After 15 weeks of tungsten toil, the identities of the four semi-finalists of Premier League Darts 2019 are known. Here are our top Premier League Darts Finals betting tips and predictions.
On a topsy-turvy night in Leeds, Gerwyn Price fell short despite demolishing Peter Wright – his final points haul of 18 was not enough to break into the top four of the league table.
Next up was Daryl Gurney, and he held up his end of the bargain with a phenomenal win over Michael Smith, averaging 101.8 in an 8-3 triumph over the Bully Boy.
And so all the pressure was on Mensur Suljovic, who faced the unenviable task of having to beat Michael van Gerwen to secure his own play-off place.
The Gentle gave it his best shot, but MVG – with designs on finishing top of the table – showed no mercy in an 8-5 victory. Suljovic was sent packing, and Van Gerwen rose to the league summit once more.
For James Wade, the final match of the night was something of a dead rubber given that his play-off place was assured, but Rob Cross had plenty on the line: he was desperate to usurp MVG at the top of the table.
But Wade had other ideas, and while Cross blinked under the spotlight the Machine produced a typically solid performance to take the spoils 8-6.
And so the scene is set perfectly for Finals night at the O2 Arena in London. Cross and Wade will enjoy an instant rematch, while Van Gerwen locks horns with Gurney – a man he has lost to in three of their last four meetings.
Is M.V.G Feeling The F.E.A.R?
There aren’t many – if any – darts players that can boast a winning head-to-head record against Michael van Gerwen.
But Daryl Gurney has enjoyed plenty of success against the Dutchman, having done the Premier League double over him in the regular phase of the competition and besting him in the Players’ Championship Finals.
How will that affect Van Gerwen’s mindset? Well, he will be desperate to gain revenge on the Irishman, but as we know you can try too hard on the oche and it has a detrimental impact upon your performance.
In many ways, this is a free hit for Gurney. He is a 7/2 underdog with Betfred, and he can head to the O2 Arena without pressure….but with the knowledge that he has MVG’s number, to some extent.
We can peruse the stats and crunch the numbers from the league phase, but this comes down to one straight all-or-nothing knockout game.
We know that Van Gerwen can handle the pressure – you don’t win to world titles and stacks of other trophies if you can’t, but we note with interest that Daryl Gurney is fast becoming the Brooks Koepka of darts: a fairly uninteresting season that comes to the boil for the majors and the big games.
Punters can back the world number one at 1/5 with Ladbrokes; but few will be tempted to take such long odds-on given Gurney’s success against the Dutchman of late.
Has Cross Hit the Wall?
For large swathes of this Premier League campaign, Rob Cross was head-and-shoulders above the field.
But he has blinked at key times, notably in head-to-head meetings with Van Gerwen but also in Thursday’s top-of-the-table decider against James Wade.
It will be a concern for Voltage’s camp: he’s playing fantastically well, but he has come up short in the games that really count.
You don’t imagine that Wade will take a backward step at the O2, and while it’s unlikely that the Machine is aware of such things, he has won five of his last seven games against Cross in all competitions.
So do we have another fragile favourite in the betting market? Cross looks mighty short at 4/6 with William Hill, and there will be no shortage of takers for the 5/4 available at Mansion Bet on a Wade victory.
Premier League Darts 2019: Outright Winner
We can place our bets as to who we think will lift the trophy come the end of Thursday night, and for our money the smart move would be take James Wade at 7/1 with the tournament sponsors Unibet.
Michael van Gerwen will have to beat Daryl Gurney and either Rob Cross or Wade to get his hands on another Premier League title. Is he capable of that? Absolutely. Do odds of 8/15 represent fair value? Absolutely not.
Likewise Cross will have to beat a man who he lost to just one week ago in the semi-finals, before potentially tackling a player in the final who he has been defeated by in 15 out of 18 meetings.
And so Wade holds plenty of appeal given that he has wins over all three of his possible combatants on Finals night in this Premier League campaign so far. The Machine will play as The Machine pretty much always do: consistently and solidly, preying on the mistakes of his opponents.
A case can be made for Daryl Gurney, who won’t fear playing Van Gerwen in the semi-final. But it would be some feat to conquer MVG and Cross/Wade on the same night; improbable, sure, but not impossible.
There is an element of all-or-nothing about our predictions this week, but we can see James Wade doubling up on Rob Cross with a second victory in as many weeks.
But from a punting perspective, we can back Wade to lift the trophy with an each-way wager and that factors in a win over Cross to reach the final.
This is a contest which could catch light, certainly in the power scoring department, and with the possibility of plenty of legs in the best-of-19 semi-final we can take the Over 9.5 Maximums available with William Hill at 10/11.
The last trio of televised meetings between this heavyweight duo have finished 11-9, 8-5 and 7-5 to the Irishman, and those are scorelines which reflect the proximity between the pair when Gurney raises his game.
As such, we can back Gurney with a +3.5 Leg Handicap at even money with Bet365 and feel reasonably confident of victory.