2015 Unibet PDC Darts Masters – First Round Preview

January 27th, 20150 Comments »

Following the conclusion of the PDC World Darts Championship at the start of January, the top players in the world of darts prepare to meet again in Milton Keynes for The Masters. This tournament features the top 16 players in the PDC Order of Merit, as it stood after the completion of the World Championships, which was won for the first time by Gary Anderson.

Due to the nature of the tournament, the best players are drawn against each other right from the off and there is no better way to get the 2015 PDC darts season under way, than with a tournament featuring the very top players. For some, it will be a chance to prove the World Championships was no fluke but for others, it will be an opportunity to continue from where they left off at the Alexandra Palace. All eyes will be on Phil Taylor to see how he reacts to his loss in the final.

Phil Taylor vs Terry Jenkins

Terry Jenkins has reached many finals during his PDC darts career and has always struggled to get over the line. This was the case again in 2014, where Jenkins reached the final of the UK Open, only to lose heavily to Adrian Lewis and also the final of the European Championship, where he lost to Michael van Gerwen. ‘The Bull’ also lost to van Gerwen at the 2015 World Championships but did show signs of being back to his best and looking back, Jenkins will have been pleased with his year.

During 2014, Phil Taylor picked up titles at the Grand Slam of Darts and the World Matchplay, in what was a significant second part of the year for the Englishman. A poor start to 2014, meant that many people were writing ‘The Power’ off but a strong second half to the year, culminating in the World Championship final, showed that there is still plenty left in the tank.

Despite enjoying a decent 2014, Jenkins has not defeated Taylor at a major event since 2012 but has never been blown away in any of their recent meetings. At the 2013 World Matchplay and the 2013 Masters, Jenkins pushed Taylor hard and will want to do so again in 2015.

Taylor is 7/1 with PaddyPower to win the match 10-6 and Bet365 offer 6/4 for the match to be tied a 2 legs each after the first 4 legs have been played.

Simon Whitlock vs Raymond van Barneveld

Simon Whitlock started 2014 in promising fashion, reaching the semi-finals of the World Matchplay, defeating Raymond van Barneveld in the process, only to slip away during the second half of the year. First round defeats at the Grand Slam of Darts, The Masters, European Championship and World Grand Prix means that Whitlock entered the 2015 World Championships in very poor form. Whitlock went out in the first round and in doing so, lost his place in the Premier League for 2015.

It’s fair to say that Raymond van Barneveld had a mixed bag in 2014, including a fantastic Premier League victory, defeating Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen in the semi-finals and final respectively. However, van Barneveld also revealed that he had received treatment for depression and also began experimenting with glasses on the oche. Nevertheless, ‘Barney’ played well at the 2015 World Championships, reaching the semi-finals, only to run in to Phil Taylor, who knocked him out.

Whitlock has a good recent record against van Barneveld, including victories at the 2014 European Darts Open and 2014 World Matchplay. However, the Australian’s poor from in the latter part of 2014, coupled with the fact that he missed the cut for the Premier League, means that van Barneveld could do some damage in this match.

William Hill offer 10/1 for van Barneveld to take the match 10-5 and Whitlock will need to show a serious turn around in form to avoid a defeat such as this. Barney is also 10/1 with Bet365 to reach the final, possibly due to a potential meeting with Taylor in the quarter-finals. However, van Barneveld has shown he has what it takes to defeat Taylor in big competitions and is 4/1, also with Bet365, to win the third quarter.

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