World Matchplay Darts: Thursday predictions, odds, betting tips, order of play & TV times

Who will reach the World Matchplay semi-finals?
Who will reach the World Matchplay semi-finals?

The first two quarter-finals of the World Matchplay take place on Thursday night so here's the full order of play, match-by-match predictions, Sky Bet odds and a fancied double.

Just eight players remain in the hunt for the newly-named Phil Taylor Trophy and four of them continue their quest on Thursday, with tournament favourite Gary Anderson taking on Joe Cullen after Dave Chisnall faces the giant-killing Jeffrey de Zwaan.

Below we have the full running order of both games, Chris Hammer's match-by-match previews & predictions as well as his main suggested bets and a double.

Thursday's suggested darts tips

  • Jeffrey de Zwaan to beat Dave Chisnall at 11/8
  • Joe Cullen (+3.5) to beat Gary Anderson at 13/8

Click here to back these selections with Sky Bet

Thursday's darts double

World Matchplay: Thursday July 26

Click on the odds for more Sky Bet match markets

  • TV Coverage: Sky Sports (7pm BST)
  • Quarter-Finals: Best of 31 legs

Jeffrey de Zwaan (11/8) v Dave Chisnall (4/7)

  • Head-to-head: 2-1
  • 2018 meetings: 0-0
  • Tournament Average: 96.88 - 99.02
  • Tournament 180s: 6 - 12
  • Checkout %: 51.22% (21/41) - 53.85% (21/39)

It's a funny old game isn't it?

So you have this young rising star that - apart from avid darts fans of course - few people knew much about other than he knocked MVG out of the UK Open back in March.

Lightning then strikes twice against the best player in the world on Saturday night on one of the biggest stages of them all in front of a packed crowd - unlike that weather-enforced behind closed doors atmosphere of the UK Open.

He then upsets the odds again to defeat another two-time world champion in Adrian Lewis, who is fighting his way back up the rankings this year after a poor 2017, and did so with the most confident of double-double finishes despite immense pressure.

An average of 99, six 180s and a checkout percentage of 44% defied Jackpot's average of 103 and ensured there was no case of after the Lord Mayor's Show.

But none of this is really a freak set of results. When you learn he had to go to back Qualifying School in January to re-earn his PDC Tour card, it masks over the fact he is only 22. To put that into perspective, he's two years younger than Dimitri van den Bergh, who is still regarded as a fantastic prospect rather than a finished article.

He was just struggling at such a tender age to find his feet in the highly-competitive professional ranks but now things are clicking for him, and he even won a maiden senior PDC title at a Players Championship event earlier this year.

Yet the odds suggest the 'royal we' expect his dream run to end against Dave Chisnall.

Why? Because Chizzy is a much more familiar name with more experience of...not winning major titles?

As much as we all love Chisnall and there wouldn't be a dry eye in anyone's house if he claimed his first big TV title this weekend, surely one stunning comeback against Michael Smith doesn't mean he's suddenly the Chizzy of old?

During his best period of 2012 to 2016 he reached four major finals and regularly got to quarter-finals of the big events, but until this past week he was enduring a lean spell by his standards and hasn't played a best-of-31 legs match since on this stage two years ago.

After coming from 7-1 down to beat Michael Smith 11-8, he said: "I haven't played great darts for eight months and I started slowly again, and Michael took advantage. I've had a few good comebacks before but I had nothing to lose at 7-1 and my doubles started going in.

"It's nice to be in the quarter-finals but I want to push on from here. Not being in the Premier League was a kick up the backside but I've worked really hard leading up to this event and I feel good."

It's great that his hard work has got him into the quarters but really it shouldn't have counted for much had Bully Boy managed to do what he really should have and won just won four more legs from that emphatic position he enjoyed.

If he goes onto win this title or use this tournament as a springboard to be a regular challenger for honours again then we'll always look back on that win as a turning point but would you be surprised if it just turns out to be an isolated magic win?

The above is all a long-winded way of saying de Zwaan is over-priced for the win although I accept this is the longest format match he's every played in as a professional.

I'm also tempted to back him to win but Chizzy hitting most 180s at 7/2 considering he found his maximum range so well against Smith.

Prediction: 16-12

Joe Cullen (4/1) v Gary Anderson (1/6)

  • Head-to-head: 4-4
  • 2018 meetings: 0-0
  • Tournament Average: 95.64 - 100.56
  • Tournament 180s: 3 - 10
  • Checkout %: 51.22% (21/41) - 38.89% (21/54)

Gary Anderson's glittering career deserves a World Matchplay title and he probably won't get a better chance than this to get his hands on the newly-named Phil Taylor Trophy.

The Flying Scotsman doesn't have a great record at the Winter Gardens by his high standards having only played in two quarter-finals here in nine previous visits. He won them both, but got knocked out in the last four by the Power in 2014 and 2016.

His semi-final opponent this year was 'meant' to be Michael van Gerwen but if he can get past Joe Cullen it'll be MVG's conqueror Jeffrey de Zwaan or Dave Chisnall - so whichever way you look at it, nothing less than the final is expected from here on in.

If he can go all the way, it'll be the second big TV major he's won for the first time this season having also landed the UK Open - an event he'd also endured a pretty poor record in down the years.

Having avoided a hiccup against Stephen Bunting in round one, Anderson then had to produce a stunning display to see off an inspired Raymond van Barneveld 11-9 and his celebrations proved just how much he wants this, even if he does play it down in his interviews.

Now the length of the matches go up to best of 31, it becomes increasingly difficult for anyone to beat a player of Anderson's high-scoring talents, especially if he goes into his trademark turbo mode for a mini session or two.

I did tip Joe Cullen at 14/1 pre-tournament to win this quarter of the draw although that was more of a value call should Anderson suffer an early round shock he's certainly been no stranger to in Blackpool.

As impressive the Rockstar has been so far in thrashing two Premier League players in Gerwyn Price (10-3) and Daryl Gurney (11-3), this will be the toughest test of a career which has promised so much but delivered so little on the grandest stages.

But maybe this is finally his time to arrive?

This season Cullen has reached five quarter-finals on the European Tour and one semi-final, so it's encouraging to see him show some consistency in front of the big crowds you get at these events.

His performances this week are another clear indication that he's getting to the level where I - and many of his fans - believe he's capable of but this is the acid test.

The 29-year-old certainly won't demolish Anderson like he did to Price and Gurney so if he does win, it's going to need him to keep his cool in a high pressure situation.

Making it close is one thing but holding your nerve against someone with so much experience of that scenario is another so therefore I'm backing Cullen with a +3.5 leg start on the handicap.

Prediction: 14-16

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