A COUPLE of weeks ago you could have said, will there be a judgement night if Thornton and Smith were unlikely to contest a fight out of relegation? On week eight, Thornton pocketed four points from six to lift himself two places and allow Dave Chisnall with work to do on judgement night.
The permutations are thus:
Michael Smith – 10th
If Smith wins then moves above Chisnall and Thornton but has to hope other results go his way. Would be safe with a draw if Chisnall loses and Thornton loses 7-2 or worse and Is eliminated with a defeat.
Dave Chisnall – 9th
If he wins would be above Smith and Thornton but has to hope Thornton does not win. Would be safe with a draw if Thornton loses and Smith does not win and will be eliminated with a defeat.
Robert Thornton – 8th
Thornton will survive with a win and could still progress with a draw or a defeat depending on the results of the earlier games involving Smith and Chisnall.
Week nine fixtures order of play (player named on the left will throw first)
- James Wade v Gary Anderson – Anderson leads 26-11 with 1 draw
- Michael Smith v Phil Taylor – Taylor leads 9-3
- Dave Chisnall v Peter Wright – Chisnall leads 9-5 with 1 draw
- Robert Thornton v Adrian Lewis – Lewis leads 18-4 with 1 draw
- Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen – Gerwen leads 23-16
James Wade v Gary Anderson
With the focus away from relegation for the first game, Anderson in hot form winning all of the last six games in the Premier League powered initially to the top of the table before Van Gerwen and Taylor overtook Anderson on leg difference.
Both players come in to this after early exits from the German Darts Masters last weekend, with Anderson having a job done on by Joe Cullen in the quarter finals having motored past Wade in the third round the day before having stormed into a lead but regressing to win 6-4 over the machine.
Anderson is a sure favourite at 8/13 generally with Wade the 10/3 underdog and the draw at 9/2 with Boylesports. You can rarely lose favour on Anderson, but the drubbing to Cullen will surely make some punters blink twice before backing the defending champion. Wade’s power scoring has been an issue for a while and generating some consistency on TV is yet to be seen. Those unsure on Anderson outright can get the same price on him winning the maximum tally.
Wade in the last ten has seen Anderson as his Achilles heel having drawn just once and lost the other nine spanning back to October 2014, which was just a week after the great comeback win by Wade in the World Grand Prix! With a draw and 7-4 win for Ando last year, in the seven meetings Anderson has won four, lost two and the solitary draw.
Anderson to win 7-4 or better is 6/5 where the checkout line for Wade is back under one hundred is favourable with Bwin at 17/20 for a ninety-five or better checkout, with 5/6 with Paddy Power on the same line.
Michael Smith v Phil Taylor
Second up is Smith versus Taylor, where it was over two years since Smith shocked the darting world defeating Phil 4-3 in the World Championship. Bar this a win in a pro-tour event and European Tour event, Taylor has won the rest, which saw a convincing 10-5 over Bullyboy last October. Taylor is a solid 4/11 with Coral and will be popular seeing as Smith has found life difficult in this competition.
With some good experience under his belt now, Smith will learn a lot from the Premier League experience and is a hot favourite for the drop.
With two from eight games seeing a low average, Paddy Power will be chosen to take on Smith on fewer than a 94.50 average. Smith will have pressure on him and think his thinking will be influenced from the power scoring. Under four maximums is 4/5 with Stan James and worth a look as Taylor will want to end the night top of the table, so a convincing victory will give this a fighting chance. Bookies view Taylor at 7-4 or better the most likely and are 8/11 best with some firms to do the business.
Dave Chisnall v Peter Wright
Third up sees Chisnall, who despite a victory on the opening night has sealed a single draw versus Michael Smith since but has the edge over Wright leafing the head to head with nine wins and five defeats, with a draw. Chisnall’s Premier League record has notched up two wins and a draw.
I did tip Wright on the basis of more recent form, including a World Championship win at the end of last year and captured Wright at evens with European firm Bwin. Since the best price is 10/11, a shade under my target valuation. With Chisnall at 5/2 and his good record in this competition taking Chisnall on at 39/40 with 888sport to snatch a win or draw may appeal to some.
Wright was impressive powering through his side of the draw to make the final but had jitters at the hands of MVG in the final again Monday night. I was interested in Snakebite to nail maximums but layers have the priced covered as short as 4/5 but 5/6 generally. Chisnall is 11/10 with Paddy Power to net the most maximums and the game to go the distance may be fancied at 5/4 with sportingbet.
Chisnall will have a better idea of what he needs to after the Smith game so the pressure could be going either way with this one!
Robert Thornton v Adrian Lewis
Thornton will know exactly what he needs by the time he toes the oche and plays jackpot, where Lewis has a major edge over the Thorn. Lewis has eight consecutive games without defeat spanning back nearly two years. In the four Premier League meetings, Lewis has two wins, one defear and one draw. One trend in the last six in the competition weeks as seem Lewis’s record go LWLWLW so does the 15/4 on Thornton or 9/2 on the draw fancy? The two outcomes combined is 6/4 generally which certainly appeals to Lewis at 8/15 outright.
Both, well Lewis certainly needs a result to keep in touch, and Thornton at the very least may not need to win, but in the grand scheme of things to have any chance of the top four is unlikely, although the cash does increase by position, so certainly a motivator coming into this game!
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen
Last up sees the Dutch master welcome MVG one more time in what could be one more epic battle?
With eight Premier League battles, MVG holds the advantage with five wins to three, with one of Barney’s wins was in the 2014 campaign in the final, where Barney was 25/1 outsider before the semi-finals on the night to beat Gerwen 10-6. Last year’s regular season the players traded victories, and with MVG looking tired at the weekend event, is MVG coming close to burnout?
With successive draws over the last fortnight, mighty mike is short at 1/4 to win this with Barney as tall as 15/2 and 13/2 for the draw bookies have 7-3 as the popular score. The maximum market has the general 5/6 on seven or less and 8/11 on less than eight.