Darts fans, the 2018 Premier League Darts season is officially underway. All ten contenders, as previewed by 888sport before the start of the competition, will be confident of reaching the playoffs and there have already been a number of shocks in the first few weeks.
Read on for our best bets ahead of Week 4; Mensur Suljovic is my top tip in Thursday’s five-fold…
Michael Smith vs Simon Whitlock
Who’d have thought it? Heading into Week 4 and Michael Smith has a 100% winning record – Bully Boy has been simply sublime this year.
Once labelled as darts’ next big star, Smith has failed to build on his victory in the 2013 Youth World Championship but this could be his time to shine. On current form, it is hard to back against him.
Meanwhile, Simon Whitlock has also defied the odds in 2018. Like Smith, he has won three out of three in this tournament and the Wizard will fancy his chances here.
Incredibly, the 2012 Premier League Darts runner up has hit fewer 180s than his rivals – his double hitting has helped massively. I’m taking Smith (23/20) to just about edge this one.
TIP: Michael Smith to win @ 23/20
Gerwyn Price vs MENSUR SULJOVIC
I’m still not quite sure how he did it but Gerwyn Price managed to salvage a draw against Daryl Gurney in Week 3 despite falling 5-1 behind.
The Welshman is a momentum player and Suljovic must take the sting out of the contest in order to slow Price down. This one has potential to be one of the night’s most entertaining fixtures.
Mensur Suljovic hasn’t had much luck in 2018 but the Austrian will still be quietly confident after a string of positive performances.
He has a better 100+ checkout percentage than all 10 of his Premier League Darts rivals and victories will start to go his way. To some, he would be a risk at 6/5 but I can’t see past Suljovic in Berlin on Thursday evening.
TIP: Mensur Suljovic to win @ 6/5
Michael Van Gerwen vs Daryl Gurney
The Berlin crowd will be turning out in their numbers to see another Michael Van Gerwen masterclass on Thursday evening – and he could run riot.
Now well and truly in his stride, the Dutchman was outstanding last week against Gary Anderson and this may be very one-sided if the defending Premier League champion is at his scintillating best.
Daryl Gurney bottled it last time out against Gerywn Price – and he knew it. The Northern Irishman has the talent to go far in the sport but consistency remains a major issue and he cannot afford to throw legs away, especially against the likes of Michael Van Gerwen.
The world number one should win but the over 9.5 legs is well priced at 3/5. Gurney is good enough to avoid a blowout defeat.
TIP: Over 9.5 legs @ 3/5
Rob Cross vs Raymond Van Barneveld
It took a few weeks for Rob Cross to settle and adjust to Premier League Darts but Voltage answered his critics with a superb performance against Peter Wright last week.
In recent weeks, his form has been picking up – he has two of the three highest single match averages in 2018 so he must be doing something right.
Van Barneveld has been a pillar of inconsistency so far; drawing with Daryl Gurney, beating Mensur Suljovic and then losing to Simon Whitlock.
Barney’s scoring has been very hit-and-miss in recent weeks and it is hard to place too much faith in the five-time world champion on current form. Cross is the one to be on at 4/5.
TIP: Rob Cross to win @ 4/5
Peter Wright vs Gary Anderson
It isn’t going Peter Wright’s way at the moment. In all fairness, he hasn’t had the easiest of starts to the new campaign but the manner of his defeat to Rob Cross was disappointing.
He didn’t play particularly well and Wright will need a considerable improvement in order to keep pace with the free-scoring Gary Anderson.
Gary Anderson actually played pretty well against Michael Van Gerwen last week but the Dutchman was in breath-taking form.
The Flying Scotsman will fancy his chances against Peter Wright though, his compatriot struggled against Rob Cross in Week 3 and was visibly frustrated at the end of the contest. Backing a long encounter (2/5) may be the best bet.
TIP: Over 10.5 legs @ 2/5
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*