Mensur Suljovic v Michael Smith

Darts - European Darts Matchplay - 15 May 12:00

There will come a time where Suljovic will be properly respected for his clear talent and bottle under pressure by spectators and bookmakers alike, particularly in contrast to Smith. Until that happens though, I am happy backing Suljovic here.

This is a repeat of their meeting, at the exact same stage, in the exact same format, from last week, which Suljovic won 6-3. He also won in their other meeting in a European Tour event this year. The overall head to head is 5-4 in favor of Suljovic. This only tells part of the story though. Suljovic, in European Tour events, has won 4 of their 5 meetings, and three of their four in these events in the past year.

The key, to my mind, in Suljovic's successes on the European Tour is his popularity with the European crowd. The Austrian is well liked by crowds, and, with his penchant for big finishes, and his extravagant playing style. He seems to take on this support and raise his level of performance for these kind of events. He enjoys the big crowds, and he does play to them.

His success though against specifically Smith can be put also towards his ability to slow Smith down. Smith does struggle when there is little to no pace available for him to feed off. He is an instinctive thrower and, once slowed down, he struggles to get into a rhythm. Suljovic is one of the best at taking his time, and this will hinder Smith significantly. Alongside this, Suljovic is a far better finisher than Smith. This has been and will continue to be an area where Smith will struggle in comparison to Suljovic, and it is where I feel Suljovic holds the key to this match.

In addition, Smith does not come into this match in the best of form. The Premier League did take a lot out of Smith, and he did struggle quite significantly with the format, and the traveling seemingly. Since being knocked out of the Premier League, after a run to a Quarter Final, in the next 5 events, his best result was the last 16 place last week. His win loss record stands at 4 wins from his last 9 matches, with defeats to Nigel Heydon, Kevin Painter, Josh Payne, Wayne Jones, and Suljovic himself. These first four players are not at the same level as Suljovic and, if his 91.58 average today is anything to go by, I would be very surprised to see him producing his best here.

Suljovic was impressive in my eyes yesterday. He averaged over 97, won 6-0, and was superb on his doubles, only missing a couple. If he reproduces that effort, he will win. How he is odds against here, in what at worst is a 50/50 match for him and, in my mind, a match he should be favorite for, I am not sure, but I am very happy backing him at these odds.
Toby +73.60
Stake: 20 2.10William Hill
Best Odds

Posted 2 years ago

2.10
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Betting Masta

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