The 2018 Premier League Darts road trip heads to Arena Birmingham on Thursday evening and fans will be keeping a close eye on the action as the race to qualify for Finals night heats up.
Simon Whitlock, sadly out of contention but still in the battle to finish as high as fifth, is our top tip this week; he opens the evening against Peter Wright. Read on for a full list of my best bets ahead of Thursday’s fixtures…
Peter Wright vs SIMON WHITLOCK
Wright will leapfrog his opponent with a victory here but the world number two has failed to inspire confidence throughout the 2018 Premier League campaign and it is hard to place too much faith in him. ‘Snakebite’ is a 3/5 favourite at the time of writing; I won’t be backing him at that price.
Whitlock is still in with an outside chance of finishing fifth and that would mean an extra £15,000 in prize money. ‘The Wizard’ started the season strongly but his form has tailed off in recent weeks. He does, however, have an excellent record against Wright; losing just one of his last four matches against the Scot. He is well worth backing at 3/1…
TIP: Simon Whitlock to win @ 3/1
Daryl Gurney vs MICHAEL SMITH
Gurney knows that this is a must win game and the Northern Irishman will be going all out for the victory. He has put himself in contention for Finals Night and plenty of punters will be backing Gurney at 7/5. Both players are available at that price and this one is a toss-up depending on your view.
For me, Smith is the one to back. He has been consistent throughout the entire campaign and ‘Bully Boy’ will take some stopping in his pursuit of glory. Backing him to beat the likes of Anderson and Van Gerwen on Finals Night would be foolish but he has the class to put Gurney to the sword here. Again, he is available at a very generous 7/5.
TIP: Michael Smith to win @ 7/5
Rob Cross vs MICHAEL VAN GERWEN
This is a real four-pointer. A win for Cross will see the world champion move to within one point of Van Gerwen at the top of the table ahead of next week but defeat will leave Cross five points behind and a nail-biting night in Aberdeen. Cross has the quality to beat the world number one but will he do it? Only time will tell.
Van Gerwen is in supreme form and plenty of punters will fancy the Dutchman at 4/9 to emerge victorious. He is very rarely available at those kind of odds and fans will be lumping on the defending Premier League champion. I will be backing Van Gerwen to send out a message with a dominant triumph in this fixture.
TIP: Michael Van Gerwen to win @ 4/9
GARY ANDERSON vs Raymond Van Barneveld
Anderson is my dark horse for this year’s Premier League title. A lot of the betting focus will surround Van Gerwen and Cross but the ‘Flying Scotsman’ may upset the apple cart. The two-time world champion is building momentum at the right time and he can continue to sparkle. 8/13 isn’t the best of prices but Anderson is well placed to succeed.
If anyone can spring a shock, it is Van Barneveld. The five-time world champion is always well supported wherever he goes and that will be no different in Birmingham on Thursday night. The Dutchman has been inconsistent in 2018; sometimes he is great, other times he is not so great. Fans will be hoping that the former ‘Barney’ shows up here.
TIP: Gary Anderson to win @ 8/13
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*