World Championship: Day 12 afternoon preview

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Michael Smith (pictured) will look to cement his place in the last 16 at Alexandra Palace as he takes on John Henderson on Thursday afternoon. Photography: Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Following the Christmas break, the action from the William Hill World Darts Championship resumes at Alexandra Palace, and here’s what’s coming up this afternoon from 12:30 BST over on Sky Sports Darts. 

Devon Petersen vs Steve West (12:45)

As Steve West and Devon Petersen battle it out for a place in the last 16 of the William Hill World Darts Championship. In terms of head-to-head meetings, Petersen got the better of West in a 6-4 victory back in September at Players Championship 18. 

For Petersen, it hasn’t been a great year for the South African, but as he qualified through the event in S.A, he’s really made the most of his opportunity as he enjoyed a superbly tense 3-2 victory over Wayne Jones in round one, but the drama didn’t end there as Petersen produced quite a remarkable display as he came from 2-0 behind to edge out Ian White. 

As for West, he’s enjoyed another impressive year on the tour, and it all started off for West with a run to the Quarter-Finals in the UK Open. From then on, West reached two Semi-Finals of the PDC European Tour events in Copenhagen and Reisa. That stage experience has really stood West in good stead. 

PREDICTION: I think that Steve West will win this one by a two leg margin, you can get odds of 4/6 for a -1.5 handicap. 

Steve West: 4/9 Devon Petersen: 7/4

 

Dimitri van den Bergh vs Luke Humphries (14:00)

Now this match is one of most anticipated matches of round three, Luke Humphries has really matured over the last 12 months, Humphries has topped the PDC Development Tour in 2017 and 2018, and he’s really developed into a household name. The Newbury-based ace produced some impressive displays against Stephen Burton and Stephen Bunting. 

Humphries produced a 96 average in that 3-1 win over ‘The Bullet’, and he’ll definitely give the back-to-back World Youth Champion a run for his money in this one. 

As for Van den Bergh, he’s had another successful year in the televised events, VDB enjoyed a run to the Quarter-Finals in the World Championship last year as he pushed Rob Cross all the way as he came from 3-1 behind to force a deciding set. 

Van den Bergh created history in November as he became the first player in PDC history to win the World Youth Championship twice, the Belgian also produced a sensational nine-dart leg in a 10-7 victory over Stephen Bunting at the Grand Slam. The ‘Dreammaker’ is the favourite for this one, but I feel that Humphries will push the Belgian. 

PREDICTION: I’m going for over 5.5 sets in this one which is available at 4/6.

Dimitri van den Bergh: 4/9 Luke Humphries: 7/4

 

Michael Smith vs John Henderson (15:15)

Wrapping up the afternoon session, we hsve another potentially exciting clash as Michael Smith looks to cement his place in the last 16 for a second successive year as he takes on a tricky customer in John Henderson. 

Smith has been heavily backed to win the World Championship, and despite reaching just one major final in the Premier League to go with his  appearances in the World Series of Darts final and Winning the Shanghai Darts Masters, Smith is most definitely long overdue a huge televised major title. According to various bookmakers, Smith was the second most backed player leading into the William Hill World Darts Championship. 

Smith enjoyed an impressive 3-1 victory over Ron Meulenkamp in round two as it was a great platform to build on. 

The St Helens man averaged 94.07, fired in seven maximums and enjoyed a 50% success rate on the doubles. As for Henderson, he’s always a tricky customer as Daryl Gurney found out at Alexandra Palace in last years competition. Hendo averaged 95 in his closely contested 3-2 victory over the much fancied German Gabriel Clemens in what was another consistent display from the Scot, and much like Smith, his checkout success rate was excellent (61.9%). 

PREDICTION: I really feel that Michael Smith will put in a professional display and win this one by at least a two-leg margin. A handicap of -1.5 legs is available at 2/5. 

Michael Smith: 1/5 John Henderson: 7/2

 

My recommended treble:

Steve West: -1.5 handicap @ 4/6

VDB vs Humphries: over 5.5 sets @ 4/6

Michael Smith: -1.5 legs handicap @ 2/5

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