The Premier League returns tomorrow for 15 weeks of fierce battle but the main question is can anyone stop Michael van Gerwen?
It’s not looking likely on the evidence he showed at the Masters over the weekend when winning with a tournament average of a shade over 106.
In this short format he is likely to prove unstoppable and considering he just lost once, to James Wade on the opening night, last year it’s no surprise to see him as the odds-on favourite.
The world champion may come unstuck in the odd game but it’s unlikely to that he’ll drop too many points and when it comes to the play-offs then he’ll be at home on the O2 Arena stage.
It will take a mammoth effort to stop him but the question is who will he face in the final come May?
There is no place for sentiment when it comes to betting and there is no chance there will be any here despite this likely to be Phil Taylor’s final Premier League after he announced that this would be his last season on tour.
However I can fully see that this is going to be an MvG v Taylor final come May.
When you look at the main threats to van Gerwen there are two names that spring to mind – Gary Anderson and Phil Taylor.
So with this being a league format and each player likely to met twice, if they get past Judgement Night, then you have to work out who is most likely to pick up those wins.
Last season Taylor beat Anderson in both regular season matches, then also in the Semi-Final. Overall the Power has a good record against the Scot with 38 wins from 53 meetings.
Taylor has got new darts for this final season and the Unicorn designer has in his words ‘finally listened’ to the style of what he wants with the thick barrels.
However at the Masters it was Anderson who came out on top in the Semi-Final’s despite Taylor’s fightback. I just feel that in this league format of ‘Best of 12’ format it suits Taylor down to the ground plus Anderson can be a slow starter in matches, which means he has ground to make up.
At 4/1 with Betway I’d be looking at Phil Taylor To Reach The Final in his final Premier League campaign and make it nine finals out of 13.
To Reach The Semi-Final
Well I’ve mentioned by Final being Michael van Gerwen against Phil Taylor and in this market you can back MVG at 1/20, that’s how sure they are, and Taylor is 5/4 with Betway.
Gary Anderson has to be a player but no point backing him at 1/5, so where does the value lie in this market?
I’d be looking to take Peter Wright on in this market too. He narrowly missed out on reaching Play-Off night last year but I don’t necessarily feel this format suits him, he’s another player better over longer matches, so we could see him dropping some points early on. He’ll need to win more than the six matches he did last year, so take him on considering he’s priced up at 4/6.
One man worth playing in this market is the 2012 winner Raymond van Barneveld.
He looked refreshed on Friday for the start of the Masters and sounded confident in his ability to mix it despite what he said in the ‘heat of the moment’ of getting knocked out of the World Championship despite an incredible performance.
The Dutchman is scoring better than in previous seasons and that is something vital against the likes of MvG and Anderson especially.
His performances in last year’s campaign were below par but he definitely ended the year well at the Worlds despite his Semi-Final exit, so if continuing in that vein of form he’ll go close to taking that final Play-Off spot ahead of the Adrian Lewis or Dave Chisnall.
Raymond van Barneveld to Reach the Semi-Final (9/4 – Various)
Premier League 2016 saw 425 maximums in total with Michael van Gerwen coming on top of that list with 62 and it’s no surprise to see the Dutchman being the 5/4 favourite in this market.
He managed to hit ten more than Phil Taylor and Peter Wright who both ended on 52, so instantly there are three names to consider in this market.
But one man who never got going in last year’s campaign is a player in this market.
Dave Chisnall was eliminated on Judgement Night after just nine weeks following a dismal display that saw him pick up just three points in one win and a draw.
However the man from St Helens still managed to hit more maximums than three other players and now his life can settle down following his marriage last month he can challenge for a Semi-Final spot.
We know his doubling can be sketchy, so if he practices hard on them then he is a big player because we know he has the scoring power in his game to cause damage even to the big players.
Remembering back to the Worlds he managed 23 maximums in his Last 16 & Quarter Final matches whilst he managed seven in 15 legs in defeat against van Barneveld at the Masters.
I can’t see Chizzy getting relegated this time around meaning he should play in the 16 weeks and if he does then that will mean he’s a big player in this market given his power scoring and how he groups his dart when things are going well.
Dave Chisnall Most 180s (13/2 – Coral)
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