Michael van Gerwen v Wes Newton
Michael van Gerwen’s unbeaten start to this season came to an abrupt end with defeat to bottom-of-the-table Adrian Lewis last week. Since then, the Dutchman has also lost out to James Wade at the UK Masters last weekend, although his losing three-dart average of 102.94 suggests there’s little cause for concern.
Wes Newton’s first defeat in three matches, against Simon Whitlock last week means that he is back in the relegation zone. Defeat here, with a match against Phil Taylor to come next week, would leave the Warrior staring down the barrel of relegation.
MVG has won each of only two meetings between the pair over the past two years, including 6-1 at a UK Open qualifier a couple of weeks ago. I expect a similarly one-sided affair this time around.
Best Bet: Back Van Gerwen -2.5 legs at 1.80
Adrian Lewis v Gary Anderson
Both players will come into this one high in confidence following last week’s results. As mentioned above, Lewis was a surprise winner over Van Gerwen, but it was Gary Anderson that stole the headlines as he came from behind to beat Phil Taylor.
Lewis has since gone on to reach the semi-finals of the UK Masters at the weekend, losing out to eventual winner John Part, so perhaps he will be the slightly more buoyant of the two. Anderson also lost to the big Canadian, but in round two of the competition.
Jackpot is probably a worthy favourite, but perhaps shouldn’t be quite as short as the 2.05 in the Match Odds. However, I expect it will be nip and tuck all the way, and therefore over 10.5 legs at odds of 1.80 is the bet.
Best Bet: Back Over 10.5 legs at 1.80
Simon Whitlock v James Wade
The third match of the night sees another two players coming together on the back of victories last week. Wade obliterating the previously unbeaten Thornton in the first match of the night, before Whitlock got his season back on track with victory over Newton in the finale.
Each player also reached the quarter-finals of the UK Masters at the weekend, proving that both remain in solid form. This has all the hallmarks of another cracking match-up.
At the slightly bigger odds of 2.35, however, I’m going to side with Wade. The Machine has shown signs of getting back to his very best in the early part of this year, as a new, more intense, practice regime begins to bare fruit.
Best Bet: Back Wade to win at 2.35
Raymond van Barneveld v Robert Thornton
Barney moved to the top of the Premier League table last week as he averaged over 100 for the third time this Premier League season to beat Andy Hamilton 7-5.
Thornton’s unbeaten run came to a crashing end as he was crushed 7-1 by Wade in the night’s opener. Although his losing average of 98.91 is evidence that it was more the brilliance of the Machine, than anything going drastically wrong with the Thorn’s game.
Amazingly, these two have not crossed paths at the oche for over two years, and Barney has won all four of their previous meetings. I think we can expect to see that trend continue, with the Dutchman looking relentless in pursuit of his first ever Premier League title.
Best Bet: Back Van Barneveld to win at 1.62
Phil Taylor v Andy Hamilton
Phil Taylor’s unbeaten start to the 2013 season came to an end last Thursday as he went down 7-5 to Anderson, despite leading 2-0 and 4-3 at one stage.
The Power then suffered another surprise defeat at the UK Masters on Sunday, going down 6-3 to the Hammer in a high-quality match where both players averaged well over 100.
It was only the second time in 32 matches that Hamilton had defeated the world number one and ended a 14-match losing streak. The result was certainly no flash in the pan as Hamilton had also beaten an in-form Barney earlier in the competition, and even averaged over 100 in defeat to the Dutchman in last Thursday’s Premier League.
Best Bet: Back Hamilton +3.5 legs @ 1.80