Wes Newton v Raymond van Barneveld
Raymond van Barneveld showed last Thursday night that his resurgence at the end of last season was no flash in the pan. Barney is back, and with purpose. Despite going 2-0 and 3-1 behind to Gary Anderson in Belfast the Dutchman hit back to finish with a 102.02 average - by far the best of the night.
Wes Newton’s figures, by comparison, were meagre. The Warrior went down 7-4 to James Wade with a three-dart average of just 86.59 and hitting only 17% of his doubles. Similar performances from both men could see the first whitewash of the new Premier League format.
Best Bet: Van Barneveld to win @ 1.60
Andy Hamilton v James Wade
James Wade was the benefactor of Newton’s below-par performance last week, but he wasn’t much better himself. The Machine averaged only 87.32, but did finish well, and that was what earned him the two points. It won’t, however, be good enough for him to beat Andy Hamilton this week.
The Hammer let his guard down for a short period at the beginning of his match against Rob Thornton last week and, despite a typically dogged revival midway through, it cost him the points.
Hamilton has won four and drawn one of the previous five meetings between the players, including a triumph in the Premier League group stages last year. At odds of 2.75, Hamilton is once again undervalued and therefore represents the best bet.
Best Bet: Hamilton to win @ 2.75
Gary Anderson v Simon Whitlock
Third up, another two players who had contrasting fortunes on night one, with Simon Whitlock having beat Adrian Lewis and Anderson losing to Barney. However, I’m not sure that their respective mind-sets should be too different going into this encounter.
Whitlock’s game looked a little rusty in victory, as he failed to hit a single maximum and finished with an average of 88.89. Anderson more than matched Barney in the early part of their game and was at a respectable 36% on his doubling - usually his problem area.
Again it is the bigger odds of 2.65 available on the Scotsman that entice, while there is also 1.70 available for Anderson +1.5 legs in the handicap market.
Best Bet: Anderson to win @ 2.65
Adrian Lewis v Phil Taylor
Having squeezed out a point from his opening night match with Michael van Gerwen, defending champion Phil Taylor goes into week two seeking his first win of the campaign; as does Jackpot following his loss to Whitlock.
48 meetings between the pair have produced just nine victories for Lewis, although he has lost only three (4W 1D) in the last eight clashes, and was undefeated against The Power in two Premier League meetings last season.
On current form, however, you’d have to fancy Taylor, and odds of 1.50 are more than fair. But Lewis can outdo Taylor in the 180s stakes and I like the look of 1.90 that the world number two hits the most maximums.
Best Bet: Lewis to hit most 180s @ 1.90
Robert Thornton v Michael van Gerwen
The final match of the night is the only one in which two unbeaten players are pitted together. Van Gerwen was left slightly disappointed by not taking both points from his match with Taylor last week, after having darts at doubles to win the match, while the Thorn enjoyed his Premier League debut with a good win against The Hammer.
Perhaps surprisingly, this is the first time since 2008 that the two players have met in a Major arena. Thornton won that day, but there are very few comparisons that can be made between the MVG of five years ago and the one of today.
The Thorn can run hot and cold, but if he gets it right then he’s more than capable of at least pushing Van Gerwen all the way. Let’s take a chance on the handicap market.
Best Bet: Thornton +2.5 legs @ 1.95
Follow our Premier League darts betting tips every week