Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

World Grand Prix: Night one predictions, betting tips, acca, order of play and TV time

The World Grand Prix gets under way on Sunday night so check out Chris Hammer's match-by-match predictions, best bets and a suggested acca.

The unique double-start major is taking place in Leicester over the next week and there will be eight best-of-three set matches to get the action under way on Sunday night.

Here's our match-by-match guide of all the action...

Darts betting tips: World Grand Prix night one

1pt over 2.5 sets in Price v Smith at 11/10 (Sky Bet)

1pt Price v Smith to have most 180s on the night at 6/1 (Sky Bet)

1pt Bunting and Humphries both to win at 3.28/1 (Paddy Power)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

World Grand Prix: Sunday October 3

  • TV Coverage: Sky Sports (1800 BST)
  • Format: Best of three sets. All Sets are the best of five legs. All legs must begin and end with a double, meaning that a player must hit a double before he can begin scoring in each leg.

SL Acca: Click here to back Humphries and Bunting both to win with Sky Bet

Martijn Kleermaker (11/8) v Mervyn King (4/7)

  • Head to Head: 0-2 (TV: 0-0)
  • Meetings in 2021: 0-1 (TV: 0-0)
  • Titles in 2021: 0-0
  • Three-dart average (2021): 91.29 - 95.43
  • 180s per leg (2021): 0.19 - 0.22
  • Checkout percentage (Stage events 2021): 26.32% - 48.55%
  • 100+ checkout per leg won (2021): 10.51% - 14.14%
  • World Grand Prix double-in stats (2020): N/A - 45.83%
  • World Grand Prix best: Debut - Runner-up (2012)

Mervyn King is not only the second most experienced double-start player in the field behind James Wade as he prepares for his 15th successive World Grand Prix, but he's one of the most astute at it.

By considerable contrast, Martijn Kleermaker, who is the lowest ranked player, is making his debut and also appearing in front of a PDC major crowd for the first time. On top of all that, he's not been as strong statistically as King this season.

Dirk van Duijvenbode (1/1) v Luke Humphries (8/11)

  • Head to Head: 0-2 (TV: 0-0)
  • Meetings in 2021: 0-2 (TV: 0-0)
  • Titles in 2021: 0-0
  • Three-dart average (2021): 95.96 - 96.09
  • 180s per leg (2021): 0.36 - 0.28
  • Checkout percentage (Stage events 2021): 33.67% - 37.56%
  • 100+ checkout per leg won (2021): 11.39% - 11.79%
  • World Grand Prix double-in stats (2020): 44.65% - N/A
  • World Grand Prix best: Runner-up (2020) - Debut

Luke Humphries is one of my outright tips for the title so I've got to side with the Newbury thrower in this one.

He's reached four finals this season, including the UK Open, while the 2020 runner-up van Duijvenbode is on a poor run of form on the circuit and is lacking the confidence that helped him here last year. However, the safest bet could be over 4.5 180s considering how prolific the Dutchman is, while Humphries is certainly no slouch on that front either.

Stephen Bunting (5/4) v Daryl Gurney (8/13)

  • Head to Head: 6-4 (TV: 0-1)
  • Meetings in 2021: 0-0 (TV: 0-0)
  • Titles in 2021: 1-0
  • Three-dart average (2021): 93.56 - 94.46
  • 180s per leg (2021): 0.26 - 0.29
  • Checkout percentage (Stage events 2021): 38.46% - 35.71%
  • 100+ checkout per leg won (2021): 15.60% - 9.60%
  • World Grand Prix double-in stats (2020): N/A - 36.11%
  • World Grand Prix best: SFx1 - Champion (2017)

Stephen Bunting goes into my double with Luke Humphries as I feel he's superb value at odds-against prices to see off an out of sorts Daryl Gurney on his World Grand Prix return.

The St Helens man, who kick-started his career with a run to the last four of the World Championship last December, ended a five-year wait for a PDC title back in July so there is cause for optimism ahead of the crucial winter months.

Gurney, the 2017 World Grand Prix champion, has suffered back-to-back first round defeats in this major and is showing few signs of resurgence this season.

Dave Chisnall (8/13) v Mensur Suljovic (5/4)

  • Head to Head: 6-4 (TV: 1-1)
  • Meetings in 2021: 0-0 (TV: 0-0)
  • Titles in 2021: 0-0
  • Three-dart average (2021): 95.72 - 94.00
  • 180s per leg (2021): 0.32 - 0.18
  • Checkout percentage (Stage events 2021): 44.94% - 38.51%
  • 100+ checkout per leg won (2021): 12.06% - 9.09%
  • World Grand Prix double-in stats (2020): 47.37% - 40.74%
  • World Grand Prix best: Runner-up x2 - SFx3

Dave Chisnall is arguably the best double-starters without a World Grand Prix title having been runner-up twice and also reaching the semi-finals on two occasions but he comes into this edition on the back of a below-par season so far.

Although Mensur Suljovic's 2021 stats are worse, that's largely because of his struggles in the first half of the year while medical problems ruled him out of the World Matchplay. He's come back to action stronger and reached both the World Cup and Gibraltar Darts Trophy finals in successive weeks.

He's also very handy at this format having reached the semi-finals three times so he can edge this one as the marginal outsider despite the fact he'll probably be outgunned on the maximum front.

