There are just five gameweeks remaining in the Premier League of darts prior to the play-offs on May 18, and so business is really starting to pick up. Of the eight players left in the competition, you could make a case for any of the top six to go all the way, and that leaves plenty of opportunities for punters to thrive in the weeks to come.
After a pulsating evening of tungsten in front of a lively Dublin crowd last week, the action returns to England and the majestic city of Liverpool. Who will be merry on the Mersey on Thursday night?
Gary Anderson vs Dave Chisnall
Chizzy was perhaps the star of the night in Dublin, bagging a draw against Peter Wright – but probably deserving more – while averaging 106. He also notched the highest finish of the evening of 145; the Achilles heel of his game normally.
Chizzy’s chances of qualifying for the final four are all but over, but as we know that often gives a player a bit of licence to relax and play their natural game.
In contrast, Gary Anderson is in desperate need of some points. He is two adrift of the play-off places and plays twice here in Liverpool; which just so happens to be Chizzy’s backyard.
The hometown boy will surely put on a good show for his fans here to add to his brilliance in Dublin. With a +2.5 handicap at 5/6, we have to get involved.
Michael van Gerwen vs Peter Wright
MVG won 16 consecutive matches against Peter Wright between July 2015 and November 2016, but that run came to an end at the UK Open Qualifiers, and Wright continued his improvement in fortunes against the world champion by besting him in the final of the German Darts Championship.
So, the momentum is with Snakebite here, although you sense he will need to improve his recent form. Averaging a shade over 101, the Scotsman has gone off the boil since landing his first major at the UK Open – understandable perhaps – and perhaps the prospect of a duel with Mighty Mike will get the old juices flowing.
Van Gerwen tops the table now after a run of fine form, and worryingly for Wright he turned in his best performance of the campaign last time out: averaging 113.62 in a 7-5 win over James Wade.
As mentioned, we suspect that these two will put on a barnburner here, and so Over 7.5 Maximums is the wager at 4/5.
Adrian Lewis vs Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis is rocking at the moment, and with just two points separating him from the play-off places he will still fancy his chances of reaching the big night at London’s O2 Arena in a few weeks time.
Jackpot beat Gary Anderson 7-3 last time out and won a Players Championship event at the weekend, so he couldn’t be in finer fettle heading into this crunch clash.
Barney has won five of his last six Premier League outings, and he is just one win from the summit of the table. In nine recent meetings with Lewis he has triumphed in seven, so will privately believe he will win this game.
It should be a cracker, and Over 11.5 Legs looks the smart play at Evens.
Phil Taylor vs James Wade
Phil Taylor’s retirement year has gotten off to a pretty handy start, and he is firmly ensconced in a race to the play-offs.
Three wins on the bounce have landed the Power a top four berth, and victory here will be crucial with Anderson playing twice on the night and having a chance to usurp the sixteen-time champion of the world.
You have to feel sorry for James Wade. The usual criticism is that he plays at a pretty high standard but can only win matches when his opponent doesn’t play well; he threw that notion out the window in Dublin by averaging a very handsome 110.82….and still lost!
The Machine has lost four on the spin now, and while he isn’t the kind of character who gives up without a fight his hopes of reaching the final four are all but over.
So Taylor holds all the aces here, and his price of 4/6 is just value enough to warrant investment.