WITH just three more meetings between tonight and Maundy Thursday the battle to avoid relegation really begins and Michael Smith did himself a favour in week five beating Barney 7-5.
A recap of certain markets to week six as Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor lead as at week five;
Most 180s – MVG 22, Chisnall 21 – our even money bet on MVG for most 180s looks good as it appears only Chisnall will remain a threat, with other challengers back on seventeen. MVG looks almost certain to qualify on form. Chisnall will need to turn around wins and if he does not make the top four, it clears the path clear for MVG to win our in play ante-post bet.
To win the Premier League – MVG 5/6 (Betway): the current UK Open champion has become odds on to win the Premier League outright and as short as 2/9 to top the table at the end of fifteen weeks. Incredibly short odds I may ask.
There are some huge prices on the coupon with Betway at 4/6 for MVG and Taylor both to win this week. Extraordinarily with a 5/1, and two 7/1’s on the coupon will favour backers in that one landing will generate a profit.
The two games that are closer in the pricing, Wright and Barney’s match could have some good value attached with the right selection.
M Smith Vs G Anderson
Head to head – Anderson leads 3-2
The guvnor plays his protégé in a game both players need a win. Anderson has played a game fewer with Smith playing his seventh game. Now after this game he will have two left and ideally needs two wins, or four points minimum to avoid relegation. Smith may see himself through with five points, but ideally six or seven is the target.
We open up with the Smith Vs Anderson game, where Anderson leads the head to head 3-2. The pair have only met on the crowd stage once at a European Tour event back in September 2014. Smith was supreme on that occasion. Three of the five meets went over on the legs and with manager Anderson versus protégé Smith could be an emotionally charged game, with both needing the points to keep in sight of the leaders.
Anderson is a short price to win this in respect of being against the throw and do think that Gary will not want to be too harsh over his protégé. I cannot see Anderson winning this by a huge margin and after his UK Open exit last week to pub qualifier Barry Lynn, will Anderson’s head be back on focus?
For the game to go over 10.5 legs is 8/11 with Skybet is probably the best way to go in this, so either player to win this by a margin no more than three legs. The maximum line is let between 6.5 and 7.5 and with both players struggling for maximums, the 180 tie may have appeal at 5/1 with a few firms in respect total match maximums in the last couple of weeks has been close, with four apiece last week and Anderson pipping by one the week before. Smith over 3.5 maximums is 6/5 with Bet365 for four or more maximums, achieved in two of the last three games. The only danger is the game may take time to get going, which takes me to the first leg 180 NO market. Betfred are 5/6 for NO 180 in the first leg, which has taken our attention.
Looking back at the action, neither player has hit a maximum in the opening leg, which gives me a little confidence that NO will be the outcome especially at 5/6.
P Wright Vs A Lewis
Head to head – Lewis leads 14-7 with 1 draw
Lewis certain has Wright’s number in the head to head, with six appearances in front of TV/crowd since 2015; Wright has won just once back at the Japan Masters last June. They have met twice more recently, at the World Championships, and Grand Slam, where Lewis won with some comfort.
The pair has met three times in the Premier League and both players have a win apiece, with a draw. Looking at the odds, they imply Lewis is a marginal favourite as Wright will be throwing first. You can support this claim based on the head to head, and both players have been performing well over the last two years to sustain their ranking position in the PDC order of merit.
Wright backed up his consistency making another final on Sunday in a repeat of the 2015 UK Open final losing the MVG, pitting Snakebite closer towards the finals club with Terry Jenkins in players to have not won major and successive final losses.
Looking at the markets, admittedly the maximum market is tough to call with one maximum difference in the staked total of the last five weeks. The odds imply an individual one-eighty line of 3.5 for both players. Wright is averaging a maximum every 3.53 legs with jackpot on one every 3.13 legs. Skybet have the market correct at evens to see four or more maximums at evens, with Paddy Power also pitting at evens for less than four.
In the last three weeks on two occasions Snakebite has passed the 3-dart average line with the other going within a dart of winning. Paddy offer 5/6 on over 99.50. I do like the evens on Wright at 6/4 but will take the draw no bet option at evens with BetVictor as this is as truer reflection of recent performances of both players
R Barneveld Vs J Wade
Head to head – Barney leads 22-19 with 4 draws
The pair has met nearly as often as Barney and Taylor, with both players enjoying wins over one another over the years. In the sixteen meetings in the Premier League, Wade has seven wins, with Barney on five and four draws. Astonishingly four of the last seven has been tied, so at nearly 4/1 is worth a look for stat based punters.
