What an absolutely thrilling Thursday night we had last week. The tone for the evening was set with an exciting draw between Adrian Lewis and James Wade. Lewis still hasn’t performed to his potential and I thought the ever-consistent Wade was a little unlikely not to take all the points. Another draw followed with Stephen Bunting butchering a sizeable lead to let Peter Wright back into the game. Next came… well, wow.
The greatest losing average in Premier League darts was achieved by Mr Phil Taylor against the rejuvenated Raymond van Barneveld. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such an improved performance from one week to the next. Yet again Kim Huychrechts managed to play extremely well and take nothing from the match as Gary Anderson pleased an expectant Scottish crowd. Finally, Chizzy’s inevitable slide from the top of the table has begun as MVG took him down 4-7.
This week’s action has some potentially thrilling match-ups, It should be a great evening of darts.
Adrian Lewis v Dave Chisnall
There’s every reason to be believe that Adrian Lewis is starting to find some form. An 103 average against Gary Anderson was followed last week by an 102 average against James Wade – impressive stuff. His downfall has been on the doubles, but I think it’s worth chancing that he’ll find his finishing again this week. Lewis is a quality player and pundits so regularly forget the darts that he is capable of.
Chizzy was poor last week. An average of only 90.68 is simply not good enough. He also only managed 22% on the checkouts. Although I think he’ll improve, to find 10 points in a week is some effort. I think we could see a decline in Chizzy’s form from this week onwards.
The head to head record is also promising. Lewis has won 5/6 of they meetings and significantly, all of their major/premier events.
Adrian Lewis to win (13/10 – 888Sport)
Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting
This match looks set to go to Gary Anderson. He’s possibly the best player on the planet and the moment and I struggle to see Stephen ending this run. However, the match markets are worth avoiding here. 4/6 is a very short price in the Premier League (particularly with the option of the draw) as it’s such a short format. It’s worth looking elsewhere here.
Therefore, I’m looking to the highest check-out market where I think Bunting is worth a punt. Bunting is going to chasing this game but should get a few legs on the board. He’s managed three ton-plus finishes in his last five games. By contrast, Anderson has managed just one ton-plus finish in his last five games.
This is more or less a 50:50 market. The only reason Gary Anderson is favourite is because he will in all likelihood win more legs. However, it only takes one big finish from Bunting. He will probably often find himself in the position to take out high checkouts with Anderson leaving himself a 2/3 dart finish.
Stephen Bunting to have the highest checkout (7/5 – Betfair)
Peter Wright v James Wade
This looks a really interesting tie with two players who are in good form without setting the stage alight.
James Wade has established a reputation as performing at a consistently high level every week. His last three averages have been 98+ (including two 103+ averages) and he looks to be comfortable on stage. His real strength is actually on the doubles. In the last three weeks, he hasn’t strayed below 46% on the checkouts. This is really impressive.
Despite only averaging 93. Wright managed a draw last week against Stephen Bunting. He didn’t impress with his scoring and didn’t even excel when it came to the checkouts. His resurgence in that game can actually be attributed more to the collapse of Bunting. I wasn’t impressed by Wright and think he could really struggle against the ultra-consistent Wade. I peaked last year and will struggle to replicate his successes.
The head to head record is extremely encouraging! Of the last 12 meetings, Wade has won 10 (including the last 7)! There is no reason to persuade me this run of domination will end.
James Wade to win (6/5 – William Hill)
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
A double-Dutch derby! After Barney’s incredible display against Taylor, this could potentially be a very exciting clash. I’m quite tempted to back Barney at 4/1. He’s got a fair record against MVG in Major/Premier tournaments (although he has lost his last 6 other ranking matches!) and it seems a big price considering how well he played last week! However, Barney is so inconsistent, I just can’t back him against the World no. 1. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got turned over 7-2 this week!
The highest checkout market is not worth touching with MVG the likely winner at 4/7. Last week was Barney’s first ton-plus check out in this year’s Premier League while MVG takes at least one out most weeks, but it is a short price.
The most 180s is the bet I’m recommending. I think it’s going to be pretty close between these two. They’ve both taken out 5 in their last two Premier League outings. I can see MVG dominating the 140s total while 180s will come down to a bit of luck on the wire. While this is mind, I’m going to recommend a small wager on RVB to score the most 180s. This is a speculative bet but in a match devoid of any real value, this is the bet.
Raymond van Barneveld most 180s (21/10 – 888Sport)
Phil Taylor v Kim Huybrechts
I’m really looking forward to this one – I think it could be a really excellent game with both players unfortunate losers last week.
Kim’s scoring has been really good. Averages of 98+ in his last two (and 105+ in the two before this game). Yet, he still sits at the bottom of the Premier League! Last week this was due to a combination of bad luck, a good opponent and poor finishing (25% – his worst in this year’s Premier League). However, he just isn’t playing badly enough to believe that Kim will lose by more than 4 legs to Phil.
Phil did play superbly last week. He averaged an exceptional 115! However, he still managed to lose. His c/o rate was on at one dart in three which isn’t up to Taylor’s usual standard. He’s lost his last three games and hasn’t covered this handicap until 19th February against Stephen Bunting (this was 6 major matches ago).
It’s very hard to see Taylor losing this match – Kim has actually never beaten Taylor. However, Phil would have to perform very well while Kim would have to under perform for this bet to lose.
Instead of taking Kim on the +2.5 handicap, I’m going for over 10.5 legs which also allows for a Taylor 7-4 Huychrechts victory.
Over 10.5 Legs (4/5 – Sky Bet)