Four men playing superb darts should produce two fantastic matches
Scarcely could two World Championship semi-finals be more mouth-watering than Michael van Gerwen taking on Gary Anderson and Phil Taylor playing Raymond van Barneveld; both of which contests should be high-quality and lengthy.
The first clash between MVG and Anderson could produce record amounts of 180s between two men that have conjured up 68 between them already. Both the Dutchman and the Scot are in stunning form and look to be peaking at the exact right time. Mighty Mike produced his highest average of the tournament last time out and Anderson recovered from a slow start to manage three-figure averages in each of his last three outings.
Being the world number one and defending champion it is little surprise that MVG is the favourite, but he looks a little short at 9/20 with Anderson playing so well. There will be plenty backing the Flying Scotsman at a tempting 17/10.
What is an even more appealing price, though, is for this one to go past the 9.5 sets mark. The semi-finals see the players race to six sets and it would be no surprise to anyone if this goes to 6-4 or closer either way. Over 9.5 sets is available at 11/10 which looks great value between these evenly matched dartists. Their last meeting was in the semi-finals of the Premier League which MVG edged 8-7, we can expect a similarly close encounter.
The second semi is one of darts’ great rivalries, although a clash between Taylor and Van Barneveld in 2015 is not quite as appealing as it was seven or eight years ago. However, Barney’s last two performances have seen him show a fighting ability that many doubted he had and he might just be able to push the Power more than some expect.
Barney dug in deep to upset the odds against both Adrian Lewis and Stephen Bunting and should not be turned over by Taylor in the semis; although the Power is rightly the hot favourite. Van Barneveld may have knocked Taylor out of the Premier League this year, but that was his only win over the Power on the big stage since 2008, it seems unlikely lightning will strike twice in the space of a few months.
There is certainly one market in which Barney can triumph though and that is 180s. The Dutchman banged in 13 maximums against Bunting in the quarters, more than Taylor has managed in the tournament all together. He will not win the war, but he can win the battle of the 180s.
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson over 9.5 sets @ 11/10
Raymond van Barneveld most 180s v Phil Taylor @ 4/7