The first round of the PDC World Darts Championship is behind us and it's now started to get serious, with some cracking arras ahead of us. There are four more games taking place on Saturday evening and, as usual, our go to guy for darts Adam Roberts has his betting predictions for you.
Over 7.5 180s Searle vs Goto - 11/10
Our first game of the evening sees Ryan Searle (1/7) taking on Japan's Tomoya Goto (9/2) for a potential place in the third round against #14 seed Joe Cullen.
'Heavy Metal' is the big odds-on favourite for a reason, as the world number 19 is regularly in the later rounds of major tournaments, whereas Goto is a virtual unknown.
However, along with Man-Lok Leung, Goto was one of the stories of the first round, as the PDC Asian Tour continues to show it can produce serious throwers. The 27-year-old produced some stunning darts in his first-round victory over the much more experienced Ian White and threw in seven maximums for fun.
It's that angle that we are targeting for this opener, as both Goto and Searle love to pepper the top lipstick. Over 7.5 180's should be more than achievable.
Josh Rock -1.5 Hcp - 8/13
Josh Rock (1/4) enters the tournament at the second round stage and takes on Berry van Peer (3/1), with the winner taking on Aussie Damon Heta.
The 22-year-old would probably have been expecting to face Luke Woodhouse in this match but the Dutchman soon put pay to that. His 3-2 win over the world number 33 was unexpected but certainly not undeserved. Can he now raise his game another notch from the 93.97 average to contend against one of the best young talents in the game.
Rock was the 'Luke Littler' of last year's tournament but comes into this year's stanza as a bit of a dark horse. His run to the fourth round was certainly memorable, beating Callan Rydz and Natahn Aspinall along the way. Can he now go a step further and make the quarter finals and beyond?
I'm taking 'Rocky' to win this one at a canter and wouldn't be surprised if he nils van Peer.
Stephen Bunting to win - 8/15
Another man making his debut for the tournament this year is one of the form players of the last few months.
Stephen Bunting (8/15) takes on Ryan Joyce (6/4) for a place in the third round and the 'Bullet' should progress if he can play to his recent standard.
The 38-year-old scouser has had a bit of an Indian summer in 2023, reaching the quarter-finals of the Worlds and Players Championship finals, as well as the semi-final of the Grand Slam of Darts.
Joyce was in fine form in his opening win over Alex Spellman, averaging over 100 but this will be a far tougher proposition. I can see this one being a tight affair but I fully expect Bunting to progress.
Over 3.5 sets Aspinall vs Evans - 1/2
Last game of the night on the Ally Pally oche is an entertaining looking battle between Nathan Aspinall (1/3) and Ricky Evans (23/10). Both men are extremely quick players so this should be fun whilst it lasts.
'Rapid' Ricky Evans threw the quickest ever nine-darter in the sport's history at the Players Championship in Barnsley and can be a hugely attractive player to watch. Aspinall, meanwhile, is out of form and struggling to replicate the level of play that saw him lift the World Matchplay title in July.
With that in mind, I'm expecting Ricky to win at least one set and have gone for over 3.5 sets as our final leg.
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