Rag2gar previews weeks 1 of the Premier League Darts and he has bets on Peter Wright draw with Michael Smith, Michael Van Gerwen, Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson to draw with Adrian Lewis.
Peter Wright v Michael Smith
The opening game of the 2016 Premier League sees debutant Michael Smith take on a tricky first opponent in Peter Wright. This could very well be a draw. Peter Wright is a worthy favourite, but Michael Smith has risen to number eight in the world and looks to be improving all the time.
I'd imagine the guts of the support will be for Smith coming from St. Helens, which is not too far from Leeds, but Wright is a class act who was unlucky not to make the semi-finals of the Unibet Masters last weekend. Two very capable players both in good form means this is sure to be close. Take a chance on the draw in this one.
Michael Van Gerwen v James Wade
Michael van Gerwen looked backed to his imperious best last weekend when he won the first TV major of the season, the Unibet Masters. The Dutchman threw some magic darts at times and anything close to the form he showed last weekend should be enough to get the win here. Wade has become too accustomed to throwing darts averaging in the mid-90s to compete in the Premier League this year and it seems highly probable he's going to get his campaign off to a bad start here. Take Van Gerwen on the handicaps as it's quite likely the world number one makes short work of this one.
Phil Taylor v Raymond Van Barneveld
Phil Taylor fans will be encouraged at his performance last weekend. He avenged his defeat to Jelle Klaasen in the World Championship by knocking out the quick fire Dutchman this time around. He followed that up with a very nice win against Peter Wright and came within seven match darts of beating Michael Van Gerwen. Although the defeat to MVG will have hurt, Taylor can't help but be enthusiastic about his resurgence of form. Van Barneveld on the other hand looked lacklustre in his first round defeat to Michael Smith last weekend only averaging 86. I expect Phil Taylor to win this one and I make him my bet of the week.
Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis
Both of these quality darts players looked to be suffering somewhat of a World Championship hangover when they returned to action last weekend at the Unibet Masters. Gary Anderson was beaten in the first round by a man he whitewashed 4-0 on route to his World Championship Vincent van der Voort, whilst Adrian Lewis was also soundly beaten in the first round going down 10-4 to Kim Huybrechts.
Both players will look to address this slump here as they try to recapture the form that saw them both make it to this year's World Championship final only a few weeks ago. To me this looks like another draw. They tend to feed off each other and any uptick in form is usually responded to in kind. With the short format and similar throwing styles there's every chance this one could end up 6-6.
Robert Thornton v Dave Chisnall
The final game of week one sees the out of form Robert Thornton take on the inform Dave Chisnall in what should be another intriguing affair. The pair of these had a dress rehearsal last weekend in the first round of the Unibet Masters and what a bizarre match that was. The score line reads 10-9 to Chisnall but Thornton had actually been 8-0 up in the game. Such a collapse is sure to infuriate the Scot and he will most certainly be looking for revenge here.
The problem is Dave Chisnall is playing some great darts the last 12 months and it's unlikely he will start as slow this time around. I expect a Chisnall win but considering how topsy turvy this match was last weekend I'm not going to have a bet.
1 point win P. Wright vs M. Smith to be a draw at 7/2 with Ladbrokes.
2 points win M. Van Gerwen to beat J. Wade -3.5 legs at 6/5 with Bet365.
4 points win P. Taylor to beat R. Van Barneveld at 10/11 with Bet Victor.
1 point win G. Anderson vs A. Lewis to be a draw at 4/1 with Skybet.