World Cup of Darts: outright predictions, free betting tips and where to watch
Rob Cross and Michael Smith can bring World Cup crown back to England
Free darts tips, best bets and analysis for the World Cup of Darts at the Salzburgarena in Austria.
Where to watch
Sky Sports Arena, midday and 6pm, Friday
2pts 4-1 general
New Zealand to win second quarter
1pt 9-1 general
Australia to win third quarter
1pt 11-2 Betfair, Paddy Power
0.5pts e-w 100-1 bet365, Betfred
Scotland disrupted the Anglo-Dutch domination of the World Cup of Darts last year but expect normal service to be resumed with Michael Smith and Rob Cross taken to take the trophy back to England.
Sixty-four players representing 32 nations are locked down in the Salzburgarena in Austria for the tenth running of this team event which always has a cosmopolitan look to it but rarely produces major shocks.
England – Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis – have won it four times; Holland – Raymond van Barneveld with the help of first Co Stompe, then Michael van Gerwen – have also won it four times. Gary Anderson and Peter Wright snapped the duopoly last time and since Scotland are 100-1 to defend the trophy you will have guessed that neither of those two are in attendance.
There has never been bigger than a 6-1 winner of this entertaining team event and even allowing for doubts over the form of one or two of the top aces, the main contenders should figure.
Wales – represented by Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton - will surely improve on last year's first-round exit and have been disputing favouritism with the Dutch, for whom Van Gerwen teams up with debutant Danny Noppert.
It doesn't look a world-beating duo, although they are housed in what should be a soft quarter unlike the Welsh who will probably have to see off the Scots and then any one of Australia, last year's finalists Ireland, a Devon Petersen-led South Africa or a Krzysztof Ratajski-led Poland, none of which looks routine. And they will almost certainly face the Dutch in the semis.
So England, represented by Smith and Cross, have to be content to have avoided all those potential pitfalls.
True, there will be nothing straightforward about the Philippine duo of Lourence Ilagan and Noel Malcidem in a best-of-nine doubles shootout, but it's no wonder Smith and Cross are odds-on to make the semis.
Quarters two and three look seriously congested and if there are a couple of dangers to follow it could be New Zealand, represented by Haupai Puha and Cody Harris, and the unseeded Australian pair of Simon Whitlock and Damon Heta.
And even though the Aussies are the pick from quarter three, while the Scots are worth a nibble at a three-figure quote. You'd think they'd plucked two chancers out of a working men's club in Wishaw; in fact they've got John Henderson and Robert Thornton flying their flag, which is hardly barrel scraping.
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