Andy Hamilton v Phil Taylor
I predicted that Phil Taylor would ‘up his game’ for his match-up with Michael van Gerwen last week, and pick up the points required to get him back in the top four. I couldn’t have been more wrong. MVG was a comfortable 7-3 winner as The Power hit only 27% of his doubles.
Since last Thursday, Taylor has lost again to Van Gerwen in Saturday’s UK Open qualifier and then, even more worryingly, lost to PDC Youth Tour product Josh Payne on Sunday. Disconcerting times for the Power.
Stuck on 10 points in the Premier League table, alongside today’s opponent Andy Hamilton and outside of the play-off places, this is a big game for both players. The Hammer won 7-3 when they met earlier in the campaign and the value has to lie in backing the outsider to get another two points.
Best Bet: Hamilton to win @ 3.00
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen
Almost two months ago Raymond van Barneveld’s 100% Premier League record was put to bed by an emphatic MVG victory in this fixture. Now, as the table starts to take shape and the play-off places begin to become apparent, it is the youngster who tops the pile; but only by two points from his compatriot.
This should be a close match, with MVG’s win in February being his first victory over Barney in nine meetings, and one that could go either way. But I’ve seen enough from Mighty Mike in recent weeks to believe that it will be he who gets his nose in front at the business end.
Best Bet:MVG to win @ 1.80
Robert Thornton v James Wade
James Wade went from the sublime to the… not so sublime in the space of an hour or so last Thursday. He was brilliant in beating Adrian Lewis with a ton-plus average early on in the night, then later in the night he was distracted by some goings on in the crowd and averaged just 90 in defeat to MVG.
He then withdrew from the weekend’s second UK Open qualifier through illness, having lost in the first round on Saturday. Thus suggesting that he hasn’t had much time to practice recently.
The Machine openly admits that he needs to be working on the practice board in order to produce his best darts, and if he’s not at this best then Robert Thornton is just the man to take advantage in this year’s Premier League.
Best Bet: Thornton to win @ 2.65
Simon Whitlock v Andy Hamilton
Whether it’s too late to make an impact on this year’s Premier League or not remains to be seen, but Simon Whitlock is beginning to rediscover his best form. He picked up maximum points with an impressive comeback win against Thornton last week, and has since gone on to win a UK Open qualifier in Wigan at the weekend.
The Aussie beat MVG 6-1 in Saturday’s final, to back up his performance in front of the cameras the previous Thursday. He now has an ideal opportunity to make it consecutive wins in the Premier League.
Best Bet: Whitlock to win @ 2.00
Raymond van Barneveld v Phil Taylor
Barney’s inability to take advantage of Taylor’s slight dip in form around the time of their most recent meeting makes me a little cautious when approaching the betting on this one.
On form alone we should be piling unto a bet on RVB at odds of 3.00. But given that we know Barney can freeze when he comes up against The Power, perhaps the Match Odds market is worth avoiding.
One area where we can back the Dutchman, however, is in the 180s market. Even in the aforementioned 7-3 defeat to Taylor, Van Barneveld was able to hit twice as many maximums as his opponent.
Best Bet: Van Barneveld most 180s @ 1.60
Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis
Adrian Lewis is one of only two players to beat MVG in this year’s Premier League, but if Jackpot plays like he did against Wade last week then the Dutchman will be gaining revenge in Dublin this Thursday.
Lewis averaged a measly 87.83 against The Machine as he lost 7-2 in quick time, almost 15 points lower than MVG averaged in his match against Taylor immediately after.
Which is why my feeling for wanting to back Lewis makes very little sense, other than that he is more than capable and represents outstanding value at odds of 4.25.
Best Bet: Lewis to win @ 4.25