Wade was unbeaten in the 2015 campaign with a win at the same meeting date a year ago following up with a return meeting ending all square. Outside the Premier League since the pair has met three times, two of which on TV, which Barney won, with Wade winning the last meeting in a UK Open qualifier last month.
Barney will be looking to overturn two straight defeats with Wade winning last week after three straight defeats. The stats do favour Wade on the basis that his scoring has been consistent, but Barney has been on the receiving end of two final leg shootouts in recent memory, winning against Thornton, but losing out to Smith last week.
With two old guards in the premier league facing off would not surprise me to see a draw here. With four already in the last seven would be the value call based on stats. The other call is possibly Barney winning the race to three legs at 5/6 at Skybet. Wade will need to break the Barney throw to win this, which does not appeal at evens to break and win the race to three.
R Thornton Vs P Taylor
Head to head – Taylor leads 19-6
The odds hugely favour Phil, with some disrespect to Thornton who is a BIG 100/30 to win or draw the game. Robert is capable as we have seen before, but compilers have lost confidence in respect that the Scotsman has not won on TV in 2016. His losing streak stems back since the Grand Slam in November from a credible quarter final. Since, Thornton lost in the opener at the World Series, Players Championship, World Championships and Masters. Thornton picked up just a handful of wins at the UK Open qualifiers with first round exits at four of the six qualifiers.
Can things get worse for the Scotsman or can he reverse the trend and take the pressure off himself? Well Robert is under pressure to get win his matches in order to avoid relegation. Perhaps exiting the Premier League will benefit the Thorn. His opponent Taylor is looking somewhere back to his best after making the semi-finals of the UK Open. Phil showed domination in the early part of that semi-final before van Gerwen stepped on the pedal to bring home the win.
Bookies have Taylor at a modest handicap, which even in his domination days would not deter backers, but will this latest handicap? I am not sure and not willing to take the chance, in the event Thornton springs a surprise performance. Readers of this in the past will know I am a keen backer of Taylor to hit the first maximums. After seeing Phil at the UK open, his opening leg performance had at times shown some complacency when it comes to maximums, as Phil hits the 19’s so well, which is a danger to this bet. We take in response the opponent in Thornton and our judgement of his current state of play. Having not won on TV since November, confidence will be down, but will be the case of whether his jerky throw will find the treble bed. Phil 10/11 at Skybet to hit the opening maximum we will give a small play to on the basis that Phil’s game is improving and Thornton’s lack of maximums.
D Chisnall Vs M v Gerwen
D Chisnall 8/1 Bwin; MVG 3/10 Betfair; Draw 7/1
Head to head – MVG leads 23-9 with 1 draw
What can we saw about MVG? He was incredible at times, especially with his nine-dart finish and numerous 170 finishes, four in total. BetVictor are 8/1 for a 170 finish. MVG was supreme at the UK Open and his motivation is money with his focus of building his new house at the moment. When Michael has something to pay for, he goes out and earns it. Chisnall has never beaten MVG at the Premier League, with four meetings, three defeats and a draw. The draw did occur as more of a dead rubber tie on the final week of last year’s competition.
It is rare for us to see the maximum market on 8.5 in a twelve leg game. BetVictor take an implied percentage of 59.88% for under 8.5 legs and 45.45% chance on seeing nine or more maximums. Ideally for the over to occur requires both to perform with one or either getting at least five in the game with Chisnall bagging five or more in two from five games. MVG has likewise hit more than four and has hit four or more in all but one game, which was the opener. You would not be surprised if we saw eight or nine, but will need both players to gel from the off.
It would not surprise me if the game went eleven legs, as Chisnall looks to stamp his authority down with VG at 12/5 with Hills to win 7-4 or 7-5, although shopping around for prices gives you a 1.5-1.75% edge if you fancy this market on the correct score.
- Under 33.5 180s on the evening – 5/6 Betfred 2pts
- 1st leg 180 NO – Smith/Anderson – 5/6 Betfair 1.5pts
- P Wright – draw no bet Vs Lewis – 1/1 BetVictor 1pt
- P Wright over 99.5 ave and R Thornton over 92.50 average 0.5 pts (3.37 Paddy Power)
- J Wade – over 97.5 checkout 5/6 Paddy Power 1pt
- P Taylor – 1st 180 Vs Thornton – 10/11 Skybet 1pt