James Wade v Adrian Lewis
Something of a grudge match to kick off the evening as James Wade and Adrian Lewis each look to bounce back from defeats in week two. These two have had some infamous run ins in the past, none more memorable than Draftgate at the 2012 World Championships semi-finals where Jackpot came back from 5-1 down in sets to win 6-5 following a break in proceedings, after complaints from the defending champion about a breeze blowing across the stage.
The pair have met four times since then with each winning twice, including a victory apiece in the Premier League group stages last year.
Lewis has yet to pick up a point in the tournament this year, but he’s looked in better nick than Wade who was fortunate to meet a drastically out-of-sorts Wes Newton in week one and was then comfortably beaten by Andy Hamilton seven days ago.
Recommended Bet: Lewis to win @ 2.15
Robert Thornton v Wes Newton
Next up on the night are two Premier League debutants that have endured drastically contrasting inaugurations into the most attended event in the PDC.
History tells us that players can either thrive or crumble under the intense scrutiny of this competition. Robert Thornton appears to be falling into the former category, with Newton looking like he could quickly become assigned to the latter.
Having already beaten The Hammer on night one, then taken a point from one of the tournament favourites in Michael van Gerwen last week, Thornton has all the momentum needed to beat Newton with ease. The Warrior looks out of his comfort zone in this tournament and there’s no more ruthless a place in darts than the Premier League.
Recommended Bet: Thornton to win @ 1.95
Simon Whitlock v Phil Taylor
Usually one of the most consistent players on the circuit, Simon Whitlock has looked a little out of sorts in the opening two weeks. There was nothing to get excited about when averaging 88.89 to beat Lewis in week one and there was a faint ringing of alarm bells to be heard when his averaged dipped even lower in defeat to Gary Anderson last Thursday.
The last thing that any player wants or needs when their game isn’t at its best, is a match with Phil Taylor. The Power is not one for going lightly on an opponent and will want to twist the knife with an emphatic victory.
Having been kept at arms length by MVG on night one, Taylor was back to his clinical best last week, checking out at a brilliant 70%. The 16-time World Champion could win this one at a canter and therefore should be backed in the handicap accordingly.
Recommended Bet: Taylor -2.5 sets @ 1.80
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
They’re saving the best until second last this week. Or at least I think that’s how the saying goes. MVG meets Raymond van Barneveld in an all-Dutch affair for the penultimate match of the evening.
Only a matter of months ago it appeared that Van Gerwen would be the new undisputed king of Dutch darts, and it may still be the case that he is the better of the two - the rankings certainly suggest so. But Barney isn’t done yet, not by a long stretch. He’s averaged over 100 in each of the opening two weeks, and he’s done so whilst not even appearing to be in top gear.
Considering Barney’s form and the fact that MVG has yet to pick up a win in the Premier League, I don’t believe the youngster should be favourite here. The Draw No Bet market offers a little extra insurance for those not entirely convinced.
Recommended Bet: Barney Draw No Bet @ 1.98
Andy Hamilton v Gary Anderson
The final match of the evening sees the mechanical, workmanlike Hamilton take on the flowing, natural, easy-on-the-eye Anderson. A player who builds his game on taking out doubles, versus one who regularly struggles to hit the outer ring no matter how many chances he is afforded.
The point is that the Scotsman allows himself the opportunity to miss so many doubles, because he is so prolific on the treble 20 bed. Last week he hit three maximums and 11 140s, but only 25% of his doubles. Compare that to Hamilton who hit only one maximum and six 140s but 64% of his doubles and it’s easy to see why these two players are pigeonholed with their respective reputations.
Recommended Bet: Anderson to hit most 180s @ 1.90