Day 1 of the PDC World Darts Championship gets underway on Friday evening (19:00), as almost three weeks of top quality darts fills our television screens over the Christmas period. We will have daily boosts and tipping pieces right here on Betfred Insights, your home of darts.
Stowe Buntz to win - 6/5
Stowe Buntz was the talk of the Grand Slam of Darts on his televised debut, after first topping a really tricky group, with wins over Peter Wright and Stephen Bunting and then bettering that by beating UK Open champion Andrew Gilding in the 2nd round. Sadly 'The Bullet' gained revenge with a quarter-final victory over the American but the darting public at large had been made aware of the name of Buntz.
A crane and rigging manager by trade, the 44-year-old has no immediate plans to turn professional but a good run here could possibly change his mind. He faces tricky Dutch youngster Kevin Doets (4/5) in the first round, before a potential super-clash with defending champion Michael Smith in the 2nd round, later on Friday night.
The colourfully clad Buntz isn't the biggest scorer but he is an excellent finisher and that could be crucial here on the biggest of stages. Neither man has played at Ally Pally before but after his heroics at Wolverhampton, Stowe should have the audience on his side.
Rusty Jake Rodriguez +1.5 Hcp - 8/11
Next up, we have an intriguing little tussle between Rusty Jake Rodriguez (7/5) and Cameron Menzies (4/7). The Scot is perhaps most famous for being the partner of 'Queen of the Palace' Fallon Sherrock, yet is a decent dartist in his own right. The world no 63 should have just enough to win this one but I like Rusty's chances of covering the handicap and taking this all the way.
Rodriguez has a poor record of late but did make the 2nd round in the 2022 World Champs before losing a last set decider against Chris Dobey. The 22-year-old possesses talent and can score fairly heavily when he gets in the mood. I fancy this one to go to a deciding set.
Simon Whitlock 3-0 - 4/7
Last up, we have a familiar looking face in the form of Simon Whitlock (1/16), who takes on Paulo Nebrida (17/2) from the Philippines.
'The Beard to be Feared' is in the twilight of his career but should have way too much for the Filipino. Nebrida's latest results show averages in the 70's, which is no match for the Aussie's scoring prowess.
Whitlock isn't the force he once was but is still 43 in the order of merit and should dispatch of Nebrida with ease.
The combined treble pays 5/1 on site but has been kindly boosted by the Betfred traders to 6/1.
You can catch all our latest Darts Betting Tips over at Betfred Insights...