Surprises Expected in This Week’s Darts & Snooker

Smith Can Out Battle Barney

It’s the final round of Phase 1 games in Dart’s Premier League on Thursday. Gerwyn Price is already eliminated, and either Mensur Suljovic or Peter Wright will be playing their last game on the night.

Wright should not be sat in eighth position in the current table, such is his talent, but he is and he has won just one of eight Premier League games he has played this season. Remarkably that win came against Michael van Gerwen. It’s clear that Peter Wright is not a player you can back, or lay, with confidence in this competition.

But Michael Smith is. He has won six matches and lost just two, one against the unopposable MVG, the other against World Champion Rob Cross. On that form I think he is a good thing to beat Raymond van Barneveld this week, a match which the bookies say is too tight to call. They go 6/4 apiece and 3/1 the draw.

Barneveld’s won just three games in the current league, and there’s no real merit in two of those victories as they came against the winless Gerwyn Price and Mensur Suljovic who sits one from the bottom of the table.

Certainly on stats (checkout percentages, 180’s etc) there is little to separate the pair but Smith is riding on a crest of a wave while ‘Barney’ plods on week after week like a racehorse who is ‘tripless’.

Sell Selby

If you are getting up early on Thursday morning, check out the handicap markets on Mark Selby vs Lyu Haotian in their China Open match which starts at 7.30am.

Lyu is only 20 but he made the semi-final of this year’s Northern Ireland Open. So far he has eliminated Liam Highfield and Fergal O’Brien from this competition. But it’s the poor form of Selby which makes this match of real interest. He has already been taken to 6-4 and 6-3 score-lines in China and it is fair to say his current game is poor with his long potting non-existent.

Leicester’s Jester is 1/7 to win this ‘best of 11’ match but I think he could easily drop three frames if he does win it.  And there has been a lot of huge upsets in this tournament already.

Recommended Bets

Michael Smith to beat van Barneveld                              6/4       Boylesports

Lyu Haotian (+3.5 frames) to beat Mark Selby           Prices Awaited