Business is just starting to pick up in the Premier League Darts, and with just four matches left for most players you could make a case for the top six in the table to take their place at Finals Night at the O2 in a few weeks time.
So it’s a huge night here in Bournemouth in Week 12; let’s see how that manifests itself in our betting tips:
Michael van Gerwen vs Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen has become something of a draw specialist in this year’s Premier League, with four of his last five matches ending in a stalemate. The Dutchman is now a full four points behind his ‘friendly’ rival Phil Taylor at the top of the table, and he will be determined to close that gap in the first of his two matches tonight.
Peter Wright’s 2-7 defeat to Robert Thornton in Belfast was as poor as it was unexpected; a 92 average is far below what we’ve come to expect from Snakebite. He will improve against MVG – he has to – because in Week 5 he threw an 108 average and still lost 2-7 to the Dutchman!
Wright has lost 15 of his last 17 meetings with Van Gerwen however, and that simply cannot be overlooked. MVG raises his game against the Scotsman – they never used to like each other remember – so let’s support him with a -2.5 leg handicap at 4/7.
Raymond van Barneveld vs Adrian Lewis
Adrian Lewis has beaten Raymond van Barneveld on six of the last seven occasions they’ve met, and with Barney losing his last four matches in Bournemouth – if you believe that’s an omen – then we can get behind Jackpot quite firmly in this one.
Barney’s return of a win (7-4 over Thornton) and a 5-7 loss against Taylor looks impressive enough, and while the result is all that counts those numbers hide a pair of under-par averages at this level: 92 and 96. Lewis bludgeoned in a holy nine-darter and an overall average of 103 – he did well to keep his focus after securing darts’ Holy Grail in the tenth leg of his 7-5 win over James Wade. The Stoke man will be full of confidence heading to the south coast.
Unbeaten in four and with a 7-5 win over Barney just a couple of weeks ago, we have to back Lewis at 5/6 here.
Gary Anderson vs James Wade
It was good to see Gary Anderson back to his best against MVG last week; he averaged 108 and took out 86% of his attempts at doubles. That is world championship winning form.
Wadey continues to do what he does best: average around the 96-102 mark and feed off the mistakes of his opponents. That nearly nicked him a point against Lewis last week, but it may not be enough to take anything from this particular Flying Scotsman on Thursday.
Anderson hasn’t lost to Wade since November 2014, so we’ll be lapping up the evens on an Anderson win with a -2.5 leg handicap – we can’t see Wade recording as close a loss as 5-7 here.
Phil Taylor vs Robert Thornton
What a match-up of contrasts this is. Phil Taylor recorded another 100 average – as he has done for weeks on end now – in his 7-5 win over Barney, and with MVG playing twice in Bournemouth The Power will know that he could do with two points here to remain clear at the summit of the table.
Jekyll & Hyde sums up the Thorn in Belfast: he smashed in a 105 average in that 7-2 win over Wright, before a horrible performance against Barney in the final fixture of the evening saw his average drop some 17 points. Will the real Robert Thornton please stand up.
The key statistic here is legs won against the throw: The Thorn has bagged just ten, while Taylor is up to 27 now. That is informative of how this match could pan, so as a hopefully profit-making exercise let’s back a trio of correct scores – Taylor to win 7-3, 7-4 or 7-5 – at 9/2, 7/2 and 7/1 respectively.
Michael van Gerwen vs Adrian Lewis
There has been a palpable lowering of quality when the players have had to return for their second match of the night – the statistics and averages very much back this trend up – and quite simply MVG is a more motivated player than Lewis (with more on the line, perhaps). Indeed, you get the feeling the Dutchman would be happy to beat his own Nan 7-0 for personal pride if nothing else.
That said, the last match of the evening has proven to be the most difficult to predict post Judgement Night, so let’s meter out a value punt and hope for the best: MVG to hit more 180s than Lewis at 10/11.
- MVG -2.5 legs (against Wright), MVG most maximums (against Lewis) and Lewis to beat Barney at 4.5/1
- Anderson -2.5 legs against Wade at Evens
- Taylor to beat Thornton 7-3, 7-4 or 7-5 at 9/2, 7/2 and 7/1