Darts’ second biggest event of the year draws to a conclusion on Sunday evening as Rob Cross and Michael Smith take each other on in what should be a fascinating World Matchplay final.
Rob Cross to win @ 20/29
Realistically, this final is the flip of a coin as Smith might have been the star player in the tournament so far but Cross comes into the final on the back of a historic comeback win against number three seed Daryl Gurney.
After looking down and out at 14-7 down, Cross mustered enough to win the match 17-15, stunning Gurney, and proving once again why he is one of the best in the world.
That level of spirit and character cannot go understated and, while Smith may be regarded as a flashier player, Cross is the favourite to win because he has been there and done it before – he won the World Championship on his first attempt while Smith is still waiting for his first major success.
Smith has also been relatively lucky in that he has not faced a seeded player yet on his way to the final, while Cross had to face Gurney in the semi finals.
Michael Smith to hit the most 180s @ 10/11
In full flow, Smith is arguably one of the best players in the world to watch and he has displayed some of that ability to devasting effect in Blackpool this week.
He has hit 25 180s so far in the tournament and his speed of throw always makes them look more spectacular.
Cross has actually had four more of them so far this tournament, but Smith will rely on his high scoring power to try and beat Cross and will be as aggressive as ever in trying to build up the maximums.
A nine darter to be thrown @ 26/1
It wouldn’t be a major tournament if there wasn’t a nine darter and the Blackpool faithful will be hoping to see one in the final.
Last year, Gary Anderson wowed the crowd with his perfect exploits against Joe Cullen in the quarters on his way to lifting the trophy but so far no one has matched that this year.
Smith and Cross are both very capable, with both having hit perfect legs on more than one occasion in their careers, and with the final set to be so tight, it could take a moment of brilliance to separate the two.
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