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Friday’s World Darts Championship tips: Legend to make winning return, Hollywood to produce thriller

Raymond van Barneveld will be looking to wind back the clock when he kicks off his 17th PDC World Darts Championship campaign.

The Dutchman is a darting legend, though it’s fair to say that his best years are behind him.

Since returning from his 2020 retirement, the 56-year-old reached just one major semi-final which came at the 2022 Grand Slam.

This year has been one of his worst in terms of results, failing to progress past the first round in his last four major tournaments.

Barneveld’s opponent on Friday is Poland’s Radek Szaganski who hasn’t pulled up many trees either.

The 44-year-old did claim the 27th Players Championship event of the season last October and reached the quarter-final of the 29th event last November.

Szaganski kicked off his world championship campaign with a 3-2 victory over Marko Kantele in what proved a very low-quality contest.

Szaganski didn’t hit a single 180 and averaged a mere 82 as he squeaked over the line.

Considering Barneveld’s experience on the Ally Pally stage and his opponent’s poor start, it’s no surprise to see the Dutchman as the 4/9 favourite.

That price is somewhat underwhelming, though there are other markets to choose from. For instance, Barneveld to hit over 4.5 maximums at 13/10 is a far more enticing proposition.

The last match on Friday night sees Chris Dobey take on William O’Connor in what could be a close affair.

Hollywood won his first major title earlier this year, claiming the Masters with an 11-7 victory over Rob Cross. Dobey also has four major quarter-finals under his belt this year.

Nonetheless, O’Connor will prove a tough opponent. The Irishman averaged 98 in his first-round match against Bhav Patel – a contest he comfortably won 3-0.

With a tight contest in prospect, we’re backing Dobey to win 3-2 in a five-set classic.

Lastly, we also like the look of Jermaine Wattimena in his match against Martin Schindler. The Dutchman knocked out Fallon Sherrock in the first round and has been in decent form all year.

Schindler, on the other hand, has won just one match from his last four tournaments on the PDC Tour. The German is ranked higher in the world rankings, but his form coming into Ally Pally is somewhat concerning.

With that in mind, we’ll take our chances with Wattimena who is well-priced at 6/4.

Suggested bets

Raymond van Barneveld to hit over 4.5 maximums – 13/10
Chris Dobey to beat William O’Connor 3-2 – 7/2
Jermaine Wattimena to beat Martin Schindler – 6/4

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