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

Michael Smith, Joe Cullen, James Wade and Simon Whitlock are all in action on Wednesday
Michael Smith, Joe Cullen, James Wade and Simon Whitlock are all in action on Wednesday

We preview Wednesday's action at the PDC World Darts Championship, including the order of play, match-by-match predictions, Sky Bet odds and a suggested acca.

There's another batch of afternoon and evening sessions at Alexandra Palace today as we continue to plough through the second-round, with the likes of Michael Smith, Simon Whitlock, James Wade and Joe Cullen all in action.

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World Darts Championship: Wednesday December 19

AFTERNOON SESSION

Click on the odds for more Sky Bet match markets

  • TV Coverage: Sky Sports (1230 GMT)
  • First/Second Round: Best of five sets

Nathan Aspinall (2/5) v Geert Nentjes (2/1)

Head-to-head: 0-0
2018 Meetings: 0-0
PDC Titles in 2018: 1-0
Career PDC Titles: 1-0

Unless you keep a close eye on the PDC's Development or Challenge Tours, Geert Nentjes won't be on your radar yet but early signs suggest he's got a bright future.

The 20-year-old Dutchman reached three finals, three semis and two quarters on the Development Tour which earned him a high enough finish on the Order or Merit to qualify for his debut World Championship.

Also, when competing in the UK Open qualifiers at the start of the year he claimed wins over Joe Cullen and James Wilson so he's obviously got talent and potential.

When doing my research on him, I found an article on dartsnews.com in which he said: "I started 5 years ago after watching the PDC World Championship and bought myself a dartboard and darts and started practising. I didn’t immediately hit a 180 because I was really bad in the beginning but I really loved the game and practised a lot and that made me better and better and after two years I started to play national and international tournaments."

Really bad in the beginning?! If that doesn't give any aspiring players hope, I don't know what will.

Anyway, a run to the World Youth Championship quarter-finals was abruptly ended by eventual runner-up Martin Schindler 6-0 and although he has no major televised tournament experience, it's not as if Aspinall has much experience of winning on the big stage.

That said the 27-year-old is a worthy favourite having won his maiden PDC title this year but I think this has potential of going the distance.

Prediction: 2-3

Jeffrey de Graaf (1/3) v Noel Malicdem (23/10)

Head-to-head: N/A
2018 Meetings: N/A
PDC Titles in 2018: 0-0
Career PDC Titles: 0-0

We've already seen one Filipino player light up the Alexandra Palace this year in Lourence Ilagan, despite the fact he lost an extremely entertaining clash against Vincent der Voort with a 95 average.

Noel Malicdem could well be the next and although he wasn't quite as successful as Ilagan on the Asian Tour, his draw would seem softer.

The 41-year-old won two events in 2018 and also hit a nine-darter against Royden Lam - albeit losing the match - so don't be surprised if he pulls of a shock like fellow Asian Tour qualifier Seigo Asada managed against Krzysztof Ratajski yesterday.

Noel Malicdem hits a nine-dart finish on the Asia Tour

Jeffrey de Graaf is a very short favourite considering he's not gone particularly deep in any tournament on the Pro Tour or European Tour, except a run to a Players Championship semi-final back in February, while he's never won a match on a World Championship stage.

He lost four first-round matches at the Lakeside during his BDO days from 2013 to 2016, winning four sets in total and losing nine, while two years ago here he lost 3-1 to Jelle Klaasen.

These sorts of things can play on one's mind and expect a nervy performance from him. Malicdem is 11/10 with a 1.5 set start so I think that's probably the safest way to go.

Before we move on, I know it's below the belt to highlight one bad visit from any player, but it does make us amateurs and novices feel a bit better about our own game!

Jeffrey de Graaf's nightmare visit

Prediction: 3-2

Joe Cullen (2/7) v Brendan Dolan (13/5)

Head-to-head: 3-7
2018 Meetings: 0-1
PDC Titles in 2018: 0-0
Career PDC Titles: 2-5

Those who read my pre-tournament preview will know Joe Cullen is one of my outside tips - but for those who didn't, here's what I wrote:

"Don't be put off by the Rockstar's horrible record of just one win in seven previous visits to Alexandra Palace, because as he explained in an interview with me, he has a history of difficult draws from the days when he wasn't seeded.

"This year has been a real breakthrough for Cullen in terms of performances on the televised and European Tour stages and he'll be licking his lips at being in this bracket, even if a slow player like Brendan Dolan in round two isn't an ideal way to begin.

