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Wade into Wade at the Grand Slam of Darts

Phil Taylor is the inevitable favourite for the 2010 Grand Slam of Darts but for once there is a legitimate reason to oppose him in the betting this week.

There is a saying in darts that goes along the lines of ‘beware of the wounded Taylor’ and we should definitely bare that in mind this week. However, having failed to win his last four tournaments – he had previously won seven of his last nine – there is a genuine and justifiable argument to say there is mileage in opposing The Power this week.

So, who can take advantage of Taylor’s apparent dip in form? The answer is both simple and complex. We needn’t delve too far or uproot any trees to find Taylor’s main challengers. In fact, numbers two, three and four in the world are the only players who can harbour realistic ambitions of winning this year’s Grand Slam of Darts.

Unfortunately we have to almost immediately discard the credentials of Raymond van Barneveld as a betting proposition. Barney has endured a turbulent season which began with the diagnosis of diabetes and took a downward spiral as blackmail and death threats to his family became more and more serious. With his tormentor now convicted Barney can begin to put the whole episode behind him but, although I hope I am wrong, it is difficult to expect him to be in the right mindset to go all the way and win this tournament.

That leaves Simon Whitlock and James Wade. Whitlock burst onto the PDC scene with a hugely impressive run to the final of the PDC World Championships at the beginning of this year, however, he has so far failed to build on that. He will have been hugely disappointed to make a second round exit in the recent World Grand Prix where the double-to-start format should have suited him and although we can expect a good run from the Aussie at odds of 10/1 he doesn’t represent the value bet.

Instead it is the current world number two who should be carrying your money for the Grand Slam of Darts. Having beat Adrian Lewis in the final of the World Grand Prix in Dublin last month Wade then went on to play some of the best darts seen this year to take the Championship of Darts the following week, beating Taylor in the final. He is the form player on the PDC circuit and at odds of 10/1 an each-way bet on The Machine is the value punt in the outright winners market.

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