Van Barneveld v Whitlock
Raymond van Barneveld was in scintillating form at the weekend as he hit a nine-darter on his way to back-to-back tournament victories in the UK Open qualifiers in Barnsley. The Dutchman has found a new lease of life in the game this year and is being rewarded for the hard work he is putting in on the practice board.
His opponent this week, Simon Whitlock, won’t be disappointed with his efforts so far this season either as he sits second top of the Premier League table with just four weeks to go. A win for either man would put them in the driving seat for a semi-final berth.
However, neither man could manage victory when they met on the opening night of the season and it is perhaps best to keep the 7-7 scoreline on side here. Barney is made the slight underdog in the betting and that doesn’t sit quite right with me given the form that he showed at the weekend and his consistency in this competition so far. Back the Dutchman in the Draw No Bet market.
Van Barneveld to win (Draw No Bet) @ 1.9
Anderson v Painter
Gary Anderson’s defence of his Premier League crown has been, to all intents and purposes, a pitiful one. The untimely death of his father, combined with a troublesome shoulder injury, disrupted the Scot’s practice regime and has left him scrapping it out at the bottom of the table.
It is a fellow ‘scrapper’ who he meets this Thursday when coming up against the notoriously gritty Kevin Painter. Painter was an 8-6 winner when the pair met on the opening night of the season and he provides a value bet to complete the double at odds of 3.3.
Painter to win @ 3.3
Wade v Hamilton
Like Painter, Andy Hamilton got off to a winning start on his Premier League debut when he beat James Wade in Manchester in week one. Since then, however, the fortunes of these two players have been hugely contrasting.
Wade has won five of his last seven matches to move into to the top half of the table while Hamilton has only won once since that opening night and is in danger of being cast adrift in the battle for a top-four finish. On recent form Wade has this one in the bag, but unfortunately for us the odds reflect this. The Machine still has one or two inconsistencies in his game so cannot be confidently backed at odds of 1.57, and perhaps this is a match where betting is best avoided.
Taylor v Lewis
The best match of the evening is undoubtedly saved until last. On the opening night of the Premier League these two players served up a match to savour as The Power came back from 6-1 down to steal a point from his fellow Stokie.
Taylor hasn’t looked back since that night and has won nine out of nine since then, most of those victories coming in emphatic fashion, while he has only dipped below a 100 three-dart average once this season.
There is, however, scope to oppose the league leader here. Lewis often saves his best for the big matches, and although that can be his downfall, it is also a characteristic that has seen him win two world titles.
Any match against Taylor is a big one, but with a semi-final place on the line this one takes on added significance. Taylor hasn’t been as ruthless in recent weeks and that could just be the window of opportunity Lewis needs.
Back Lewis (Draw No Bet) @ 4.65