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Michael van Gerwen can top the Premier League once again but will he claim the title this time?

2016 Premier League

Posted: 29.01.16 in Darts Performance Centre Blog category

Michael van Gerwen can top the Premier League once again but will he claim the title this time?

The twelfth edition of the Betway-sponsored Premier League Darts gets underway at Leeds First Direct Arena on Thursday February 4th 2016.  This year the Premier League will incorporate 16 venues and make its first visit to the Netherlands, stopping off in Rotterdam on May 12th.

The league sponsors Betway are sure to have some cracking darts special offers when this event kicks off next month so if you don’t have an account with them yet you’re advised to register your new account with Betway Sports today and you can take advantage of their superb £30 free bet!

As was the case last year Michael van Gerwen (MVG) is a very short-priced favourite in the ante-post betting lists; 11/8 is the best odds available with Skybet.  With ten wins, three draws and three losses in the competition he was the most successful player in the tournament but in the all-important ‘best of 21 leg’ final MVG succumbed to Gary Anderson by a score of 11-7.

Anderson is now a back-to-back World Champion and he will be desperately keen to add a third Premier League title to his brimming CV. Betfred say victory for the Scot in 2016 is a 7/2 shot.  As defending champion those odds look generous but on the strict interpretation of his 2015 Premier League Darts results (played 16, won 9, drew 2, lost 5) he is not worthy of his price.

Third-in, at a top-priced 7/1 with BetVictor, is Phil Taylor.  The 16-time World Champion has not started at such an outrageous price for a competition in over a decade.  But after his capitulation at the World Championships and his failure to make the final four of last year’s Premier League, the price is justified.

There’s plenty of darts to be played before we can safely predict who the semi-finalists, at London’s O2 arena on May 19th, will be. There will also be an plethora of betting opportunities on the league games broadcast every Thursday night on Sky Sports throughout the winter and into spring.

Smith has the Wright stuff on the handicap

Peter Wright squares off against Michael Smith in the opening game of the opening night.  Smith is making his Premier League debut while Wright will be trying to eradicate the memory of his ugly 7-1 defeat inflicted by Dave Chisnall on the corresponding night 12 months ago.

Smith, who made it to the last 16 of the World Championships, is my bet of the night.  However, I’ll be backing him on the handicap market in receipt +1.5 legs and not in the traditional win market.  Handicap betting eliminates the irksome possibility of a drawn match plus it means your player can lose but you will still win money.  

My confidence in the quickly improving Smith is a result of an inspection of the last nine meetings between this pair.  Wright may have won six of their nine matches but five of those have gone down to a deciding leg. Given that, and the +1.5 leg head-start, Smith rates nap material.

Michael van Gerwen v James Wade is up next.  It looks like an open goal for the Dutch player but that is reflected in his unappealing odds of 2/5. The 8pm match-up between old adversaries Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld is far more intriguing.

Taylor has some well publicised personal problems currently distracting him, Barneveld meanwhile is a proud new grandfather who, as the World Championships underlined, is enjoying a ‘baby boom factor’ which many sportsmen in many fields have attributed to an upturn in form.  At the prices and under the circumstances ‘Barney’ is the call at Coral’s 9/4.

Finally, in the nights concluding match, Dave Chisnall who is one of the highest scoring players on the PDC, is confidently expected to post more 180’s than Robert Thornton and should be backed accordingly.

Recommended Bets:

Michael Smith +1.5 to beat Peter Wright on the handicap                             8/11 Betfair

Raymond van Barneveld to beat Phil Taylor                                                 9/4 Corals

Dave Chisnall to score more 180’s than Robert Thornton                               4/5 Betfred