Week nine of the Premier League Darts served up some high-quality tungsten action with the best nightly average since Aberdeen five weeks ago. Here are our Premier League Darts week ten betting tips.
The story of the night was Michael van Gerwen’s thrilling 7-7 draw with Gerwyn Price after finding himself 1-5 down; the proverbial point won, rather than two points lost.
Elsewhere, hometown boy Daryl Gurney failed to really fire in Belfast as he was brushed aside by the rampant Rob Cross, while Mensur Suljovic and James Wade’s renewed hostilities resulted in an 8-6 victory for the Austrian.
Peter Wright and Michael Smith were also locked at 7-7 and could not be separated in a result that does neither of their chances of reaching the top four any good.
There are just six gameweeks left as the competitors jostle for the play-off places, starting with the tenth night of league action in Liverpool this Thursday.
Wright on a Wing and a Prayer against Cross
Opening the show will be Peter Wright against table-topper Rob Cross.
With wife Jo recovering at home from surgery, Snakebite has been shorn of his trademark snake inking on the side of his head, and judging by his performances during her recuperation he has been bereft of something else too: two points won from three games with averages of 87, 87 and 90.
Assuming she recovers in time to attend on Thursday, you would assume there would be an improved performance from the noted emotional soul Wright, but will that be enough against a confident Cross who has eyes on winning the league phase of the competition?
The former world champion averaged 104.71 in his 8-4 triumph over Gurney in Northern Ireland – the second time in as many games he’s been the ‘away’ player, and back on home soil he will surely feel more comfortable.
Cross is available at a price of 5/6 with Ladbrokes, and that is fair enough given he has won six of his last seven Premier League outings. Wright, in danger of being cut adrift from the top four contenders, can be backed at 5/2 with Unibet.
Mensur Set to Pay the Price
Are there two more contrasting sportsmen on the planet?
Gerwyn Price, the brash body-building former rugby pro, and Mensur Suljovic, the quietly spoken, mild-mannered Austrian for whom a smile is never far away.
Those contrasting personalities perhaps account for why the Iceman defeated the Gentle in seven of their first eight meetings on the tour, although Suljovic has redressed the balance slightly in recent times with three victories in their last six.
Mensur is up to third in the league table now and will continue to chip away, and while the only stat that really matters is housed in the points column, it is notable that Price has a higher tournament average than his opponent on Thursday, more 180s to his name and a higher checkout success rate.
But darts is a funny old game, and there is a touch of the Wolverhampton Wanderers about Suljovic and his ability to wreck betting coupons when not fancied.
The Battle for Fourth Intensifies
Two players separated in the league table by leg difference alone meet in the third match of the night.
James Wade has been an almost permanent fixture in the top four this season, but some dropped points of late have left the Machine on the brink in fourth position.
And a win, with a four-leg swing, would see Daryl Gurney climb into the play-off places for the first time.
This is a tough game to call in many ways, with Wade’s form ricocheting from the sublime to the fairly ridiculous; he averaged just 85.76 against Suljovic in Belfast. But the Austrian is known for getting under the Aldershot slinger’s skin, and so we can perhaps excuse that below-par effort from the left-hander.
As for Gurney, the scene was set for a glorious victory in front of his adoring home faithful last time out, and he will have been disappointed not to have capitalised in the face of an outstanding performance from Cross.
An average of nearly 96 confirms Gurney at least turned up and gave it a go, and for that reason he cannot be discounted on English soil against Wade.
Van Gerwen Taking the Michael
There was a strange air of inevitability about Michael van Gerwen’s comeback against Price last week.
Even at 1-5 down, surely nobody with any sense was writing the Dutchman off, and he roared back to claim a share of the spoils with a 102.32 average.
Make no bones about it, MVG will hate not being top of the Premier League table – a position he has made his own in recent years – and he will be looking for a swift end to that situation on Thursday.
The final game of the night in Liverpool is a repeat of the World Championship final, and Michael Smith will be desperate for revenge on his Ally Pally conqueror.
The man from St Helens will enjoy sizeable home support, and punters should never underestimate that ‘revenge’ narrative when placing their bets. Bully Boy averaged 99 on the second night in Rotterdam, 100 in Belfast, and quite simply he is playing well enough to give MVG a real run for his money here.
The form man in the Premier League at the moment is Rob Cross, and at odds just shy of even money he has to be fancied against Peter Wright, who simply can’t buy a win.
Gerwyn Price and Mensur Suljovic is something of a ‘pick ‘em’ match, but on the evidence so far there is certainly value in backing the Welshman in the Most 180s market.
James Wade looks a fair – but unbackable price – against Daryl Gurney, while for our money Michael Smith is nicely-weighted to prevail in the handicaps market against MVG.