Column #HR169 PDC World Cup Predictions!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Column HR169
PDC World Cup Predictions!

In 1711, the English poet Alexander Pope wrote, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”  Lyricist Johnny Mercer stole the words for his 1940 hit, Fools Rush In, as recorded by The Glenn Miller Band (Ray Eberle on vocals) and  the  Tommy Dorsey Band with Frank Sinatra doing the singing.

The Old Dart Coach fits the description – so he’s handicapping the Betway 2016 PDC World Cup. The event returns for the third year to the Eissporthalle June 2-5 in Frankfurt. Germany not Kentucky.

Lost on a dirt road in rural Kentucky on the way to Cincinnati, a group of darters including the ODC and the late Bill Nichol pulled into a small country store. After getting directions, Nichol asked the clerk (obviously from the “holler”)…

“Say, how do you pronounce the capital of Kentucky? Is it LOUISville or LOUIEville?”

“Well now, I believe it’s LOUIEville.”

“Wrong. It’s Frankfurt.”

These predictions are for amusement only and should not be used for gaming purposes unless you can get some sucker to bet. Each of the 32 teams will be made up of two players desiring a chunk of the £250,000 up for grabs. The winners split £50,000 which is £25,000 each (for you that have an American education).

The PDC World Cup was created for TV with an ever-changing format – evolving for that very reason with a nod towards wagering. Hence, the Betway World Cup. The ODC went to the website to check odds. Being old and feeble, he couldn’t understand it. After some tutoring he found out that for the  England-Spain first round match if you wanted England you bet 10 to win 1. He suggested that as it’s a race to 5 it might be better to make it like the NFL. Therefore he made England the Favorite -3. Make too much sense.

This time, the first round is best of 9 doubles with the second round, quarter and semi-finals being two sets of  best of 7 singles – and if the score is tied a best of 7 doubles. One point for each match. The final? Three points needed to win the title. Two best of seven legs singles matches, followed by a best of seven doubles match. If necessary, one or two best of seven legs singles reverse order.

Of the 64 players eighteen will be making their first World Cup appearance which will increase the choke factor.  For openers, that eliminates thirteen teams for getting to the round 16. There are 8 seeded teams with the remaining twenty-four teams drawn at “random.” Old Random did a good job setting up a #3 Netherlands (The Van’s – Gerwen and Barneveld) against #1 England (Taylor and Lewis) final, unless someone tosses a spanner in the works. Scotland is the #2 seed but got that placing before Jo “Mamma” Wright let her fingers do the talking – forcing her husband to become ‘unavailable.” Gary Anderson-Robert Thornton for Scotland ain’t Anderson-Wright.

Only twice have the top two seeds met in the finals.

Here’s the ODC’s (aka Fearless Forecast) first round picks

England (#1) -4 v Spain

Czech Republic -4 v China

Austria (#8) -3 v Italy

South Africa -2 v Singapore

Wales (#5) -3 v Finland

Canada -3 v Greece

Northern Ireland (#4) -4 v Japan

Hong Kong -2 v. Republic of Ireland

Scotland (#2) -2 v New Zealand

Gibraltar -1 v. Norway

Belgium (#7) -3 v Poland

Hungary -3 v Thailand

Australia (#6) -2 v Germany

Sweden -1 v Denmark

Netherlands (#3) -4 v Russia

USA -1 v Philippines

In the five previous World Cups either England (2012, 2013 and 2015) or Netherlands (2010 and 2014) has won but (there’s always a “but”) only once (2014) has either team finished second. The only unseeded team to finish second was the Brother Huybrechts from Belgium. They’re back this year, getting a #7 seed. They’ll need an upset of Scotland in the quarters to reach the semis. Not a Mission Impossible.

Both North American teams should advance past the first round. The veteran U.S. Team of Darrin Young and Larry Butler get a pair of newcomers from the Philippines. They should prevail if they don’t become somnolent as sometimes happens. A win sets up a second round match with favorites Netherlands who should tell Russia “NEYT” in round one.

Canadian’s John Part and Ken MacNeil should slide through Greece with ease. That would set up a meeting with a #5 Welsh team – the country not the grape juice – comprised of  Mark Webster and Gerwyn Price. Price is a former Rugby Union Premier League Player which means nothing but is interesting. Here’s the first “upset alert.” Should John Part go retro and play like the champ he is and MacNeil play like MacNeil they could win. If you’re in a place where betting is legal take Canada to make it close.

The Singapore team of “we’re not brothers” Paul and Harith Lim got no break as they face a veteran South Africa duo with Devon Peterson and Graham Filby. Take South Africa to win, then upset #6 seed Austria (Mensur Suljović and Rowby-John Rodriguez) before losing in the quarters to England.

The Hong Kong duo of  soft point players (Royden Lam and Scott MacKenzie) raised a little cane last year at the World Cup when they defeated Wales to reach the quarter-finals, losing to Scotland. This year they didn’t draw well, getting #8 Northern Ireland after they get past Ireland in the first round.

Taking Belgium to upset Scotland in the quarters but losing to Netherlands, the betting favorites, in the semi-finals. In 2010, Spain pulled a major upset when they beat England to reach the semi-finals, where they lost to Wales 4-0. This time around the same two Spaniards (Carlos Rodríguez and Antonio Alcinas) are back but they get England in round one. Cinderella only got one shot at making the shoe fit.  Adios.

The quarter finals sets up as England vs. Wales and Netherlands vs. Belgium.

Taking Wales (Webster-Price) for the upset by splitting the singles, then taking the doubles to advance. England’s Achilles heel(s) – no pun intended – are in the fact that Taylor is not perceived to be unbeatable now, plus he and Lewis don’t play well as a team. Big win for Wales.

The Van’s (Gerwen and Barneveld) are a good bet to win their third World Cup for Netherlands. With the best players on the planet – “Marvelous” Marvin leading the way – the Netherland should dispose of Belgium even with a “no-longer dominate” Barney.

The final, against Wales, will be over quickly as  the “Marvelous One” and Barney lay a synder (3-0) on Wales for the title.

There are those Doubting Thomas’s out there that think that the ODC doesn’t know Jack Schitt. Okay, he had Carolina in the Super Bowl but anyone can bet stupid…

The ODC does know Jack Schitt.

The fact of the matter is, not only does he know Jack but also his father, Awe, his wife, Noe, and their children Holie, Giva, Fulla and Bull.

So there.

Stay thirsty my friends.

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Howie Reed
The one and only Howie Reed (the Old Dart Coach) goes back decades with the legends of our sport - he knows where the skeletons are buried. Just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers! His widely popular column, Toeing the Oche, is a must-read.