It was a record-breaking affair in Aberdeen in the Premier League last week; Michael Van Gerwen raising the roof with his unparalleled average of 123.40.
There were confidence-boosting points gained by home favourites Gary Anderson and Robert Thornton too, and so attention turns to Exeter as we head into the second half of the initial round robin phase. Two players will depart in four weeks time, so picking up points on the south coast is crucial.
Here’s a look at week 5’s fixtures….and hopefully some betting tips to support as well.
Phil Taylor (4/5) v Adrian Lewis (11/4)
It’s fair to say that Phil Taylor has got his mojo back. Three wins on the spin – with averages of 111, 100 and 115 – suggest that the tungsten tosser from Stoke is very much back to his best.
Fellow Potter Adrian Lewis is his opponent here in week five in Exeter, and Jackpot is in fine fettle to. With three wins from four – and a solitary defeat to Van Gerwen, no shame in that – the 31-year-old is in good shape heading into the business end of the first phase of the tournament.
But it is Taylor’s scoring power – rarely a feature of his game in the last few years – that could be defining here. He has thrown more 100+ scores than Lewis (111 to 85), with disparities in the tournament averages of 104 to 99, and so while we fancy The Power to win it is the Over 6.5 Maximums market that catches the eye at 10/11: this pair through eleven 180s between them last week.
Dave Chisnall (11/10) v James Wade (13/8)
Panic stations would be pushing it a little, but neither of these two have won in three matches now. Something has to give here with elimination matters starting to take shape.
Wade has won just ten legs from his last trio of outings, and despite playing to a consistent level it is often the more extravagant player that benefits from the short format. Chisnall boasts the scoring power here – he is the joint-highest 180 hitter in the Premier League to date – and actually has the better checkout rate of the two: 45.83% to 36.36%.
Punters who have placed a wager or two will know of Wade’s reputation as a ‘coupon spoiler’, but with the introduction of Draw No Bet to the darts we have a sense of insurance. So back Chisnall Draw No Bet at 4/6.
Robert Thornton (11/2) v Gary Anderson (1/3)
Much improved from this pair last week in their Scottish homeland, and while Anderson will have been delighted with his 103 average in that 7-3 win over Van Barneveld, Thornton will have been perturbed with his lowly 92 average. Still, a point is a point, and the Thorn can take great pride in ending Peter Wright’s win streak.
While the disparity in the averages between the two is rather compelling for punters, incredibly Thornton has the highest checkout success rate of any player in the competition (52.38%). With that in mind, we can support the +3.5 handicap in the Thorn’s favour at 8/13.
Peter Wright (11/2) v Michael van Gerwen (1/3)
It would be nigh-on impossible for Van Gerwen to replicate his performance last week: he broke a world record after all for the highest televised average of an eye-watering 123.40. The Dutchman is throwing as well as he has ever done; bad news for Peter Wright here.
Snakebite has enjoyed a fine start to life in the Premier League this term, but two dropped points against Thornton would have disappointed the table-topper.
There’s a story within the story here: Wright has only beaten MVG once in their last 14 meetings, and while the Dutchman’s price of 1/3 is too short to back we’ll be taking him to score more 180s than Wright at 8/13.
Michael Smith (7/4) v Raymond van Barneveld (21/20)
Odds-against on Van Barneveld is a bit of a gift from the bookmakers here. He boasts ten-point lead over Smith in the tournament averages (99 to 88) and a 10% buffer in the tournament checkout success rate (46.81% to 35%).
We’re happy to ignore Smith’s 1-7 demolition at the hands of MVG – any darter on the planet would have been obliterated there, and RVB put up a good fight but was up against it playing the reigning World and Premier League champion on home soil.
But what has gone before in this campaign shows that Van Barneveld is in better nick than Smith, and with the added pressure of being the ‘headline event’ here we would expect Barney to win at a handsome 21/20.