AFTER getting through the difficult month of January, well since the World Championships, the top sixteen had a chance to elevate some ring rust at the PDC Masters.
The round robin Premier League season rolls around again with some new names, and familiar ones back in.
The field, if you had not seen it was the top-10 ranked players post World Championship. The format remains the same, best of 12 legs with the possibility of the draw.
- Peter Wright v Michael Smith
- Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
- Phil Taylor v Raymond van Barneveld
- Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis
- Robert Thornton v Dave Chisnall
*The player named on the left will throw first!
Odds correct at time of writing and subject to fluctuation
Peter Wright (6-5) v Michael Smith (7-4) – Draw price – 18-5
Head to head – no previous meetings
The pair have never met before according to my research, so compilers looking at the prices are in limbo on how to price this. When we priced this up, we made Wright at 5/4 – 21/10 for Smith and 7/2 for the draw. Saying this, are we going to tip Smith based on our pricing? Well making a judgement call on this with Smith’s debut could go either way. How would his drubbing at the hands to MVG in the quarter finals at the masters last Sunday done to his morale?
Wright is fast becoming a player you can begin to take on player betting markets to head over, such as checkouts and maximums.
Looking at the pricing, I am confident in Wright’s ability, whereas I do think Michael Smith has been a little Raw at times, and the overwhelming scene on Thursday night may see bullyboy pipped to the post. I think Wright’s Premier League experience will be the deciding factor. The over/under 3.5 market appeals at evens for snakebite as well as the checkout line at 101.50 but being weary of the small handful of chances realistically three-four opportunities for this at 5/6 will be put to one side this week.
Michael van Gerwen (2-5) v James Wade (6-1) – Draw price – 6-1
Head to head – MVG leads 17-11 (PL H2H – MVG leads 3-1)
The only time Wade has beaten MVG was the very first meeting in 2013 where the machine won it 7-4, with the last meeting seeing MVG whitewash James 7-0.
MVG is the overwhelming favourite and will see him in hundreds of darts accas at 4/11 – 2/5. The handicap line is set at a rather disrespectful 3.5 leg head start for Wade, who showed he is capable. MVG’s motivation from the weekend masters win would have given Michael a couple of less intensive days to prepare for Thursday. Wade has been working on his maximums with the assistance of Eric Bristow and showed some good signs last weekend.
However, MVG will want to get off to a winning start and will expect him to fly out the blocks and like the look of MVG breaking the Wade throw within the first six legs, where Bet365 are offering 8/13 for MVG to lead 4-2 or better at the halfway stage with a five point stake.
Phil Taylor (10-11) v Raymond van Barneveld (9-4) – Draw price – 4-1
Head to head – Phil leads 53 – 15 (PL H2H – 16 – 4 – 3)
The interesting stat is that Barney was unbeaten in the last two Premier League campaigns and has not lost since 2013 having won the last three meetings.
Phil looked some way back to his best missing out on the final of the masters last Sunday by the narrowest of margins. Looking at the pricing, Phil at 10/11 might look attractive and why shouldn’t this as he will be throwing first and has such a great record over Barney in general.
This game will be tricky to call after the limitations of last weekend's action, so would usually be a no bet, although if forced to make a call, the draw does stand out, although the match result and both to win four legs in favour of Taylor is 2/1 at Hills may seek interest. The bet I do like is Taylor to hit the first maximum. Now followers in the past has seen me strike this in the past. The target price is evens, and three firms are offering this. No price below evens is acceptable.
The justification is Taylor throws first and the times we have seen the power open with the first maximum puts the price the wrong way around, with Barney poor value at 10/11. Taylor will often strike early for the maximum, and will eyeball this game especially to put the past couple of years opening nights in the Premier League behind him.
Gary Anderson (13-14) v Adrian Lewis (9-4) – Draw price – 4-1
Head to head – Gary leads 22-17 (PL H2H – 6-2-2)
This game could be tricky to call as both players made early exits from last weekends Masters event. We did mention in our preview that Gary would have had all sorts of commitments post Ally Pally with media and other appearances as commanded as the World Champion.
Lewis on the other hand has a less than desirable record in this competition, which has led to a poor win rate against the defending Premier League Champion!
Gary has dominated the Premier League head to heads and after both were knocked out the first round last weekend, although I think Gary has a strong call to win this, I must quote a no bet for this, as I am not confident on which players will turn up here!
Robert Thornton (40-17) Vs Dave Chisnall (21-20) – Draw price 4-1
Head to head – Dave leads 11-10 (PL H2H – 1-0-1)
Despite the head to head, will the Thorn have been able to get last weekend out his head after leading 8-0 and 9-1 to lose to Chisnall 10-9. Yes the format is shorter, but on a psychological basis what has that done to Robert? Not being able to fall over the line does question what happened in that match. With the head to head, the narrowest of head to head with traded victories in the 2014 campaign certain gives credibility in opposing the price of Chisnall to win this 7-5 or better.
Dave is a BIG 6/1 to hit the most 180s in the Premier League over the sixteen weeks, and can be a value call on the basis you expect him to fill the top four come May this year. At 4/5 for most 180’s in this match will be popular with punters and for very good reason. Chisnall won the count in the epic fightback last weekend 7-4 punters can get 6/4 with Skybet that Chizzy wins the count by two or more.
Beware that the format is shorter, but the crowd atmosphere will be electric.
The general price for the game to go the distance is around 5/4 with Skybet with Hills offering a more attractive market in the match result and both to win four legs market. Hills have this priced up as a 76.80% book, meaning if you are confident both players will win four legs apiece, there is a margin for gain from this market. Even more enhanced is the 72.99% if you applied the 4/1 draw price with Skybet.
Recommendations – (minimum prices quoted below)
- Ante-post – 9 dart finish: NO 6/4 general 1pt (no lower)
- P Wright to beat M Smith – 6/5 William Hill 2pts (Minimum 23/20 accepted)
- Thornton over 2.5 180s and MVG to beat Wade – 2.11 Bet365 1.5 pts (11/10 acceptable)
- MVG to beat Wade after six legs – 8/13 Bet365 5pts (no lower price acceptable)
- Taylor – 1st 180 v Barney – 1/1 Coral, Betway and Bwin 1.5 pts (no lower than 1/1)