Gary Anderson v James Wade
Gary Anderson must get at least a point against James Wade to stand any chance of prolonging his 2013 Premier League campaign. After last week’s defeat to Wes Newton the Scot is now rooted to the bottom of the table.
James Wade, on the other hand, recorded a brilliant win over Michael van Gerwen last week and is now one of four players at the top of the table with 10 points.
One thing in Anderson’s favour is his impressive head-to-head record against Wade, having won 15 of the 21 matches played, including seven of the last eight.
The Flying Scotsman has, in the past, produced the goods when his back has been up against the wall. At odds of 3.4 to win this match it’s worth taking a chance on him doing so again.
Best Bet: Anderson to win @ 3.4
Phil Taylor v Robert Thornton
Robert Thornton was in sublime form in his home country last Thursday, producing a remarkable 107 three-dart average on his way to battering Simon Whitlock 7-1.
Phil Taylor also turned on the afterburners with a 102 average to beat Raymond van Barneveld 7-3. Many, myself included, anticipated a close match between two old foes, but Taylor did what he so often does and stepped his game up a notch.
The Thorn had beaten Taylor twice in a row in front of the cameras last season, but the Power has since restored his authority with back-to-back wins in Players Championship events then a 4-0 demolition of the Scot at the World Championships.
Both men are playing well and I expect each will in fact be looking forward to this match. The draw looks a good bet at odds of 5.5, but better value is the 2.1 on more than 6.5 180s in what could be a long match.
Best Bet: Over 6.5 180s @ 2.1
Wes Newton v Andy Hamilton
Like Anderson, Wes Newton must also get at least a point here if he is to stand any chance of avoiding relegation from the Premier League in his debut season. The Warrior kept his chances alive with an unlikely win against Anderson last week, but his success was due more to his opponent’s incompetence on the doubles than any sort of rejuvenation in his own game.
Andy Hamilton, meanwhile, allowed his form levels to dip in going down 7-4 to Adrian Lewis with a sub-90 average. The Hammer rarely produces back-to-back poor performances though and at around the even money mark he looks a solid bet.
Best Bet: Hamilton to win @ 2.0
Michael van Gerwen v Simon Whitlock
Simon Whitlock could be safe by the time his match against Michael van Gerwen comes around. But should either Anderson or Newton pick up a single point, then he will need to take something from this game.
MVG did little wrong in defeat last week as he averaged well over 100 but lost 7-4 to an inspired Wade. The Dutchman will be confident that if he does the same against a struggling Whitlock, then he’ll add another two points to his tally this Thursday.
The youngster has won the last four matches between the two and can go on to make that five here. The Wizard’s hopes of prolonging his participation in the 2013 Premier League rely more on the fortunes of his fellow relegation contenders.
Best Bet: MVG -2.5 legs @ 1.80
Adrian Lewis v Raymond van Barneveld
Three wins and a draw in his last four matches have all but staved off the threat of relegation for Adrian Lewis. Jackpot has managed to find a way to win games at just the right time in this tournament and could yet go on to achieve a top-four finish and then perhaps even win the Premier League.
Barney, on the other hand, has at no stage had any concerns about relegation. The Dutchman will be disappointed with not keeping closer order to Taylor last week, but the fact that he averaged over 100 shows that there isn’t a great deal that he needs to change.
On paper this looks like it should be a relatively routine victory for Barney. But Lewis is developing an uncanny knack of hitting doubles when it matters and winning legs when he needs to. I’ll take my chances at the bigger odds.
Best Bet: Lewis to win @ 2.8