Sunday PDC World Championship Tips – James Punt

by | Jan 2, 2022

Sunday PDC World Championship Tips

James Punt was at it again on quarter finals night, landing a trio of winners, including an evening session double. Now just four men remain and what a semi-final line up it is. As ever, James Punt has previewed both matches. Check out his Sunday PDC World Championship tips below.

Michael Smith vs. James Wade

James Wade is not known as a heavy scorer, but reaching the semi-final of the World Championship with a tournament average of 87.7? That’s ridiculous. Getting a bye helped in the third round but more so that his opponents have averaged 88 between them, and none managed a 90 plus average. Wade has only dropped one set which shows the paucity of his opponents rather than his lethality.

After drawing a blank on the 180 front in his first two matches, he finally hit four when beating a very poor Merv King 5-0 yesterday. That makes his 180s per leg in the tournament just 5.8%. Wade has played in three World Championship semi-finals and lost all three.

Smith On Song

Michael Smith, on the other hand, has had to play well to get this far. He beat Jonny Clayton and Gerwyn Price in the last two rounds. Both matches went to a deciding leg and to beat the two best players in the world back-to-back takes some doing. Smith’s tournament average is 101.3 with a 53% checkout rate and 42.7% on the 180s per leg. Smith has played one World Championship semi-final and won. However, in terms of all ranked majors, he has played seven and lost five. Including in the recent Grand Slam of Darts.

Here we have one player with lousy tournament form against one with excellent tournament form. Looking at their H2H form, the picture is very different. Wade is 17-4 up and has won ten of their last twelve matches.

So far, Smith has played well above his seasonal averages, Wade, well below. If that continues, then this should be an easy win for Smith. The question is, can Wade find his A game when required? He is the one with a trophy cabinet stuffed with majors, Smith still looking for his first.

Michael Smith is the 1.36 favourite and James Wade 3.40. Fair enough based on tournament form, but not on historic H2H form.

Tension To Rise

Both will be getting tighter the closer they get to the final. Wade is seen as the best player never to have won the World Championship and Smith the best never to have won a major. Both have scar tissue and who deals best with trying to stay in the moment and not get ahead of themselves or being bound by past failures is going to win.

What is striking with Smith’s performances so far is his finishing. He has not crumbled under pressure. It is only five matches ago since his last double meltdown, when losing 6-5 to Daryl Gurney at the Players Championship finals. Smith missed something like eleven match darts. If you want to lump on Smith, that should be remembered. Just as Wade will need to find his A game, Smith must keep up his form on the doubles.

Form Suggests Easy Smith Win

From what we have seen so far, this should be an easy win for Smith, which is reflected in the odds. Looking at Wades previous world championship semi-finals, he lost all three, but they were close affairs, with scores of 4-6, 5-6 and 4-6. Smith won his only semi-final here 6-3, averaging 105 against Nathan Aspinall.

What makes this match tricky is the unpredictability of James Wade’s game. In his last ten matches, he has hit three ton plus averages, including a 111.7, but also three sub 90’s, including two in this tournament. Smith looks in top form and so long as he can keep on hitting the outer ring, he will be hard to beat, but there is a chance Wade does find his A game. It is not like we have not seen it for a long time.

I will take the risk that Wade will not find his best form, but I do expect an improvement. He has only done what was required so far. He has faced very weak opposition so far and often when playing someone who is struggling, as King was yesterday, the winner’s form gets dragged down. It is not like me to back Smith in a match with the word final in it, but Wade has been the luckier of the two in this event and he can’t just keep on getting opponents who don’t turn up.

In the last ten years, 35% of the matches have been won by a 6-3 score line and in the last seven years it is 50%.

Sunday PDC World Championship Tips: 1 point Michael Smith to win 6-3 @ 6.00 with Skybet, Fitzdares

Gary Anderson vs. Peter Wright

This is not the first time that these two have played out a World Championship semi-final. They met in the 2017 World Championship semi-final and Anderson won that 6-3. Their overall H2H form is 29-19 to Anderson, he was 2-1 in 2021 but over their last ten matches it is 6-3 to Wright with a premier league draw. It hard to get any strong guide form that H2H form.

Gary Anderson’s tournament form is decent without being great. He is averaging 94.4, checking out at 40% and hitting 180s per leg at 20%. I was surprised his doubling is as high as 40% as he has looked to be struggling on the outer ring, but 40% is decent enough.

Peter Wright started slowly but after settling on a set of darts he can use, he has played some great stuff. He is averaging 98.2, a shade above his 12 month average. His checkout rate is 41.5% and his 180s per leg rate is 28%.

Best Yet To Come From Anderson?

Anderson says that we have not seen his best yet and he is right, he is just a little off his 12 month form, but not by much, Wright is a little better, but not by much. Anderson has made hard work of things so far, having to come back from behind twice, but he never does things the easy way. Wright had to come back from 0-2 against Heta and he was 1-3 down against Rydz last night before winning four of the last five sets to win. His experience made the difference as Rydz lost it when on the verge of winning and Wright just piled on the pressure.

In terms of World Championship semi-finals, Anderson has played four and won three, Wright played three and won two. Neither player has been involved in a particularly close semi-final and again, the 6-3 score line looms large through their semis.

Wright Has Been More Impressive

Peter has been the more impressive player so far and like Anderson, he has enjoyed success on this stage, not as much, but he has been there and done it. Neither player is going to be overawed by the occasion and neither will be worried about rankings and so on.

Peter Wright is the 1.53 favourite, Anderson 2.63. Wright deserves to be favourite but looks a bit short at 1.53. Anderson’s odds look about right.

The crowd will have no favourite here so hopefully they will be allowed to get on with it without the nonsense we got from the moronic band of ‘fans’ there last night. I suspect Wright will win and win reasonably comfortably.

Sunday PDC World Championship tips: 1 point Peter Wright to win -1.5 sets @ 1.85 with Fitzdares
Sunday PDC World Championship tips: 1 point Peter Wright to win 6-3 @ 7.00 with Fitzdares

-JamesPunt

 

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