There’s a saying in life that ‘nice guys finish last’, which you can take as you like but Peter Wright at least did his best to dispel the myth at the darts UK Open at the weekend.
’Snakebite’ claimed the first major title of his career after coming through three days of high octane action unscathed, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the winning dart went in. Certainly not for us anyway, although those were tears of joy after tipping him to win at 14/1 in this very column last week.
So cheer for Wright then, but not so much for world number one and reigning world champion Michael van Gerwen. His back injury, which forced him out of last week’s Premier League fixture, also derailed his UK open defence, and according to friends he was left in tears after being told he wasn’t fit to travel from the Netherlands.
MVG is expected to return this week in Glasgow, and that could well be bad news for his opponent Kim Huybrechts. The Belgian desperately needs a win to boost his chances of avoiding demotion, and an angry Van Gerwen will be itching to make up for lost time.
There’s some intriguing match-ups to look forward to in Scotland on Thursday, so lets take a look at this week’s Premier League darts betting tips:
Adrian Lewis vs Phil Taylor
These two Stokies have played each other countless times in the past, although this could be one of their last meetings on a big stage with Taylor set to retire at the end of the year.
Both will want to sign off with a bang, and it’s the Power who catches the eye, even though Lewis has shown signs of good form in recent weeks. But Taylor is unbeaten in the Premier League so far, and he just has that knack of getting the job done.
Taylor to win (20/21) is the value, but Lewis to hit Most 180s (he leads 12-6 on the maximum count) is the banker at 8/13.
James Wade vs Peter Wright
Nobody could begrudge Wright a week-long celebration after landing his first big career title at the ripe old age of 47, and so we can expect some kind of drop-off in the stratospheric heights he has reached in recent times.
James Wade is a stubborn old mule, and the Premier League format suits him as he can pick up draws – and thus points. Two of his five games have ended in such a scoreline, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if this ended 6-6 too.
But of greater value is Over 11.5 Legs at 11/10.
Kim Huybrechts vs Michael van Gerwen
If MVG makes the trip then he wins this match, no question. Huybrechts simply hasn’t found a formula that enables him to beat the best players in the world; hence his middling efforts in majors and his winless run in this competition thus far.
We can’t really speculate on the nature of the Dutchman’s injury, but even if he hobbles to the oche with a stick he will still triumph. Unfortunately, the bookies know it and there is no value to be had.
Jelle Klaasen vs Raymond van Barneveld
RVB put a status on his Facebook page intimating that he was considering retirement after his quarter-final exit to Wright on Sunday, and while the big Dutchman has long been prone to emotional outbursts he did cut a sorry figure in defeat to Snakebite at Butlins.
But he should get a real buzz from this Scottish crowd who have taken Barney to their hearts, and when he’s motivated to perform there are few better than him on the planet.
Klaasen has taken a win and a draw from his last two Premier League starts but is still blowing hot and cold; hence his lowly 87 average last time out.
But is Barney value at 4/5? No, not really. So instead play the Total 180s market at Over 6.5 at 5/6 instead.
Gary Anderson vs Dave Chisnall
It’s been a good week or so for Chizzy; back-to-back wins in his two starts in the Premier League last week (he had to play twice in the absence of MVG), plus a fair run at the UK Open in which he was beaten by the eventual champion. Confidence can be in short supply for the St Helens man, so he must be feeling reasonably good right now.
Anderson, by contrast, will be fuming. For the second year in a row he was knocked out of the UK Open by a qualifier, and his run without a win in the Premier League has extended to three after a draw with Taylor last time out.
The Flying Scotsman will return to his homeland desperate for a win, and with question marks regarding Chisnall’s fortitude under pressure – and the raucous crowd here will have it in for him – so Anderson -2.5 at 11/10 feels like excellent betting value.