We’re already onto Week 4 of the Premier League – where does the time go!? – and a curious league table has world champion Rob Cross camped in the relegation zone, Michael van Gerwen a lowly third and Gary Anderson an even lowlier sixth!
Simon Whitlock and Michael Smith top the lot – both were available at 80/1+ with the bookmakers to win this tournament – but there’s a mighty long way to go yet.
This week we take our first continental trip, this time to Berlin, so where does the best of the betting value lie?
Michael Smith vs Simon Whitlock (7:15pm)
These two are, arguably, surprise leaders at the top of the table after three rounds of matches, although one if not both of them will lose their 100% records here.
Michael Smith beat Mensur Suljovic 7-2 last time out, and in a performance as rare as hen’s teeth Bully Boy did not hit a single 180! The pair were first on and mentioned how cold it was inside Newcastle’s Metro Arena, and Suljovic’s staccato style also won’t have aided Smith’s free-flowing style. Expect him to be back on the money here.
Whitlock maintained his perfect start with a 7-4 win over Raymond van Barneveld, and while he didn’t have his scoring boots on – just eight scores of 140+ in the match – a checkout success rate of 58% is the envy of anyone in world darts.
Intriguingly, the head-to-head reads 6-5 in Smith’s favour, but Whitlock has won all three times they have met on German soil. Whether that is coincidence or evidence of something more sinister, we just don’t yet with such a small sample size. Curious, nonetheless.
This feels like one of those 50/50 matches and so we will ignore the match winner market. Instead, Smith to hit more 180s at 10/11 looks to be something of a steal.
Gerwyn Price vs Mensur Suljovic (8:00pm)
THE ICE MAN!
Will UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price progress here against Mensur Suljovic? pic.twitter.com/O48AtDrRjW
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) October 27, 2017
Two players who desperately need some points meet in Berlin.
Mensur has no points to his name whatsoever, while Price has two draws on his account but will be nervously looking over his shoulder at the relegation zone right now given Rob Cross’ renaissance of late.
Price nicked one against Gurney last week: he was 1-5 down before the Irishman imploded to allow his Welsh opponent to level up at 6-6. It was a stuttering performance from the Iceman, who took advantage of Gurney’s below-par doubling.
Suljovic had a night to forget in Newcastle: firing in just eight scores of 180+ and converting a lowly 20% of double attempts: that isn’t good enough at this level, unfortunately.
He should be buoyed by playing in front of a home(ish) crowd, however. The Serb fled the war in his homeland as a young man and took refuge in Austria, a country with clear ties with Germany. Suljovic should expect the crowd’s support in Berlin.
Either man could find their form here and run away with this, but the signs suggest that neither is at their best right now. This match is likely to be a grind as a result, so Over 11.5 Legs at even money is perhaps the smart value.
Michael van Gerwen vs Daryl Gurney (8:45pm)
Hell hath no fury like a Van Gerwen scorned! Having suffered a rare defeat in week two of the Premier League, MVG went off, sulked, practised and returned in Newcastle with an outrageously good showing, averaging 110 as he saw off the threat of an outstanding Gary Anderson 7-3.
The Dutchman went on to win both Players’ Championship events at the weekend too, so we can expect the steamroller to be in full motion in Berlin this week.
That means that Daryl Gurney will have to up his game considerably. The Irishman can hit big numbers with the best of them, but his doubles have really let him down of late and cost him not one but two victories. A tournament checkout success rate of 29.63% tells its own story.
MVG has won ten of his last eleven meetings with Gurney, and unless ‘Superchin’s’ doubling is nigh-on perfection we don’t expect that record to be broken here. But the bet has to be Over 6.5 maximums at 4/5; between them, this pair landed 13 in Newcastle!
Rob Cross vs Raymond van Barneveld (9:30pm)
He’s back! After a tough start to the year, world champions Rob Cross is just starting to find his feet. After some decent performances in the UK Open qualifiers, Voltage beat Peter Wright 7-4 in a high-quality contest last week.
There was some argy-bargy afterwards – Wright seemingly refusing to shake Cross’ hand for alleged ‘stamping on the oche’ as the Scotsman was throwing – but Cross won’t give two hoots either way. His debut Premier League campaign is up and running.
After a decent start to his own campaign, Raymond van Barneveld’s standards slipped in a 4-7 defeat to Whitlock where he couldn’t find a double for love nor money. He had fourteen chances to win legs, but took just four of them.
Expect a better performance from the Dutchman here, however. He tweeted earlier in the year about taking German lessons as he seeks to broaden his appeal into this developing market, and RVB will be looking to put on a show in Berlin.
The odds aren’t all that enticing, but add Barney to a multiple bet with a +2.5 leg handicap at 8/13.
Peter Wright vs Gary Anderson (10:15pm)
These two notoriously don’t get along after a social media disagreement’ between their respective partners escalated rather quickly. At one point Wright even refused to team up with Anderson to represent Scotland in the World Cup.
Consequently, they always seem to put on good matches, but the key is that Anderson had beaten Wright five times on the spin until their last meeting at the Grand Slam, where the Flying Scotsman relinquished a 15-11 lead to lose 15-16.
Anderson has the ability to raise his game when the mood takes, and the fact he averaged 110 against MVG last week is testament to that. Like the Incredible Hulk, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry: and 21/20 on him to win this match is simply unmissable value.