The PDC Tour’s group stage rolls on and we’re up to Groups 27 and 28 this week. There’s plenty to look forward to so we’ve taken a look at the upcoming oche action.

Waites won’t be Beaton

World number 26 Steve Beaton heads Wednesday’s Group 27 of four players that is made up of Ross Smith, Ron Meulenkamp and Scott Waites.

The 56-year-old is still throwing well and though he may not be as consistent at the top level as he once was, “The Bronzed Adonis” has the quality to see off these three on his day. The concern is that Beaton may well be stuck in a dip in form and there are fears that could hang around for a little longer yet. He brushed aside youngster Callan Rydz previously in this tournament, but that was to be expected, and was disappointing in defeat against Matthew Edgar and Carl Wilkinson, going down 5-1 and 5-2 respectively.

Meulenkamp was unlucky not to win his group last time out, missing out on top spot on leg difference, and the Dutch left-hander will be raring to follow up. He’s a very consistent player who’s been in and amongst the world’s top 50 for some time and he looks to have solid claims of coming out on top.

Waites has been off the oche since his matches on April 19, where Dave Chisnall took top spot. Yorkshireman Waites threw well to see off both Jan Dekker and Jonathan Worsley, and a repeat of those performances will see him go close again.

If Beaton fails to bounce back into form, then Waites will be the one picking up the pieces.

Michael “Bully” Smith should have too much

A top five PDC Order of Merit player, The ‘Bully Boy’ is the star attraction on Thursday in Group 28.  He was expected to sail through his group previously, but he was just shaded on leg difference after a final match surprise defeat to Martijn Kleermaker. If Smith is on his A-game here then he has a solid favourite’s chance of grabbing top spot, but it is a tough group to contend with.

Luke Humphries and promising Dutchman Mike van Duivenbode will certainly be tricky tests. Van Duivenbode took the scalp of world number 14 Simon Whitlock in the previous round and looks the main danger to Smith’s progression.

The fourth spot is filled by Andy Boulton, who certainly isn’t there to make up the numbers. Boulton showed why they call him ‘X-Factor’ when dismissing top ten player James Wade a fortnight ago, though there has to be major question marks over the form of Wade at the moment, so that whitewash result should be taken with a pinch of salt.

On balance, Smith looks to have a very solid chance of topping the table.

Check out all the latest PDC Tour betting odds at William Hill