THE premier league this week comes from Exeter on the eve of the UK Open, which toes the oche the very next day a modest distance away in Minehead Somerset.
A quick recap on last week; we saw it all, we saw treble 20 galore with a massive forty on the night. Also – MICHAEL VAN GERWEN smashed the world record televised average with a stunning new standard of 123.40 as he stormed to a 7-1 win over Michael Smith. Van Gerwen powered past Phil Taylor's previous best of 118.66, set against Kevin Painter at the 2010 UK Open, with an unplayable performance to delight a capacity crowd in Aberdeen.
The Dutchman fired in legs of 11, 12, 11 and 12 darts to open up a four-leg lead in just over four minutes, before hitting back-to-back ten-dart finishes pushing his average above 135 in-running.
Taylor himself posted a 115.25 average edging past Dave Chisnall in a superb display which saw thirteen maximums in the match and looks to keep this run going against young gun Adrian Lewis in this weeks opener
Order of play
- 10/11 Taylor Vs Lewis 5/2 (Draw 4/1) – Taylor leads 50-15
- 5/4 Chisnall Vs Wade 15/8 (Draw 19/5) – Wade leads 9-6
- 28/5 Thornton Vs Anderson 7/19 (Draw 11/2) – Anderson leads 13-11
- 11/2 Wright Vs MVG 3/8 (Draw 11/2) Van Gerwen leads 30-8
- 2/1 Smith Vs Barneveld 13/8 (Draw 19/5) – Barneveld leads 6-4
- 10/11 Taylor Vs Lewis 5/2 (Draw 4/1) – Taylor leads 50-15
Taylor has been looking good since his defeat on the opening night and fired in a 115.25 average over Dave Chisnall last week in a close affair. His opponent is his junior protégé Adrian Lewis, where both Stoke players has endured great battles over the years and this could be another to kick off the Exeter crowd this week.
Taylor is the odds on favourite and will be throwing first, aware that Jackpot has had his best start in years with this campaign. Phil stopped the rot of four straight defeats, with three of them in UK Open qualifiers in February; with the last time the pair met on TV went to a final leg decider back at the European Championships in late October.
Phil has shown that he is getting somewhere back to his A game and will depend on which Lewis does turn up. With a great rehearsal before the UK Open, expect both to be powered up for this game as a win for either will assist their charge towards solidifying a top four as the campaign progresses. Bookmakers were 5/6 on Taylor on three or more maximums last week and have carefully covered this offering a derisory 1/2 with Paddy Power. Jackpot is just 5/6 to front the maximum tally but has netted just twelve averaging three a game, so minefield territory based on the average.
The same bookie just mentioned are on Taylor at 5/6 for a 102.51 or better average, where he has passed this on two occasions. Paddy goes the same price on a Lewis 95 + checkout and head the price at 6/5 for the game to go the distance! Paddy also bet 5/6 on a 99.50 three dart average.
5/4 Chisnall Vs Wade 15/8 (Draw 19/5)
Wade leads 9-6
Stoke’s own Chisnall will battle James Wade in the second game where Wadey leads the head to head marginally 9-6. Their most recent meeting was in the Masters event at the end of January, where Chizzy won this 11-6 in the semi-final. Chisnall could do with the points. The machine has also gone sideways losing the last three. Chisnall without a win this the opening night could make this a tense game.
Wade has been better on the maximums in recent times with nine, but hit five in one game, so three in the other four games. Chisnall to win by two or more maximums is 10/11 with BetVictor and this is worth taking one more time. A bet we do like is Chisnall to win but both players to win four legs with Hills 12/5. You could take a cover with Wade on the same bet and hope there is no draw and both win four legs.
28/5 Thornton Vs Anderson 7/19 (Draw 11/2)
Anderson leads 13-11
A battle of the Scots between Anderson and Thornton is next up where both players need to turn their forms around. Both players netted points last week and this week will be even more vital as both look to keep up the pace on their opponents around them.
Anderson is the red hot favourite despite Thornton throwing first. Compilers have lost all confidence in the former UK Open and World Grand Prix champion since his loss to Chisnall from a near un-losable position, to be whitewashed the following week. Since his weeks absence back in week two Thornton blew the chance of pocketing a point from his game versus Barney, but reaped the reward last week at the hands of Peter Wright.
Looking at the handicaps, Thornton should not be written off, and with a +3.5 leg headstart at 3/4 with Betfred is a little disrespectful for Robert, with a lot of work for Anderson to win 7-3 or better. Thornton was considered on the maximum markets but the jerky throw breed little confidence at 4/6 with Bet365 on the basis the Thorn has netted just two all campaign.
11/2 Wright Vs MVG 3/8 (Draw 11/2)
Van Gerwen leads 30-8
Snakebite takes on MVG in what could be a controversial affair after past matches has receipted in some jibes and believe that Wright will go at a pace he will feel most comfortable with. MVG netted the world record average last week with an incredible 123.40. Since the 2014 World Championship meeting the pair have met sixteen times in total, where MVG has been beaten just twice since. The two loses was on a pro-tour event and a narrow loss at the Japan Masters. With three meetings in the Premier League all three have gone the distance it is 6/4 with Bet365 the fourth meeting sees all twelve legs played out. Some firms are 5/6 on the over/under 10.5 leg market.
MVG is 8/11 to win 7-4 or better and 5/4 to win 7-3 or better. Although looking at the form, MVG must not be opposed on this, and one market we do view as a good even money poke is MVG to win the match and score the most maximums with the Skybet special market.
2/1 Smith Vs Barneveld 13/8 (Draw 19/5)
Barneveld leads 6-4
Bullyboy will play his sixth game this week and one point on the board really needs a win without fail this week. In the way stopping him is five-time World Champion Barney, who is the 13/8 favourite. Smith has found life hard in the Premier League and wish the spirit of last week is maintained despite the thrashing by world class MVG. The pair have met twice in 2016, once at the World Championship where Barney edged it in a nine-set thriller, only for weeks later Smith reclaiming that loss at the masters 10-7.
This game could go either way, but a win Smith needs will determine his fete after this week’s action with a tricky way to call this in a betting sense.