The Premier League Darts campaign is starting to heat up. Two players have already been eliminated and now a crucial double header awaits in Rotterdam. Action on Wednesday and Thursday could determine who avoids elimination and who features in the playoffs.
The pressure is well and truly on after tipping a winning 20/1 four-fold last week; Rob Cross leads my top tips ahead of Wednesday’s fixtures. Let's hope that the defending world champion continues his good run of form...
Michael Smith vs GARY ANDERSON
Smith has been rather hit and miss in recent weeks. He conceded a combined three legs in victories over Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright and Raymond van Barneveld but fell short against Rob Cross and Michael van Gerwen.
When the going gets tough, Smith is prone to crumbling under pressure and this is another stern test for ‘Bully Boy’. Meanwhile, Anderson has lost just two Premier League fixtures this season and the Scot will have lots of support on Wednesday night.
One of the most liked players on the professional circuit, the ‘Flying Scotsman’ will relish the opportunity to face Smith on foreign soil; I fancy Anderson to romp to victory at a very appealing 22/25.
TIP: Gary Anderson to win @ 22/25
ROB CROSS vs Daryl Gurney
Expect fireworks in this fixture. Both players have the ability to go off and perform at a very high level and this could be the contest of the evening.
Cross, ranked third in the world, has won seven of his last eight in the Premier League and I’m siding with the world champion to notch another victory here. 17/20 is some price given his talent.
Cross’ sole defeat during his impressive recent run? A 7-5 loss to Gurney. At his brilliant best, the Northern Irishman is capable of beating anybody – it would be foolish to write him off completely.
Over 11.5 legs is another bet well worth considering in this contest; neutrals will be eagerly anticipating a fierce battle between two of darts’ in-form players.
TIP: Rob Cross to win @ 17/20
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD vs SIMON WHITLOCK
This encounter doesn’t really have THAT much riding on it. Barney needs a minor miracle to qualify for Finals night whilst Whitlock’s form has suffered a hit in recent weeks. Those in attendance may want to head to the bar during this one…
For me, home advantage could spur Van Barneveld on. The five-time world champion has struggled this year but the phrase ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’ springs to mind – 23/20 for a player of his calibre is well worth snapping up.
Many will disagree with this prediction given the state of the table but four points in front of the adoring Dutch crowd will just about put Barney back in contention. It probably won’t be a classic but Van Barneveld won’t care if he grinds out the win.
TIP: Raymond van Barneveld to win @ 23/20
Peter Wright vs MICHAEL VAN GERWEN
‘Snakebite’ is in a precarious position. Sitting at the bottom of the table and a fixture against world number one Van Gerwen on Wednesday night, you could forgive Wright for losing a bit of focus.
But that isn’t the Peter Wright way. He will be looking to put the cat amongst the pigeons with a shock win here – expect the Scot to try and rile Van Gerwen early on.
An angry Van Gerwen is a dangerous Van Gerwen though. The world number one, currently top of the Premier League table after losing just once so far this season, is at the top of his game at this moment in time.
8/11 for ‘Mighty Mike’ to win by three legs or more looks well priced ahead of this contest. It is do or die time for Wright and the omens are against him.
TIP: Michael van Gerwen -2.5 handicap @ 8/11
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*