Premier League Darts: Finals Night Preview

A long period of PDC darts is finally coming to an end and after an initial entry of ten throwers, we are now down to the last four. As expected, Gary Anderson took the one remaining play off place last week so we now cross to the O2 Arena in London where three games will give us our Premier League Champion for 2018.

The semi final draw has been made so we will assess those two games after a quick recap of the outright winner betting.

Outright Update

Michael van Gerwen

Michael Van Gerwen has been favourite for the title since the very start and despite losing to Anderson last week, the Dutchman remains a short odds on pick at best odds of 8/15 with Ladbrokes and Sun Bets. MVG topped the regular season table but has shown that he isn’t unbeatable – winning 11, losing four and drawing one of his 16 matches.

Gary Anderson eventually finished third in the table but he’s a clear second favourite in the outrights at a top price of 4/1 with Betway and SportingBet. The Flying Scotsman left it until last week to confirm his place in the final four but finished with a respectable record of eight wins, three draws and five losses.

Rob Cross’ record in the regular season was identical to that of Anderson but he slipped back into fourth based on leg difference. The World Champion’s Premier League form was ‘up and down’ and he now finds himself as third favourite for the title at 7/1 with Unibet and 888Sport.

Second placed Michael Smith started the season with a run of victories and he maintained good form throughout the campaign to finish with nine wins, two draws and five losses. Despite that impressive performance, there has been little support for Bully Boy among the bookmakers and he is our outsider at 12/1 with William Hill and 188Bet for the Premier League title.

Those are the outrights as we head into our final week of action so let’s now take a look at the semi final pairings.

First Up

Rob Cross

The first match of the evening sees Michael Van Gerwen take on Rob Cross and needless to say, Mighty Mike has a clear lead in the straight result betting. MVG starts as favourite to make it through to the final at best odds of 4/1 with Boylesports while Cross follows at 37/10 with Sport Pesa.

Remember, the draw is no longer an option at this point in the competition: The semi finals are the best of 19 legs while the final itself is the best of 21. In the regular campaign, Cross lost heavily to Van Gerwen by seven legs to two in week 13 and by the same scoreline when the season opened in Dublin so based on form, it’s hard to argue with those odds. It is being reported that Rob Cross is getting plenty of support at 37/10 but he would need to be back to his World Championship best in order to convert a profit.

Second Semi

Michael Smith

The second semi final of the evening is between Michael Smith and Gary Anderson and once again we have a clear favourite. Flying Scotsman Anderson is out in front here at best odds of 2/5 with Unibet and Betway while Bully Boy Smith is very much the outsider at a top price of 23/10 with Boylesports.

Smith was visibly struggling with illness during his 6-6 draw with Raymond Van Barneveld last time out so we must firstly hope that he’s fully fit but what about the head-to-head results?

In the group stages, Smith edged past Anderson by seven legs to five in week one but the Scot got his revenge with a 7-2 victory in week 11 in Rotterdam. Mixed results but do they suggest that this match may actually be closer than the result betting indicates?

Verdict

We’ve seen plenty of surprise results in the 2018 edition of darts’ Premier League but with the format extended in the semi finals to best of 19, there is less scope for the odds to be upset. As we mentioned, Rob Cross is getting plenty of support from punters but he has performed poorly against Van Gerwen in this competition and we certainly think that the first game should go with the favourite.

The clash between Smith and Anderson is less clear: Anderson has landed a number of tournament wins since the start of 2018 but his form has been mixed in this particular competition. However, over an extended format we expect the Flying Scotsman to come through leaving two favourites likely to progress to the finals.

You can take the short odds on prices on both MVG and Anderson if you want a modest return but is there any better value in the side betting? Smith has enjoyed an impressive season and could certainly offer a strong challenge to Gary Anderson so we could either look at the handicaps or the Correct Score betting.

Correct Score becomes even harder to call at this late stage of the competition but for a smaller stake, 10-7 to Anderson would be our preference at a top price of 9/1 with Boylesports. Meanwhile, we’ll just finish with a suggestion to back Van Gerwen for the outright win: He’s not infallible but has been the best player since the first dart was thrown and remains in top form on the circuit, away from this tournament.

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