We are creeping ever closer to Finals Night in the Premier League Darts, and while Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen have booked their places at the O2 Arena on May 19 there is still plenty up for grabs for the other players; whether that’s a top four finish for themselves, or to restore pride after a tawdry campaign.
As a consequence, we head to Manchester this week without any pesky dead rubbers to ruin our betslips, so let’s get stuck into an acca with confidence.
James Wade v Peter Wright
Peter Wight got back to winning ways in Birmingham with an impressive 7-4 victory over Phil Taylor (nobody saw that coming) that was built on a checkout success rate of 88%. If he could accomplish that every week then he’d win everything in the game, so the Scot will need to be wary of a dropping off in intensity this week.
Two into three doesn’t go, and that’s the equation as Wright, Adrian Lewis and James Wade battle it out for the fourth and final place at the O2 Arena for the play-off matches. Both The Machine and Snakebite can catch Lewis in fourth with victory here, so this is the epitome of an all-or-nothing clash.
The difference between the two could be their current form; there is little to choose between them in terms of tournament averages of checkout success stats. Wright beat Taylor and drew with Anderson last time out at a combined average of 101, while Wade – without a win in three – was crushed 1-7 by Van Gerwen despite assembling a 102 average. That high figure was no doubt aided by the leftie throwing just two darts at a double, while Wright was successful on the night with 13/20.
This is a tough one to call, so let’s play it safe and go with Over 10.5 Legs in the match; this selection has been successful in 17 of 24 of the pair’s combined outings in the Premier League this term.
Gary Anderson v Robert Thornton
We don’t quite know where we’re at with Robert Thornton: the Scot peaked in Belfast three weeks ago with a stunning 7-2 win over Wright, but since then he has tasted a brace of 2-7 defeats of his own at the hands of Taylor and Lewis.
We can be more assured by Anderson’s recent performances: win, lose or draw, he’s only averaged below 100 once in his last six matches. Something of a draw specialist (four in six), Anderson needs just a point to qualify for the O2. Is another stalemate on the cards?
That seems unlikely given Thornton’s propensity for the mediocre in the last few weeks, but even so he should be able to get a few legs on the board, shouldn’t he? This is a particularly unedifying match from a betting perspective, so again let’s bet sensibly and back the Over 9.5 Legs in the match market at 2/5.
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
Happily, the bookmakers have yet to catch on to the fact that Raymond van Barneveld always seems to play well against Michael van Gerwen, and many will be tempted by the 7/1 on offer for Barney given that MVG has already secured his spot in the semi-finals.
But we’re more sensible than that, and note that Van Gerwen simply hates losing on any day, any time – especially to a fellow Dutchman.
The pair are won three, drawn one and lost three each in their last seven Premier League meetings, with an aggregate leg score of 44-44, so the odds here simply don’t stack up.
Barney has nothing to play for and thus nothing to lose. We are more than happy to back him with a +3.5 Leg handicap as part of our accumulator.
Phil Taylor v Adrian Lewis
With a much better legs difference than Wright and Wade, the equation for Lewis is a simple one here: take at least a point and you will book your place in the last four. Unfortunately, he’s up against a motivated Phil Taylor, who has spoken at length about his desire to finish top of the league table ahead of Van Gerwen.
Jackpot had a minor hex over Taylor for a while recently – he won four on the bounce against The Power, but that was brought crashing to a halt in a UK Open Qualifier in February, and since then the leg aggregate score from their two subsequent matches reads 13-3 to Taylor. The 16-time world champion is throwing as well as he’s ever done, and that’s bad news for everyone else.
Taylor is averaging 2.79 maximums per match and Lewis 2.64; which makes the bookies’ Over/Under mark of 7.5 a little confusing. Still, not to worry, we’ll happily add the Unders to our acca.
- Wright v Wade – Over 10.5 Legs (4/9)
- Anderson v Thornton – Over 9.5 Legs (2/5)
- Van Gerwen v Van Barneveld – Barney +3.5 Handicap (4/5)
- Taylor v Lewis – Under 6.5 Maximums (8/11)
- £5 returns £26.40