"Cullen underlined the talents we all knew he had by reaching the World Matchplay quarter-finals, where he thrashed Gerwyn Price and Daryl Gurney before missing two match darts in an epic 19-17 defeat to nine-dart hero Gary Anderson, and also made the last four of the European Championship.

"He came so close to reaching his maiden TV final at the latter event in October, missing match dart against Simon Whitlock in an agonising 11-10 loss having previously come from 6-1 down to beat Rob Cross and also brushed aside Michael Smith 10-4."

Brendan Dolan, playing in his 11th consecutive World Championship, is a painfully slow player but given he's not reaching the latter stages of tournaments like he used to, it's perhaps not as big a factor anymore.

That's not to say he can't nick a set - after all he beat Cullen 6-1 in their only meeting this year - but he only averaged 86 in an easy 3-0 win over Yuanjun Liu in the first round and will need to improve.

Prediction: 3-1

Kim Huybrechts (2/5) v Daniel Larsson (2/1)

Head-to-head: N/A
2018 Meetings: N/A
PDC Titles in 2018: 0-0
Career PDC Titles: 4-0

If there's one player - apart from Dave Chisnall - whose games I find almost impossible to call it's Kim Huybrechts.

We all know he still has the ability to ruthlessly race through a match in true 'Hurricane' fashion, although even during the heights of his career to date, inconsistency would be his major hurdle.

These days those very good performances are fewer and further apart and the best we saw of him this year was probably at the World Cup where he helped Belgium reach the semi-finals.

That said, he's still reached three quarter-finals and a semi-final on the Pro Tour this season and also got to the last four of the Dutch Darts Masters, where he beat Peter Wright, so there's no reason the good Kim won't turn up today.

Daniel Larsson enjoyed a dream debut yesterday when upsetting Robert Thornton 3-1 and his average of 91, boosted by seven 180s, suggests he will give Huybrechts a very good game.

That performance was yet another reminder of how the global standard of darts is rising off the radar and there's a whole host of unfamiliar names you don't often see on TV, who are a lot better than you expect.

I'm leaning on the upset here but instead of taking 2/1, I'll be slightly bolder and back Larsson to win, score over 2.5 180s and have a checkout of over 82.5 at 11/4.

If you don't want to side with a particular player, how about the match to have over 16.5 legs, a high checkout of over 126.5 and more than 7.5 180s at the same price.

Prediction: 2-3

EVENING SESSION

  • TV Coverage: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)
  • First/Second Round: Best of five sets

James Wilson (8/15) v William O'Connor (6/4)

Head-to-head: 1-1
2018 Meetings: 0-0
PDC Titles in 2018: 0-0
Career PDC Titles: 0-0

William O'Connor may have plenty of backers for this match following his first-round win on Sunday, which broke his duck on the Alexandra Palace stage.

Although an 87 average against Yordi Meeuwisse was hardly earth shattering, afterwards he said: "I play the opponent rather than play the board. I had prepared for Yordi to play out of his skin and he didn't perform. I was waiting for Yordi to kick off and he never did. It dragged me down a little bit as well."

He accepts the pressure is off him now he's tasted victory here after last year's disappointment against Steve Beaton so expect a more relaxed O'Connor who'll need to produce better against a player of James Wilson's quality.

Their seasons haven't been too dissimilar in the sense they both reached a European Tour final and both lost to Michael van Gerwen when they got there.

However Wilson's run to the World Grand Prix quarter-finals, where he narrowly lost to eventual runner-up Peter Wright, shows how much he's developed as a player who can perform on TV.

I'll give the Englishman the edge but it the 7/4 on it going the distance is tempting.

Prediction: 3-2

Simon Whitlock (2/7) v Ryan Joyce (13/5)

Head-to-head: 2-0
2018 Meetings: 2-0
PDC Titles in 2018: 0-0
Career PDC Titles: 17-0

I was guilty of underestimating Ryan Joyce ahead of his clash with Anastasia Dobromyslova and despite losing the first leg, he didn't seem anywhere near as nervy as I thought he'd be.

He landed big checkouts under pressure to take the wind out of Dobromyslova's sails and the Russian only won two more legs in a one-sided match in which Joyce averaged 90.

Whitlock will almost certainly average more than Dobromyslova's 77.32 so it's not disrespectful to say this will be a much sterner test and, of course, the odds reflect that.

