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Craig Porter 1st Jul 2009 - 16:58

Leaving Las Vegas short prices alone

Las Vegas Desert Classic VIII begins this evening at the Mandalay Bay and you don't need to hit the jackpot on the slots for a big value win.

Betting on darts throws up the same problem as tennis, as I have found during my recent Wimbledon betting spree. One player is considered better than the other and expected to win so the odds are prohibitively short for my humble stakes.

The short format of the opening round of this tournament (first to six legs) and the fact it all starts at around 11am local time means that you could be halfway to defeat before you've woken up and let your corn flakes go down.

There's also more to darts betting than just the match itself with six markets available to bet on with William Hill including Correct Score and betting on 180s.

Looking down the opening night's fixtures and there are instantly a few games that could go against the odds.

Peter Wright has been backed in from 7/4 to 6/5 to beat former World Number 1 Colin Lloyd, and rightly so. He has recently broken into the Top 100 and has performed well in the short qualifying games this week beating Andy Smith and Jan van der Rassel, amongst others, for his place here. Lloyd is not impressing in the slightest, was flattered by the UK Open defeat of John Part and would have more luck on the roulette tables than the oche tonight.

Simon Whitlock's 10/11 to beat Terry Jenkins has now been cut to 5/6 which, although short, could boost returns in a multiple. Whitlock moved back to the PDC at the start of the year but has been playing in the Darts Players Australia circuit where he is unbeaten in eight tournaments. This is the kind of confidence needed when up against the easily rattled Jenkins in a first-to-six match.

Add him to your accumulator involving the 1/2 about Alan Tabern and bankers 1/9 Taylor and 1/4 Part and it turns and Even money shot into 28/10.

Wayne Mardle could perhaps be referred to as Mr Las Vegas: all flashing lights and no substance. He would love to come back from both his recent illness and, possibly related, poor performances in the Premier League and UK Open by making the second round in Vegas. A price of 9/4 to beat Gary Anderson suggests he won't. It's unlikely he'd be here if he'd had to qualify but there's definitely still the old talent there somewhere and the perfect place for him to achieve it.

"Hawaii 501" loves to lift the crowd with his 180s, even when losing, and is a tasty 3/1 to score the most in this game.

Not a big price exactly but too big nevertheless is Ronnie Baxter's 8/13 to beat Jelle Klaasen. Beating Phil Taylor 6-2, as he did yesterday in the Las Vegas Players Championship final, can have one of two effects on a player's next game: it can be a distraction as you're still thinking about that win or it can give you the confidence boost to beat your next opponent by an even bigger margin.

Baxter to win 6-1 is 12/1 or, dare I say it, even 6-0 at 20/1 are not out of the realms of probability especially with the Dutchman's tendency to flake as we saw in the Premier League.

Going back to the first game of the evening, the 4/11 about Dennis Priestley beating Colin Monk flatters the Yorkshireman. He should win, but it's certainly not a given. The early morning start will probably suit the man who will turn 59 later this month but he never seems to make it easy for himself. There's 5/1 that Monk takes four legs off him and 7/1 that it Priestley wins 6-5.

Bet with William Hill throughout the Desert Classic on our range of darts betting markets. The betting action continues right through to the winning double as we offer In-Play betting on every one of the matches shown live on Sky Sports.

Las Vegas Desert Classic betting odds

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