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Fearless Ted Evetts looks ready to worry fiery Gerwyn Price

Steve Beaton in for a scrap

Steve Beaton is ready for World Darts action
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Steve Beaton v Willie O'Connor
Head-to-heads: Beaton leads 5-3 
Almost 22 years have passed since Steve Beaton was crowned world champion and the old charmer knows he's in for a real scrap against Ireland's Willie O'Connor.

The Adonis, making his 27th appearance on the world stage, can call upon bags of extra experience against O'Connor, who is making his debut.

But this first-round duel could easily go all the way, and that could well mean plenty of 180s and a high checkout or two. 

Recommendation
High checkout over 121.5
1pt 5-6 Betfair 

James Wilson v Krzysztof Ratajski
No previous meetings
James Wilson has struggled to take his BDO form or his floor form on to the big stage since joining the PDC, and that leaves him vulnerable against Poland's Krzysztof Ratajski.

The Pole, who 12 months ago whitewashed Wesley Harms at the Lakeside before vanishing in round two, heads for London a couple of months after winning the prestigious WDF World Masters, where Glen Durrant and Mark McGeeney were on his list of victims.

That's a decent pedigree by any measure, though he too has to show he can do it on what is the biggest stage (literally) of them all.

The odds presume a knife-edge match but don't allow for one or other of them freezing. Given that possibility, go under 17.5 legs. 

Recommendation
Under 17.5 legs
1pt 5-6 Betfred 


Michael van Gerwen v Christian Kist
Van Gerwen leads 2-1 
An injured Christian Kist shouldn't present much of an ordeal for Michael van Gerwen, who starts the defence of his title with what ought to be a whitewash. That's a 1-3 poke.

Plagued with arthritis, 2012 BDO champion Kist has hardly won a match since the summer and clearly isn't good enough to spring a surprise.

One-sided games can often be disappointing affairs and with Van Gerwen unlikely to need to produce any roof-raising checkouts, the top outshot at 124.5 looks on the high side. 

Recommendation
High checkout under 124.5
1pt 10-11 Sky Bet 


Gerwyn Price v Ted Evetts
No previous meetings 
Fiery Welshman Gerwyn Price has suffered three first-round exits on his three visits to the Palace and has to fear the worst against Ted Evetts.

Evetts showed he has bottle galore by triumphing in the pressure-cooker qualifiers, beating Robbie Green, Jeffrey de Graaf and Brendan Dolan to clinch the last spot in the field.

The 20-year-old looks fearless and  fired in a nine-darter during UK Open qualifying earlier this year. He can make life uncomfortable for Price. 

Recommendation
T Evetts +1.5
1pt Evens Betfair, BoyleSports


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Michael van Gerwen starts the defence of his title with what ought to be a whitewash
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