The Aussie, who has won both of their meetings in floor events this season (6-2 and 6-3), has looked a dangerous force in the big events, reaching the European Championship final, which he lost to James Wade in a deciding leg, while also going as far as the quarter-finals of both the World Matchplay and Grand Slam of Darts.

Obviously he's aiming to do better than that - and the defeat to Gerwyn Price in Wolverhampton where he blew a big lead will have hurt - but his belief has returned and I'm fairly sure we'll see an impressive win on Wednesday night.

I'll back him to win, score over 3.5 180s and have a checkout of over 100.5 at 11/8.

Prediction: 3-1

Michael Smith (1/6) v Ron Meulenkamp (4/1)

Head-to-head: N/A
2018 Meetings: N/A
PDC Titles in 2018: 0-0
Career PDC Titles: 0-0

Sorry to reference my pre-tournament preview again, but Michael Smith made my staking plan to become world title and this is why:

"It's almost like everyone is waiting for Bully Boy to win a big one after showing so much more promise in 2018 and nobody can doubt his star potential, which he nearly converted into Premier League glory earlier this year.

"Smith beat his mentor Anderson in the semi-finals before being blown away by a ruthless MVG at the O2 but since then he's won a televised title at the Shanghai Masters and came agonisingly close to triumphing at the World Series of Darts Finals last month.

In the most dramatic of finals in Vienna, the St Helens man forced a deciding leg against James Wade only to miss five darts for the title as The Machine capitalised.

Although I really like the inflated price on Cross to win the title, I do also want to back Smith given how loudly he's been knocking on the door."

I have to acknowledge, however, that if Ron Meulenkamp plays as well as he did after losing six of the opening seven legs against Diogo Portela yesterday, then Smith can't afford to make a slow start.

The Dutchman ended up with a 93 average in a high quality affair, hit eight 180s and made a 124 checkout.

Given how strong Bully Boy can be on his maximums, I think the best bet for this match is quite a simple one - over 9.5 180s at evens.

Prediction: 3-1

James Wade (1/6) v Seigo Asada (2/1)

Head-to-head: N/A
2018 Meetings: N/A
PDC Titles in 2018: 2-0
Career PDC Titles: 30-0

James Wade will almost certainly be back in the Premier League next season after dramatically pulling himself out of the darting doldrums to win both the European Championship and World Series back-to-back recently, ending a near five-year drought for a TV title.

That, however, will be far from his mind right now as he sets about his quest to win the biggest trophy of the lot for the first time in his career - and he couldn't really be in a better place right now.

The Machine put his recent success down to the happiness emanating from the arrival of his son Arthur and I doubt the novelty has worn off yet!

On the darting front, he'll be secretly happy that his opponent is Seigo Asada rather than the dangerous Krzysztof Ratajski, who somehow blew a 2-0 lead to bow out.

I had tipped the Polish Eagle at 33/1 to win this extremely tough quarter so to say I was crestfallen when Asada, who was 33/1 in-play when 2-0 down, produced a stunning comeback.

The Asian Tour number two grew in confidence after taking the the third set on a decider and ended up with an impressive average of 91 and a checkout percentage of 44%.

If he can play like that again then backing Asada (+1.5 sets) has appeal.

Prediction: 3-2

Wednesday's suggested darts bets

  • Larsson to win, score over 2.5 180s & have a checkout of over 82.5 at 11/4.
  • Malicdem (+1.5 sets) to beat s 11/10 with a 1.5 set start
  • Over 4.5 sets in Wilson v O'Connor at 7/4
  • Whitlock to win, score over 3.5 180s and have a checkout of over 100.5 at 11/8.
  • Smith v Meulenkamp to have over 9.5 180s at evens.
  • Click here to place your bets

Wednesday's suggested darts accas

Schedule for Thursday December 20

Thursday December 20
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
Second Round (Best of 5 sets)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Darts

  • Jermaine Wattimena v Michael Barnard (R2)
  • Alan Norris v Lennon/Bailey (R2)
  • Stephen Bunting v Luke Humphries (R2)
  • Steve Beaton v Chris Dobey (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Second Round (Best of 5 sets)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Darts

  • Cristo Reyes v Evans/Rodriguez (R2)
  • Mervyn King v Jan Dekker (R2)
  • Adrian Lewis v Ted Evetts (R2)
  • Mensur Suljovic v Ryan Searle (R2)

Full World Championship draw and schedule

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