The world of darts enjoyed a thrilling start to 2018 and a great story emerged as the relatively unknown Rob Cross came through from the fringes of the game to take the PDC World Championship at the first attempt.
Cross, along with nine of his fellow professionals are now preparing for the longest event on the calendar as the Premier League gets underway on February 1st. This will be the first competition without the legendary Phil Taylor but there is plenty of quality in the class of 2018 and we have five great games in store for week 1.
Before we get on to the first set of match ups, let’s take a quick look at the outright markets in the lead up to this year’s Premier League.
He was a beaten semi finalist in the PDC Worlds just a few short weeks ago but for many, Michael Van Gerwen remains the best darts player on the planet and the Dutchman is favourite to win the 2018 Premier League at best odds of 10/11 with SportingBet and SkyBet.
Having taken out that first world title, Rob Cross will attract many at a top price of 7/2 with Paddy Power and Betway while there will be plenty of support for double World Champion Gary Anderson at a best of 6/1 with MarathonBet and SkyBet.
We then have a gap before Peter Snakebite Wright comes along at 9/1 with Sun Bets and BetFred and then we are very much into the outsiders. Daryl Gurney and Raymond Van Barneveld can both be picked up at 40/1 with Paddy Power and 10Bet while Mensur Suljovic is further back at 50/1 with Sun Bets and Ladbrokes.
Bringing up the rear are Michael Smith at 80/1, Gerwyn Price at 125/1 and Simon Whitlock at 200/1 – all with SkyBet. There seems little point in considering those prices but anyone can cause an upset in a single game so let’s move on now to the first round of matches.
The evening starts in a fairly low key fashion as Mensur Suljovic takes on Simon Whitlock in the first game of the new Premier League season. The odds for this one tend to reflect the outright prices that we’ve just shown you with Suljovic starting as favourite at 11/10 with Paddy Power and 10Bet and Whitlock the outside option at a top price of 2/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral.
Don’t forget that this is perhaps the only tournament where the draw is an option. 12 sets are played and we’ve seen plenty of 6-6 final scorelines so the draw can be considered here at a best of 10/3 with Stan James and Winner Sports.
It’s not exactly a short format but that is one game that could be closely matched and the Wizard Whitlock might just offer some value at that 2/1 figure.
Moving on we have Gary Anderson against Michael Smith and this looks to be far more clear cut. Ahead of that game, Anderson is a strong favourite at best odds of 4/7 with Ladbrokes and Coral while a win for Smith is at a top price of 9/2 with Sun Bets and the draw quoted at a best of 9/2 with Sun Bets and William Hill.
As far as recent form is concerned, Smith was a second round victim of Rob Cross at the PDC Worlds although he had chances to win that game while Anderson crashed out in the quarter finals at the hands of Phil Taylor. Neither man is therefore in great form and it could be closer than the market suggests but we’ll still side with Gary Anderson.
The third game of week one could be much tougher to call as Daryl Gurney takes on Raymond Van Barneveld. In fact, you can get the same top price of 6/4 on either player with Gurney at that figure with Paddy Power and Sun Bets and Barney available at 6/4 with Ladbrokes and Coral.
For this game, the draw is made available at best odds of 10/3 with William Hill and Winner Sports so with such a tight market, a tie at six sets apiece may be worth a punt here.
The Big One
The schedulers have given us a huge clash in the first week with a repeat of the World Championship semi final at the end of 2017. Michael Van Gerwen meets Rob Cross in a match that could give us some very good pointers for 2018’s Premier League and it’s the Dutchman who starts as favourite for this one.
MVG starts at a 14/19 with 10Bet and Sport Pesa but having beaten the same opponent on the way to claiming that World Title, there will be lots of support for Rob Voltage Cross at 3/1 with Sun Bets. Once again it’s worth mentioning the draw and if the contest is as tight as that semi proved to be, best odds of 15/4 with Winner Sports could prove very profitable.
Finally, while the clash won’t exactly come as an anti-climax, Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price will have a tough act to follow when they meet in the last game of the night. Snakebite Wright is an obvious favourite to get his Premier League campaign off with a win and you can back the Scot at best odds of 4/6 with William Hill and Sport Pesa. Gerwyn Price follows at 10/3 with Paddy Power and Sun Bets while the draw is available at 4/1 with Ladbrokes and Betway.
During the early stages of the PDC World Championships we called a number of surprise results but on February 1st, week one of the 2018 Premier League may all go with the favourites. The one match with the best potential for an upset is, in our opinion, the game between Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price. Wright came so close to landing the Premier League title last year but looked out of form at the PDC World Championship and Price has a great chance to get his 2018 campaign up and running with a win.
At the time of writing, we still have the PDC Masters which gives us a good chance to assess immediate form but there are already some good prices which we can commit to and, as always, there are plenty of side bets available for each of the five games.
In terms of the nine dart finish, the game with the highest potential for this has to be Van Gerwen v Cross with two of the best darters up against each other. They could be inspired for the perfect checkout and there are excellent best odds available of 16/1 with Paddy Power.
The Correct Score option could also be a tempter for this game with 7-5 to Van Gerwen available at a top price of 15/2 with Paddy Power and Winner Sports. We think this one will be tight but that would be a perfect way for MVG to exact revenge after losing his PDC crown.
The Correct Score option can be used in any game and another potentially tight clash comes in the match between Daryl Gurney and Raymond Van Barneveld where both players have that same 6/4 win price.
Barney looks the better option and, as he went much further at the PDC World Championship, we like the look of a 7-4 scoreline in favour of the Dutchman which is on offer at 7/1 with Stan James.
It’s going to be a thrilling first week and for our first set of tips, we’ve tried to look for a balance by taking a strong favourite at a reasonable price along with some slightly longer shots that will hopefully add up to an overall profit.
Best Bets for PDC Premier League Darts Week One
- Gary Anderson to beat Michael Smith at 4/7 with Ladbrokes
- Raymond Van Barneveld to beat Daryl Gurney at 6/4 with Coral
- Michael Van Gerwen to beat Rob Cross by 7 sets to 5 at 15/2 with Paddy Power