Week One of this year’s Premier League Darts competition produced four games that went to the wire. Included in those fixtures were two tied matches that finished at six sets apiece while Michael Smith and Simon Whitlock needed to go the distance to record 7-5 winning scorelines in their respective clashes.
Among those close finishes there was one exception. Favourite and reigning champion Michael Van Gerwen exacted his revenge on Rob Cross for that semi final defeat at the PDC worlds with the Dutchman coming through in a 7-2 victory.
It all sets us up very nicely for week two which heads to Cardiff for another night of drama.
Before we look at the evening’s schedule, let’s take a look at the outright tournament betting following week one’s results. Van Gerwen had been the favourite from the outset but has predictably shortened following that opening win and the Dutchman can now be picked up at best odds of 10/13 with 10Bet and Sport Pesa to take the trophy.
Cross is second favourite at a top price of 9/2 with Sun Bets and SportingBet while last year’s beaten finalist Peter Wright is back at 8/1 with Stan James and Betway. Gary Anderson is fourth favourite at 9/1 with William Hill and Sun Bets and from that point, gaps start to open up.
Back we go to Raymond Van Barneveld at 33/1 with BetBright and 10Bet before Daryl Gurney comes in at 40/1 with Ladbrokes and 188Bet. Michael Smith is at 50/1 with Betway and MarathonBet, Mensur Suljovic at 66/1 with Coral and Winner Sports, and Simon Whitlock is out at 150/1 with 188Bet.
That just leaves Gerwyn Price to bring up the rear at distant best odds of 200/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral. That’s the outrights brought up to date so what can we look forward to in Cardiff on Thursday night?
Getting us underway at 19:10pm are Michael Smith and Daryl Gurney, both of whom have points on the board after week one. Smith returned the biggest upset of the night, squeezing out Gary Anderson by seven sets to five while Gurney drew 6-6 with Raymond Van Barneveld to deliver the first draw of the evening.
For Thursday’s game, we have odds-against prices on all three outcomes with Gurney starting as favourite at best odds of 6/5 with Ladbrokes and Coral. Smith follows at a top price of 31/16 with 188Bet while the draw completes things at a best of 7/2 with Bet365 and Betway.
That could be as tight as the market indicates while the second game of the night should be more clear cut. Rob Cross was completely outplayed by MVG last week and the pressure is on the 2018 World Champion to some extent as he comes up against Simon Whitlock.
Wizard Whitlock got his Premier League campaign off to a winning start against Mensur Suljovic but is very much the outsider here at best odds of 19/5 with Boylesports while Cross starts as clear favourite at a top price of 8/13 with SkyBet.
The draw needs mentioning at a best of 41/10 with 188Bet but Cross should come through with a commanding scoreline.
Enter the Champion
With the first two games completed, defending champion Michael Van Gerwen steps up to the oche and after winning so convincingly against Rob Cross last week, the Dutchman is at a very short best price of 3/8 with MarathonBet to beat Peter Wright in Cardiff. To complete the market, the draw is quoted at best odds of 5/1 with Ladbrokes while a win for Wright is actually the outside of the three options at a top price of 13/2 with Unibet and 888Sport.
Remember that these two produced arguably the best ever Premier League final last year with Wright coming so close but based on current form, those prices look to be correct.
There are two more games to play in Cardiff and the first of those sees Gerwyn Price take on Gary Anderson. Despite that defeat at the hands of Michael Smith last week, Anderson is the clear favourite here at best odds of 13/15 with 10Bet and Sport Pesa.
Price, who drew 6-6 with Peter Wright, is on offer at 11/4 with Bet365 while the draw is on the table at a best of 62/17 with 188Bet.
Rounding off the night is Raymond Van Barneveld who is favourite at best odds of 19/17 to come through against Mensur Suljovic. The Austrian is second at a top price of 37/19 with Sport Pesa while the draw completes things here at a best of 10/3 with Bet365 and MarathonBet.
Based on early season form, RVB looks the most likely winner there but Suljovic is a threat to any player and those are good odds.
Three of the four favourites in the outright market, Van Gerwen, Cross and Anderson, should all come through this week so there is little value, although Anderson’s odds of 13/15 to beat Gerwyn Price certainly aren’t the worst.
As for outsiders coming through to deliver a better profit, Suljovic to beat Van Barneveld at 37/19 is perhaps the best of those options but otherwise it’s a case of looking to the side betting.
Correct score stakes could come into play here and with four games proving to be very tight last week, the same could happen again as we move over to Cardiff. Michael Smith versus Daryl Gurney may not be the glamour tie of the night but it’s the one we are focusing on this week. Gurney often looks like a player who could step up to compete for the big titles and he carries a reasonable win price this time at 13/10. However, to improve on that, we’re calling a correct score over Michael Smith of 7-5 and that looks a strong prospect at a generous best of 7/1 with Stan James.
- Gary Anderson to beat Gerwyn Price at 13/15 with 10Bet
- Mensur Suljovic to beat Raymond Van Barneveld at 37/19 with Sport Pesa
- Daryl Gurney to beat Michael Smith by a Correct Score of 7-5 at 7/1 with Stan James