World Matchplay darts: Semi-final predictions, odds, betting tips, accas, order of play & TV times

Who will reach the World Matchplay final?
Who will reach the World Matchplay final?

Our guide for Saturday's semi-final action at the Betfred World Matchplay in Blackpool includes match-by-match predictions, Sky Bet odds and a suggested double.

Already we know there will be a new name on the prestigious Phil Taylor Trophy but which two players will be competing for it?

Here, I'll run through both semi-finals as well as provide my predictions and best bets.

World Matchplay: Saturday July 27

Click on the odds for more Sky Bet match markets

  • TV Coverage: Sky Sports (1900 BST)
  • Semi-Finals: Best of 33 legs

Rob Cross (1/2) v Daryl Gurney (13/8)

Head-to-head: 6-4
2019 Meetings: 3-1
PDC Titles this season: 0-1
Career PDC Titles: 7-4

"Surprise, surprise," uttered Daryl Gurney when told he was the outsider of the remaining four players to lift the Phil Taylor Trophy this weekend.

But silencing the 'two-faced' pundits - as he put it - and upsetting the odds are two things he's been pretty good at doing on the big stage over the past couple of seasons.

He may not be prolific and winning the floor tournaments away from the TV cameras but the 2017 World Grand Prix and 2018 Players Championship Finals champion is just two wins away from a third major title in as many years, and his gutsy performance against Peter Wright on Friday night proves he's not afraid of any challenge.

The Northern Irishman's victory was similar to how he defeated MVG for his second major prize last year, defying Snakebite's superior average of 104 and his barrage of maximums with ice cool finishing to hang in there at 13-13 before sprinting to the finishing line with three legs on the trot.

It takes a lot of mental strength to pull off such a result in a long format against a player in such red hot form as Wright, who headed into the fixture off the back of 20 straight wins and three titles.

Gurney, who I backed at 25/1 each-way before the tournament began, will need to call on the same reserves against title favourite Rob Cross although he has little time to recharge the batteries ahead of Saturday night's opening fixture.

Fortunately for Gurney, Voltage was also put through the mill, perhaps unexpectedly, by a brilliant effort from Stephen Bunting and the 2018 world champion had to win the last two legs for a dramatic 16-14 triumph.

It is hard to argue why Cross is favourite given how consistent his scoring and finishing have been for large parts of the season even though he hasn't won a title of any kind since August 2018 while he's won three of their four meetings this year, including a double in the Premier League.

The Hastings man, who fired in a 170 checkout en route to defeating Bunting, is by no means unbeatable and if Gurney can stay with him and force another long draining battle, then I reckon he can pip him on the line.

As always, it's worth having small stakes on both players to win in a tie-break situation - which you can do in the correct scoreline market - while another bet I like is Gurney to win, hit over 7.5 180s and manage a checkout of over 110.5 at 3/1.

Those targets are pretty tame when you consider how many legs they'll be in what should be a tight encounter.

Prediction: 18-20

Best Bets: Cross to win in a tie break at 10/1 and Gurney to win in a tie break at 12/1

Best Bets: Gurney to win, score over 7.5 180s and checkout over 110.5 at 3/1

Glen Durrant (8/11) v Michael Smith (11/10)

Head-to-head: 0-0
2019 Meetings: 0-0
PDC Titles this season: 2-0
Career PDC Titles: 2-11

Not one to blow my own trumpet, but I guess this is the semi-final I expected to see having tipped Glen Durrant to win his quarter at 11/1 as well as backing Michael Smith each-way for the title at 25/1.

That said, considering how brilliant he's been to get this far by thrashing Adrian Lewis and James Wade either side of 'that' victory over Michael van Gerwen, I perhaps should have thrown him in at 33/1! We'll find out tonight.

It's the manner of his performances which have surprised me the most, especially against MVG in the battle of the three-time world champions when the struggling Dutchman came from 8-5 down to level it up with an outstanding 134 checkout before going 10-9 up.

At that moment in time it looked as though MVG had finally awoken from his recent slumber in some style and weaker opponents would have faded under the pressure and the heat of the Winter Gardens stage.

Not Duzza.

And it could so easily have been a case of after the Lord's Mayor's Show (sorry for that awful cliche) when facing James Wade, who had survived so many scares and was due a big performance, but after a day of relaxing and watching Homes Under the Hammer, he destroyed a lacklustre Machine.

The Blackpool fans have taken him to their hearts and the atmosphere they're creating, according to the man himself, are carrying him to the title that he's now "daring to dream" about.

It's interesting that Durrant has leapfrogged ahead of Smith in the outright betting but I am still keen on Bully Boy's chances to book his place in his fourth major televised final in not too much over a year.

Having been runner-up at the 2018 Premier League, 2018 World Series of Darts Finals and 2019 World Championship, the St Helens man has come so close to a maiden big title and while there's certainly plenty of time on his side at the age of 28, it'd be great if he start opening the flood gates sooner than later. It's what he deserves.

Smith hasn't shown his very best form yet this week in Blackpool but there's certainly been bursts of it during his wins over Jamie Hughes, Max Hopp and Mervyn King so expect him to raise it another notch against Durrant.

During the post-match press conferences on Thursday night, Durrant admitted he much prefers playing slower-throwing opponents rather than someone like Smith although I'm not sure how much you can read into that given the reverse will be true for Bully Boy.

For this match, my favoured option would be to back Smith to win score over 7.5 180s and have a checkout of over 110.5 at 9/4.

I'm used to Duzza scuppering my outright selections - he did it in successive Lakeside finals when I'd put up Mark McGeeney and Jim Williams each-way at 25/1 - but if he does it again I can only blame myself for not backing him to go all the way.

Prediction: 14-17

Best Bet: Michael Smith to win, score over 7.5 180s and have a checkout of over 110.5 at 9/4

Saturday's darts double

Schedule for Sunday July 28

Sunday July 28 (1900 BST)
Final (best of 35 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports

  • Winner SF 1 v Winner SF 2

Full World Championship draw and schedule

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