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World Darts Championship: Day eight preview

Top-ten stars Luke Humphries and James Wade, as well as two-time champion Gary Anderson, make their entrances at Alexandra Palace on a day of second-round action at the World Darts Championship on Thursday.

Eight seeds are in action across eight matches and all eight will be acutely aware that any slips will be punished by players who have battled through round one over the past week to get to this stage.

What: World Darts Championship
When: 15th December 2022 - 3rd January 2023
Where: Alexandra Palace, London
How to watch: Sky Sports
Odds: Michael van Gerwen 5/2, Michael Smith 5/1, Gerwyn Price 6/1, Peter Wright 9/1, Luke Humphries 14/1, Josh Rock 14/1

Can Luke keep his cool against Hempel?

Few darts players have had better years than 'Cool Hand' Luke Humphries, who has soared into the world's top 10 and is fancied by many to at least improve on three quarter-final runs at Ally Pally, and maybe even go all the way.

To do that he needs to win his opener, potentially a tussle fraught with danger against Florian Hempel, who impressed 12 months ago, and still looks a threat.

Last year, on debut, Hempel took out Martin Schindler and Dimitri Van den Bergh and on his return to North London crashed in seven 180s in a hard-fought 3-2 win over Keegan Brown.

He'll have to improve on his 88 average if he is to ruffle the feathers of 1/5 shot Humphries and land odds of 7/2.

Clearly he's capable, but Humphries is flying having piled up six wins in 2022 and warmed up for this with runs to the semis of both the Grand Slam and Players Championship Finals.

Flying Scotsman looks for express success

Few of the big names come into the competition shrouded in more mystery than Gary Anderson, the two-time champion who proved you can still never write him off by reaching the semis last year.

Anderson has swerved lots of tournaments, failed to qualify for the Grand Slam, suffered first-round exits at the Matchplay and Grand Prix and endured a disappointing Premier League. He hasn't won a singles title in over four years.

Yet Anderson still goes off 1/3 against Latvian Madars Razma, a repeat of a second-round match two years ago which the Scot won 3-1.

'Razzmatazz', as the Latvian is known, had a decent start to the year winning on the Nordic Tour and also reaching a Players Championship final. And he's certainly steady enough to give Anderson a problem or two and maybe worth considering on the handicap +1.5 at 1/1.

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Dutch treble on day eight

Anderson is one of two Scots appearing on day eight - Cameron Menzies is the other - with three Dutchmen also on the card.

Menzies plays one of that trio, the No.28 seed, Vincent van der Voort and this could be as close a call as the odds - 4/5 Van der Voort, 1/1 Menzies - imply.

Van der Voort has never been hugely consistent, though Menzies will have to improve on his first-round 3-1 win over Diogo Portela in which, despite a doubling masterclass, he only produced an 85.9 average.

Van der Voort's compatriot Danny Jansen will also have to up his game if he is to ruffle the feathers of rock-steady Pole Krzyzstof Ratajski.

Jansen almost let a 2-0 lead slip against Paulo Nebrida on Monday, missing a staggering 37 doubles, and any sort of a repeat of that messy effort makes him unattractive, even at 4/1.

The third Dutchman on show is the pick of the trio, Dirk van Duijvenbode, a well-fancied major finalist, who is 1/5 to topple Karel Sedlacek, who impressed with a 98.7 average in seeing off Raymond Smith in his opener.

Will you Wade into the Machine?

James Wade, a four-time world semi-finalist and five-time quarter-finalist, won't be taking Jim Williams lightly as he looks to finally land the title he has craved for so long.

It's been a tough year for Wade on and off the oche, and he confesses he doesn't feel that well prepared for this year's competition.

He's 2/5 to beat Williams, who will be feeling confident after coming from 2-0 down to beat Sebastian Bialecki 3-2 with a 91 average on Tuesday evening.

And in Wade's last TV appearance, at last month's Players Championship Finals, he chucked in an 89 average in beating Mensur Suljovic and a 90 average in losing to Danny Noppert.

This is a player, however, who has also won on tour in 2022, won a Premier League heat and qualified for the semis of that event. If he's fired up he remains incredibly hard to dislodge.

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