Darts fans, the Premier League Darts season is at the halfway stage. 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. Read on for our best bets ahead of Week 5; Michael Van Gerwen is my top tip in Thursday’s five-fold…
GARY ANDERSON vs ROB CROSS
Anderson showed plenty of strength to salvage a draw after going 6-3 down against Wright in Berlin and he will need to muster that kind of resilience to win in Exeter. The Flying Scotsman is in decent form but will want to send out a statement of intent with a top quality performance against the 2018 PDC world champion.
Cross made it two wins on the spin last time out and it would be difficult to back against the world champion on current form. After a slow start to the Premier League season, Voltage is finding his feet in the competition and Anderson will need to be at his brilliant best to stand any chance of victory. 3/4 for this one to go the distance is worth considering.
TIP: Under 11.5 legs @ 3/4
Daryl Gurney vs PETER WRIGHT
The Northern Irishman has been very disappointing so far this year; plenty of punters were backing Gurney to go deep into the competition. At the time of writing, he may struggle to avoid elimination - Gurney cannot afford to slip up too often. He will almost certainly see this one as a winnable game and Wright will need to be on top form.
Wright let a three-leg lead slip against Anderson and he will be determined to right a few wrongs after that result. The Scot has been unlucky at times during the opening few weeks of the new Premier League season but he can get back to winning ways here. Gurney is a capable opponent but inconsistencies let him down – 3/5 for Wright is the best bet.
TIP: Peter Wright to win @ 3/5
Mensur Suljovic vs MICHAEL VAN GERWEN
Suljovic was too hot to handle last week and the Austrian will fancy his chances against the world number one here. If he can emulate that effort against Price, Suljovic will be in with an outside chance of shocking Van Gerwen – even if the Dutchman is at his brilliant best. It won’t be easy by any means but Suljovic shouldn’t be dismissed just yet.
Van Gerwen is the best darts player on the planet and he produced a dominant effort to breeze past Gurney in Week Four. The Dutchman was simply sublime, averaging well over 100 in that contest and I’m expecting him to kick on and build momentum. The world number one is well priced at 3/4 to win the opening leg.
TIP: Michael Van Gerwen to win the first leg @ 3/4
Raymond Van Barneveld vs MICHAEL SMITH
Van Barneveld was poor against Cross last week and the Dutchman will need to rely on all of his experience to bounce back here. Although not the finished article, Smith is in great form but Barney will relish the chance to hand the Englishman his first loss. The lively crowd will get behind Van Barneveld and this could be the highlight of the evening.
Smith was a 50/1 shot to win the Premier League title before a dart was thrown – he is now as short as 9/1 to lift the crown. Bully Boy finished bottom of the table in 2016, so he has already exceeded expectations with four wins from four. This current winning run won’t go on forever but he should have enough quality to squeeze past Van Barneveld.
TIP: Michael Smith to win @ 7/5
SIMON WHITLOCK vs Gerwyn Price
Whitlock had won three out of three before falling short against Smith and the Australian can get back to winning ways. Although yet to hit top form in this year’s Premier League, Whitlock has been consistent – and that is why he is in the mix to reach the playoffs. At 4/6 for three or more 180s, he is a great price and could put on a real show.
Price was outclassed by Suljovic last week – the Welshman was clearly disappointed at his own performance. The 32-year-old has yet to showcase his talent on the Premier League stage and the Exeter fans won’t be expecting too much of an improvement. He will have to raise his game considerably to come out on top.
TIP: Simon Whitlock to hit three or more 180s @ 4/6
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*