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Expect the unexpected in opening round

Steve Beaton faces in-form Rob Cross
1 of 1

First round
Sky Sports Arena, 7pm Sunday

There will be shocks in round one of the World Grand Prix because there always are, so throw a dart at the likes of Steve Beaton and Robert Thornton defying the odds in Dublin.

The first round of this event is a notorious graveyard of reputations because it’s a rapid-fire best-of-three and you’ve just got to miss a few starting doubles to be out of the leg.

Twelve months ago, the first-round casualties included Peter Wright, Michael Smith, James Wade and Phil Taylor so there’s no shame in laying some of the jollies.

Rob Cross looks the real deal and is making a name for himself on tour - he won the latest Players Championship event on Friday – but this is his first tilt at this major and Beaton is just the sort who can give him a run. The Adonis is a seasoned pro whose inconsistency often makes him a poor choice at odds-on, but 15-8 to beat a rookie is hard to resist.

Thornton has gone right off the boil over the past 18 months but must have happy memories of a place where he struck gold in 2015. If he starts connecting with his beloved double 20 he’ll take some beating, as Kim Huybrechts may well find out.

Last year, 12 of the 16 first-round ties went the distance, including Michael van Gerwen’s showdown with Beaton. No one is immune from a nail-biter on this stage and it follows that Van Gerwen’s opponent tonight, John Henderson, has to merit a bet at 11-4 receiving 1.5 legs on the handicap. 

Recommendations
S Beaton
2pts 2-1 bet365
R Thornton
2pts 7-4 Betfair
J Henderson +1.5
2pts 11-4 bet365, Betfred, Hills


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Twelve months ago, first-round casualties included Peter Wright, Michael Smith, James Wade and Phil Taylor
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