THE 2018 Unibet European Championship is the eleventh staging of the Professional Darts Corporation's European Championship tournament, which will see the top players from the thirteen European tour events compete against each other.

The tournament will take place from 25–28 October 2018 at the Westfalenhallen in Dortmund, Germany and is LIVE throughout on ITV4 across four days over six sessions

Michael van Gerwen is the four-time defending champion, after defeating Rob Cross 11–7 in the 2017 final and leads the betting at 10/11 with Skybet to retain his crown.

The schedule of play may catch out some viewers, with the culmination of round one on Friday afternoon and no Saturday afternoon session.

Thursday October 25 (2000 local time, 1900 UK time)

First Round x8

  • Steve West v Mervyn King
  • Ian White v Richard North
  • Simon Whitlock v Steve Beaton
  • Michael Smith v Steve Lennon
  • Joe Cullen v Jelle Klaasen
  • Michael van Gerwen v Paul Nicholson
  • Rob Cross v Danny Noppert
  • Peter Wright v Jermaine Wattimena

Friday October 26

Afternoon Session (1345 local time, 1245 UK time)

First Round x8

  • Jonny Clayton v James Wilson
  • Darren Webster v Stephen Bunting
  • Gerwyn Price v Kyle Anderson
  • Mensur Suljovic v Cristo Reyes
  • Daryl Gurney v Ricky Evans
  • Max Hopp v William O'Connor
  • James Wade v Martin Schindler
  • Adrian Lewis v Dave Chisnall

Evening Session (2000 local time, 1900 UK time)

Second Round x4

  • Cullen/Klaasen v Smith/Lennon
  • Whitlock/Beaton v Wright/Wattimena
  • White/North v Cross/Noppert
  • Van Gerwen/Nicholson v West/King

Saturday October 27 (2000 local time, 1900 UK time)

Second Round x4

  • Price/Anderson v Lewis/Chisnall
  • Suljovic/Reyes v Webster/Bunting
  • Wade/Schindler v Gurney/Evans
  • Hopp/O'Connor v Clayton/Wilson

Sunday October 28

Afternoon Session (1345 local time, 1245 UK time)

  • Quarter-Finals

Evening Session (2000 local time, 1900 UK time)

  • Semi-Finals
  • Final

Format (legs)

  • Last 32 – best of 11
  • Last 16 – best of 19
  • Quarter Final – best of 19
  • Semi Final – best of 21
  • Final – best of 21

Looking at the outright, Mighty Mike dominates the book at over 50% weighted on his shoulders to retain his crown. Mensur Suljovic is next in the betting at 8/1, with Peter Wright at 10’s. Cross is 12/1 with Michael Smith at 22/1. The rest range between 25/1 and 500/1.

With the European Championship’s based on ranking solely from cashed events in the thirteen events cumulatively, the seeding is fairly top heavy, with three of the top four outright prices all in the top half. There are cases to support value from both halves of the draw especially if opposing MVG in the top half and this is where the quarter betting comes into play.

Mensur Suljovic has been in terrific form over the last two years in general and made the final of the World Matchplay back in July and a credible semi-final back at the World Grand Prix earlier this month. The Austrian is 8/1 to win the event, and 9/4 to reach the final. To win his quarter is 5/4, which mathematically implies Mensur would head into the semi final at 4/9.

With the likes of former major winners, James Wade, Daryl Gurney and Adrian Lewis all possible opponents you could not discount the other players in that quarter featuring. The 4/9 in the semi final would be short, and taking into consideration having played a game earlier in the day players will be most prepared.

Now, it is unusual to see mathematical scenario’s in previews but having learnt a great deal from the legendary true “Godfather of Betting” Tony Ansell (@progambler47) and my successes and judgement approaches have made me more selective. With Mensur Suljovic, he is a player that fears nobody and is well respected throughout. The Gentle also thrives the longer formats being accustomed to TV events increasingly.

With the first-round best of eleven could be a banana skin, but am confident that if Suljovic can get past Cristo Reyes whose form has not been at its sharpest as of late, taking on the 5/4 with Hills and Skybet to win his quarter is a play. Without disrespect to the other seven players in the quarter, but Suljovic will be able to take the longer format in his own stride.

The nine-dart finish is always a talking point when it comes to TV major events and Kyle Anderson was responsible for hitting one in the 2017. In fact in TV events, the only other one we have seen since was back at the Matchplay when Gary Anderson achieved the feat.

Sponsors Unibet are offering a BIG 5/2 history repeats itself taking on a 7/25 fraction there is no perfect leg. Comparing to Sportingbet's odds compiler goes a modest 3/5 on NO perfect leg and just 6/5 there is. The perfect leg has a tendency to come through every three years with the first in 2011, then 2014 then again in 2017, so perhaps the trend will continue.

Sportingbet are also offering odds on whether a single match will achieve a 110.50 or better 3-dart average offering 51/50 on yes and 7/10 on no. The competition has seen just seven games surpass the 110.50 barrier, four of which by the legendary Phil Taylor, with Raymond van Barneveld achieving once and Michael van Gerwen achieving twice with the most recent in the 2016 final.

With the standard of darts increasing continuously, you have to make the judgement if it is going to happen the most likely scenario is in the opening round with the shorter format of a race to six. With the average increasingly difficult to sustain over a longer format, bar the exception of a few the odds compiler Glenn Woodage has this price spot on to encourage wagers from both sides of the book.

Glenn is also the only layer to at the time of writing offer a 170 market punting 3/10 for yes and 11/5 for no and has been achieved in the last two stagings.

Recommendation

  • Mensur Suljovic – to win quarter 3 – 5/4 William Hill and Skybet 2pts
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