Anyone who tells you that Premier League Darts is predictable needs to be shown the tape of Week Four of the 2019 edition from Exeter! Anyway, here’s our Premier League Darts 2019 week five betting preview.
Michael van Gerwen, who had beaten James Wade in 15 of their prior 16 meetings, was soundly defeated by the Machine in a 3-7 drubbing. Meanwhile Gerwyn Price – one of the most in-form players on the planet right now – was held to a draw by exciting debutant and ‘Contender’ Luke Humphries.
Elsewhere, Rob Cross improved his Week Three average by some ten points to dismantle Daryl Gurney 7-1; Mensur Suljovic ground down Peter Wright to win 7-4. Then, Michael Smith – gammy leg and all – took down Raymond van Barneveld by the same scoreline.
With four weeks of action prior to Thursday’s outing at Aberdeen’s Braehead Arena and four weeks set to follow it, the 2019 Premier League has reached its halfway stage. For some, the pressure is beginning to mount ahead of Judgment Night.
Can a Local Hero Tame Mighty Mike?
Even the very best sporting stars go through spells of relative disappointment.
Michael van Gerwen was below-par in his defeat to James Wade last time out in Exeter, and he followed that with an early exit at the UK Open at the weekend at the hands of Mervyn King.
The Dutchman has suffered these patches of wonky form rarely over the past few years, and they always have a habit of putting punters in a tight spot: will Mighty Mike snap out of his malaise this week, or will the downturn continue for a while longer yet?
This week’s Contender, John Henderson, will be hoping it’s the latter. Big Hendo, at the sprightly age of 45, will enjoy the biggest night of his darting career on home soil in Scotland, and he will be desperate to send the locals home happy.
A Lucky Call
The Scotsman is capable of a big performance, even if his usual standard is arguably a touch below what would be expected of a Premier League performer; he is, perhaps, the luckiest of the Contenders to receive a call-up.
But this will be the last match on come Thursday night, and with the Scots being some of the most vocal fans on the planet already – not least after three hours or so of tucking into Aberdeen’s hospitality – Hendo can expect a hero’s welcome.
That may just test the patience – and the confidence – of a wounded MVG, and punters are perhaps best served giving this match a wide berth.
Wright on the Money?
Scottish darts fans’ cup runneth over, with national favourite Peter Wright tackling another hero with the locals, Raymond van Barneveld.
Quite why the Tartan Army have taken so feverishly to Barney over the years is anybody’s guess, but whenever he heads north of the border the Dutchman always enjoys a rapturous response.
That must grind the gears of Wright, whose record in Scotland isn’t great. He was trounced 1-7 by Barney in Glasgow last year, and held to a 6-6 draw by Daryl Gurney in Aberdeen, as well as being held to a stalemate by Michael Smith in the capital in Week Two.
Bitten by a Snake?
Remarkably, Snakebite is one of only a select few players whose season-long tournament average is above 100 when including ProTour events, and clearly that form is good enough to beat a below-par Van Barneveld.
But does he deserve an odd-on status with the bookies, with 4/5 available from Royal Panda? Arguably not, and so some will be tempted by the 11/4 from Unibet on Van Barneveld notching another Scottish victory. The draw is available at 15/4 with Bet365.
Bully Boy Eyes Instant Revenge
The opening game of the night will see an instant replay of the UK Open semi-final between Michael Smith and Rob Cross.
Voltage got the better of Bully Boy in Sunday’s encounter, and so Smith will be desperate to exact immediate revenge on the former world champion.
Perhaps surprisingly, Cross holds a 10-3 head-to-head lead over the Yorkshireman, and oddly Smith has never beaten the folically-challenged thrower on UK soil, with his trio of victories coming in Gibraltar, Melbourne and Shanghai.
One market we would never overlook Smith in is the ‘Most 180s’ category – more on that later – but for now the match odds for a contest which looks to be a flip-of-a-coin affair are Cross at 7/5 (MansionBet), Smith at 13/8 with Betfred and the draw is priced at 33/10 (MansionBet).
Wade v Gurney
The second game of the night sees the consistent James Wade tackle the rather more mercurial Daryl Gurney.
Wade is playing some of the best darts of his life right now, regularly tossing averages in excess of a ton – unusual for him – and looking like a man re-born since the birth of his first child at the tailend of 2018.
Gurney, meanwhile, continues to confuse. In his opening trio of Premier League games, he averaged somewhere near the 99 mark and picked up a pair of wins.
But last time out he was dismantled 1-7 by Cross, barely averaging 90 and giving the impression he’d rather be anywhere else but on the oche. The Irishman is a conundrum for punters then, who can get 7/5 with Betsafe on him returning to form in Aberdeen.
Is the Price Right for the Welshman?
Pound for pound, a case can be made that Gerwyn Price is the best player on earth at this moment in time.
The Welshman is winning matches, powering in astonishing averages and benefitting from the confidence that brings; not that he was ever short of machismo, of course.
But Suljovic, with a season-long average of 98.74, is hardly stinking the place out either, and will quietly fancy bringing Price’s unbeaten run in the Premier League to an end.
This is another one of those fixtures where all three results look to be eminently possible, and again exploring the sub markets might be the best option for bettors.
This is one of those ‘trappy’ Premier League nights where no outright result can be backed with any confidence; not even a long odds-on MVG against local favourite Henderson.
And so the sub markets may prove to be the friend of punters in Aberdeen. We’ll never turn down the opportunity to back Michael Smith at an odds-against price in the Most 180s market, which we can do at 21/20 with Betfred, and we’re happy enough to take Price in the same market against Suljovic at 5/6 with Ladbrokes; the Welshman averages 0.34 maximums per leg, compared to the Austrian’s 0.20.
And we’re expecting a fantastic tussle between Van Barneveld and Wright, so taking the Over 11.5 Total Legs selection at 6/5 with Ladbrokes appears wise.