Joe Cullen (1/2) v Ross Smith (6/4)

  • Head to Head: 6-4 (TV: 0-0)
  • Meetings in 2021: 0-0 (TV: 0-0)
  • Titles in 2021: 2-1
  • Three-dart average (2021): 96.95 - 94.54
  • 180s per leg (2021): 0.32 - 0.32
  • Checkout percentage (Stage events 2021): 40.41% - 48.65%
  • 100+ checkout per leg won (2021): 11.99% - 13.68%
  • World Grand Prix double-in stats (2020): 43.41% - N/A
  • World Grand Prix best: QFx1 - Debut

Joe Cullen finally got his head round the World Grand Prix format at the fifth attempt last year as he reached the quarter-finals, where he lost a deciding leg to Dave Chisnall.

He'd been enjoying a superb season with two titles before suffering a dip in form over the summer but there were positive signs last week in Gibraltar and he's just about a fair favourite against debutant Ross Smith, who won a maiden PDC title earlier this year.

It could go the distance and if it does I quite fancy there being six or more maximums in the match considering their superb 180 per leg ratios this season of 0.32 - the fourth highest in the field.

James Wade (8/13) v Damon Heta (5/4)

  • Head to Head: 2-2 (TV: 2-2)
  • Meetings in 2021: 0-0 (TV: 0-0)
  • Titles in 2021: 1-0 (TV: 1-0)
  • Three-dart average (2021): 96.10 - 95.89
  • 180s per leg (2021): 0.20 - 0.28
  • Checkout percentage (Stage events 2021): 47.60% - 32.38%
  • 100+ checkout per leg won (2021): 12.82% - 10.17%
  • World Grand Prix double-in stats (2020): 40% - N/A
  • World Grand Prix best: Winner (2010, 2007) - Debut

James Wade heads into his 17th successive World Grand Prix at the age of just 38 so from an experience point of view, this clash is a no contest.

However, debutant Damon Heta has enjoyed a pretty strong season and was only been denied a third PDC title by Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton in his two finals this year, while average-wise he's very similar to Wade, who has dropped off somewhat since winning the UK Open.

This could be closer than most will expect if Heta can adapt to the format and he does have fond memories of facing Wade on TV having beaten him twice in a pair of World Series events in 2019, including during his incredible Brisbane title run. He also pushed Wade hard at last year's Grand Slam before bowing out 16-13 in the quarter-finals.

Gerwyn Price (4/11) v Michael Smith (11/5)

  • Head to Head: 12-14, 2 draws (TV: 5-6, 2 draws)
  • Meetings in 2021: 2-0 (TV: 0-0)
  • Titles in 2021: 4-1
  • Three-dart average (2021): 99.16 (1st) - 96.66
  • 180s per leg (2021): 0.30 (8th) - 0.28
  • Checkout percentage (Stage events 2021): 41.14% - 38.79%
  • 100+ checkout per leg won (2021): 11.55% - 11.61%
  • World Grand Prix double-in stats (2020): 42.59% - 40%
  • World Grand Prix best: Champion (2020) - R2x2

Before last year's edition, Gerwyn Price disliked this tournament as much as Michael Smith but he finally adapted to the format in some style, even if he did ride his luck in the semi-finals against Dave Chisnall.

He looked bullet proof during last weekend's Gibraltar Darts Trophy and it's probably a blessing for him to get handed such a high-calibre player first up to keep him at those levels.

Bully Boy has remarkably never gone beyond the second round in his eight previous attempts and crashed out at the first hurdle six times but perhaps he'll relish the role of the underdog as he bids to prove the doubters wrong.

Although I fancy Price, who stretched his unbeaten run against Smith to eight matches in the Hungarian Darts Trophy final, to get through, I do feel the 11/10 available about it going to a deciding set is too big considering the format is such a leveller.

If it does, then this match has to be a real contender for producing the most 180s on the night at 6/1. They are two of the most prolific maximum hitters around while the 7/2 favourite in this market - Dimitri Van den Bergh v Ryan Searle - is very much a one-man team statistically.

Dimitri Van den Bergh (1/2) v Ryan Searle (6/4)

  • Head to Head: 2-4 (TV: 1-0)
  • Meetings in 2021: 1-0 (TV: 0-0)
  • Titles in 2021: 1-1
  • Three-dart average (2021): 97.40 - 95.73
  • 180s per leg (2021): 0.36 - 0.24
  • Checkout percentage (Stage events 2021): 35.95% - 33.33%
  • 100+ checkout per leg won (2021): 12.87% - 12.44%
  • World Grand Prix double-in stats (2020): 42.86% - 35.71%
  • World Grand Prix best: R2x1 - R1x1

It felt as though Dimitri Van den Bergh's dramatic defeat to Fallon Sherrock last month hit more headlines than when he reached the World Matchplay final or won his first Players Championship title earlier this season but if he's got that shock out of his system, I'd expect his class to tell in a potentially tricky fixture tonight.

Ryan Searle, who is fancied by Sporting Life columnist Paul Nicholson to reach the semi-finals, has also enjoyed a superb season having won his second PDC title as recently as August when beating Peter Wright in a Players Championship final, while statistically he's among the top 20 in the season.

That said, I don't think he'll have enough to defeat Van den Bergh, who has taken his game to new levels on the big stage while his 180 hitting is second to no-one this year.

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