by Dan Roebuck
MvG To Turn Off The Power
Phil Taylor stole all the headlines last week without throwing a dart, as the 16-time world champion announced to the public that 2017 would be his last on the PDC circuit.
The Power suggested he would still play in some of the non-ranking events after next year’s world championship, but, as he admitted it has become ‘harder to get motivated’, the chances are we’ll see him less often on the oche following his ranking tournament swansong at Alexandra Palace next January.
So, should we side with the best player of his generation in the Premier League of Darts, which starts it’s 16-date odyssey in Newcastle on Thursday? Or has time run out for Taylor, who was brushed aside in ruthless fashion in last year’s final 11-3 by Michael Van Gerwen?
MvG is the 13/25 favourite with Grosvenor Sport to win a third Premier League title, and it seems impossible to argue with those odds. The Dutchman dismantled Gary Anderson 7-3 in the World Championship final in early January and, in this format of the game, it’s inconceivable he’ll miss out on Finals Night.
He trades at 2/7 to top the standings after the 15th week of action, scheduled to take place in Aberdeen, and remember only the top four in the league will play the following week in at the 02 Arena in London.
Van Gerwen has contested the last four finals, winning two. Even in defeat, he’s been good, registering a higher average in both of his final losses to Raymond Van Barneveld and Gary Anderson. The Scot is the 5/1 second favourite to win the Premier League, with Taylor 11/1 and Barney 25/1.
Anderson is the biggest danger to Van Gerwen. However, after the world number one’s win in the Masters final over his nearest market rival on Sunday night, the Dutchman now has a 24-13 superior head-to-head record over the Scot.
Can Taylor Last The Distance?
Taylor’s loss to Anderson in the semi-final in Milton Keynes on the same night reminded us of the six-time Premier League winner’s recent failings, as he led 10-9 only to capitulate 11-10. The Power, though, could be worth backing to make Finals Night at Evens, especially after his impressive last eight Masters win over Peter Wright at the weekend.
‘Snakebite’ Wright is quoted at 10/1 in the outrights and 13/25 to make the last four and warrants a mention. However, his 8-1-42 record versus MvG, along with the fact that he’s never beaten the Dutchman in a final, means we can also rule him out, leaving the route clear for Van Gerwen to reign once more.
The ten-man field is reduced to eight after week nine – Judgment Night in Cardiff in late April – with Kim Huybrechts, at 3/5, and Jelle Klaasen, at 11/10, the favourites to bow out early. Both are returning to the Premier League after an absence and both are making only their second appearance.
The Belgian is the lowest ranked player in the tournament and is taken to finish bottom after nine weeks, but it might also pay to side with James Wade, at 11/4, who has been terribly inconsistent over the last 12 months to fall at the first hurdle.
Week One Matches
Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen
A repeat of the 2017 World Championship final, in which MvG won 7-3. The Dutchman, who trades at 4/6, has now won the last four meetings between the two, and while he was beaten in Week One of the Premier League last season, 7-4 by James Wade, surely there’ll be no slip ups this time around, especially after Van Gerwen easily defeated Anderson 11-7 in the Masters final on Sunday. The Scot is quoted at 29/10, with the draw 7/2.
Kim Huybrechts v James Wade
I think Wade, a 9/10 shot, could struggle overall, but his 12-4 winning record over Huybrechts, including a 7-2 Premier League success back in 2015, should stand the Englishman in good stead for this opener in Newcastle. The Belgian can be backed at 21/10, the draw 7-2.
Raymond van Barneveld v Adrian Lewis
Barney was woeful when these two met on Week One in 2015, averaging 85.68 and going down 7-1 to a hot Lewis. ‘Jackpot’ is 11/8 in a contest the layers can’t split, with the draw 33/10, and I fancy him to start strongly again. Lewis has won his last three Week One outings 7-1, and while I don’t think it will be that easy again, the Stoke professional is still taken to claim victory.
Peter Wright v Jelle Klaasen
‘Snakebite’ has been one of the most consistent performers in the game in recent months, and, while he might not win the tournament, he should land odds of 5/9 by beating the Dutchman who hasn’t played Premier League darts since 2009. Klaasen is chalked up at 3/1, the draw 21/5.
Phil Taylor v Dave Chisnall
Taylor will get a huge cheer from the fans at the Metro Arena for his opener against Chisnall, and the 8/11 chance should be too strong for his opponent who is listed at 12/5. Taylor has won the last three between the pair and has a 4-1 record over Chizzy in this event. The draw is priced at 4/1.
A £10 accumulator on the five picks returns at £202.07 at quoted odds.
Grosvenor Sport have an enhanced accumulator on the three favourites to win the last three matches on Thursday night.
Peter Wright, Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen all to win is boosted to 4/1.
Remember, you can watch all the action from the Premier League Darts at any one of our 53 local casinos across the UK!
Image: Flickr/vinstonem (Creative Commons – Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0))