas (R3)
  • Price/Aspinall v Kyle Anderson (R3)
  • Rob Cross v Cristo Reyes (R3)

Full World Championship draw and schedule

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