This Thursday marks the return of Darts' Premier League which consists of 17 nights of darts from 16 venues, culminating with a finals night at London’s O2 Arena on May 23rd.
Gary Anderson has withdrawn from the competition with a back injury which has plagued him for over a year and, with PDC organisers opting to use a ‘guest player’ to replace him for each and every one of the nine Phase 1 matches, this is now a nine runner competition.
Ultimately Michael van Gerwen cannot be opposed in his quest to win this for a fourth consecutive year. But the short odds-on price makes this of no appeal.
The opening night action comes from Newcastle and we have a fair amount of recent form we can draw on as the Masters only concluded on Sunday.
MVG ran out a convincing winner and given he posted a brace of 170 checkouts in the space of two games, and was never forced to move out of third gear in winning the competition, he’s a banker bet to beat Michael Smith (as he did in the World Championship final) at 1/2 (generally available).
Gerywn Price never won a game in the Premier League last year which is a record. I don’t see that sequence being improved on against Daryl Gurney and the Northern Irish player rates next-best material. He can be backed at 11/8 with William Hill.
The recommendation is to put those two selections in a pair of trebles.
One featuring Peter Wright to win. The second - for smaller takes - a draw scenario between Wright and his opponent Rob Cross. Wright played some great stuff at the weekend while Rob Cross is on a painfully slow downward spiral. He was turned over at 3/10 favouritism at the weekend, beaten 10-6 by lowly ranked Joe Cullen.