MICHAEL van Gerwen looks to defend his European Title but with worries over his health, after he pulled out of the German Masters six days ago with an ankle injury which has troubled him before previously, there are reasonable grounds for looking elsewhere in the outright markets.
Despite the withdrawal from the World Series less than a week ago, and just before going to press Mighty Mike was no bigger than even money, but has since edged into 10/11 with Skybet and as short as 4/6 with bookmaker Winner.
Michael has stated he is fit to defend his title over the next four days but his injury could not have come at a worse time, as there is little break now until the end of November. With the World Series finals following next weekend, then the nine day Grand Slam event the following week, the heavy schedule will not cease until the weekend of the 25th November.
Looking at the other prices, Rob Cross appears very short at 14/1 with some firms as fourth favourite. Despite his impressive year on the circuit, when we have seen him on the screens in our view has been no world beater, and has struggled to see some legs out under the pressure. Albeit other players like Chisnall, who has had the exposure on the circuit for some time I would consider Chizzy over Cross especially as BIG as 40/1 if I had to choose between the two.
Mensur Suljovic cannot be ignored, although a tricky first round versus Kim Huybrechts will not be a one-way affair, and could have a 6-5 written all over this.
With the opening round a race to six, your outright money could be done in just six legs, so as in tradition, we will swerve the overall winner market although we do like Suljovic to win his quarter at 11/8 with sponsors Unibet.
Looking at the other outright markets chalk up just 2/9 for no 9-dart finish over the weekend, again is incredibly short. Backers can get 3/1 and we are overdue for a perfect leg!
Norris and King face off and the pair have not met in two years, but see the game being predominately held on throw with a single break most likely towards the end. Sportingbet are evens for a 6-4 or 6-5 with way, which is about right. Even money states that Darren Webster and Ian White will slog it out and can be backed with Bwin and quite like the Webster high checkout line set at 90.50, although with a race to six is reflected in the line.
Despite an epic display at the Grand Prix recently I do think Anderson will have too much for John Henderson and am willing to back Anderson in a double with another fixture. Henderson despite his performance in Dublin earlier this month had experienced a quieter than usual set of results on TV and with Kyle Anderson recent upsurge brimming him with some confidence from a very unfortunate loss to Mensur Suljovic at the recent World Series event.
Anderson's fellow Australian Simon Whitlock is perfect double material for Thursday night with sponsors Unibet chalking up a near solid 111/100 on the pair seeing through to the last 16. Whitlock, a former winner back in 2012 and a narrow defeated player from a long final in the World Grand Prix earlier this month. His opponent James Richardson, who infamously knocked out Raymond van Barneveld in the World Championship a few years ago has not cashed in many recent events and had not been seen in a TV major since the last European Championship albeit a brief encounter at this years UK Open.