All eyes will be on Dublin’s 3Arena this Thursday as the 2018 Premier League Darts season officially gets underway. We have already previewed all ten contenders in the race for the title and excitement is growing ahead of the opening night. Check out our top tips on the action below – Peter Wright leads our 22/1 Week One five-fold.
MENSUR SULJOVIC vs Simon Whitlock
Nerves may get the better of Suljovic on his Premier League debut but I fancy the Austrian to edge past Whitlock. On his day, Suljovic can go toe-to-toe with the best players in the sport and he will be confident of victory here. Suljovic reached the semi-finals of the Masters last weekend; he will expect to build on that effort with another positive result in this contest.
Whitlock has struggled against Suljovic in the past, losing five of his last six matches against the world number six. The Australian has struggled to inspire confidence on the big stage in recent times and neutrals were surprised to see Whitlock included in this year’s line-up. He will be determined to succeed but the 9/10 on offer for a Suljovic win is worth considering.
TIP: Suljovic to win @ 9/10
GARY ANDERSON vs Michael Smith
Anderson’s last major triumph came way back at the start of 2016 but he did finish second in three televised events in 2017. The “Flying Scotsman” has been struggling with a niggling back injury in recent months but he is still able to compete. I fancy Anderson to open with a convincing win on Thursday night; 15/8 for an Anderson win and most 180s hit is appealing.
Smith was ejected from the Premier League last year after finishing rock bottom in 2016 but he is back to fight another day. The PDC have opted to give the world number 11 a second chance to prove himself on the big stage and Smith must grasp this opportunity. He failed to shine at the Masters last weekend and this is a tough opening fixture for the 27-year-old…
TIP: Anderson to win and hit most 180s @ 15/8
DARYL GURNEY vs RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD
Gurney has the talent to take his game to the next level in 2018 and he could be one of the prominent names in this year’s Premier League. He qualified for seven major events in 2017 – and reached the quarter finals or beyond in all seven. If Gurney can regain his best form, he will be a force to be reckoned with on the biggest stage of all.
Barney came close to beating world number one Michael van Gerwen in the Masters final last weekend and plenty of punters will be backing the Dutchman to emulate that effort on Thursday night. The under 11.5 legs is currently available at 7/10 and that is a decent price for those who fancy Gurney to struggle with a few opening night nerves.
TIP: Under 11.5 legs @ 7/10
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN vs ROB CROSS
On paper, this is the match of the week. Van Gerwen, attempting to win his third successive Premier League title, will be very difficult to stop in his pursuit of glory. The Dutchman was simply sublime in the Masters last weekend and darts fans will be expecting Van Gerwen to prosper throughout 2018. He could even go unbeaten in the Premier League...
But Cross is no slouch and the newly crowned world champion can continue his assault on the darts world. Both players will be confident of holding their throw in this contest and the 11/20 for over 10.5 legs offers decent value. Neutrals will be hoping that this one goes all the way to a deciding leg; a 6-6 draw isn’t out of the question by any means.
TIP: Over 10.5 legs @ 11/20
PETER WRIGHT vs Gerwyn Price
A real fan favourite, Wright will have lots of support in Dublin on Thursday night and the 3/5 available for the world number two to prevail is a great price. Some will be expecting a fairly comfortable evening for Wright as he looks to open with a victory – but he must improve on his recent efforts, he was thrashed by Van Barneveld in his Masters quarter final.
On his Premier League debut, Price will have no fear. He lost to Wright in the 2017 UK Open final back in March and bettors will expect a similar outcome here. The Welshman will take some stopping though if he emulates his 2018 World Championship form and it would be foolish to write him off just yet. This could be a potential banana skin for Wright…
TIP: Wright to win @ 3/5
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*