The Premier League arrives in Glasgow on a night where the top two clash on the oche.
World champion Rob Cross plays Gerwyn Price and he’ll look to build on last week’s impressive display, while Peter Wright will look to turn his form around against Raymond van Barneveld.
Daryl Gurney vs Mensur Suljovic
These two players are level on four points but it’s Gurney lower due to his poorer legs difference.
The World Grand Prix champion has earned his points from draws and has struggled to close out matches. He let a 3-1 lead slip last week when drawing with Simon Whitlock and he sounded upset with his performance after the game.
A 96.97 tournament average is solid plus he’s hit the most 180s with 23 to his name yet it is his doubling that his killing him in truth with just a 29.4% checkout success rate.
Mensur Suljovic lost his first three games and people were writing him off however he’s won two of his last three, including a 7-1 win over Peter Wright.
Last week he was no match for Rob Cross, who averaged 106.49 in defeating the Austrian but I do think the Austrian is a more steady option.
‘The Gentle’ has the second best tournament average at 100.21 and has the best checkout success rate of the ten players on 46.7%.
Suljovic isn’t a big 180 hitter but he’s solid around the trebles and as the doubling stats prove, he’s been the best so far.
Gurney holds the slight H2H advantage at 6-4 but there last three matches over this sort of format (Best of 12 Legs), have gone to a decider and I do expect this to be close.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this went the distance, so Over 11.5 Legs (EVS) looks fair. From an outright perspective, I’d be swayed to go by the consistency of Suljovic.
With that, the angle would be Suljovic to Win the Match, Gurney Most 180s (11/4 – Sky Bet).
Michael van Gerwen vs Michael Smith
This season’s early pacesetters face off in what could be a cracking match with plenty of high scoring.
Smith has won five of his six games with only Rob Cross stopping him so while van Gerwen has also won five matches and his only defeat came at the hands of Peter Wright.
Many will have been surprised by what Smith has achieved so far but he’s been hinting at this for a while now but when you listen to him speak, we can still expect more.
‘Bully Boy’ is only averaging 93 for the competition and has been doing what he’s needed to do to win games, so will have to find another level to continue his fine run tonight.
Unsurprisingly, MvG has the best average at 103.49 and his checkout success rate is slightly better than that of Smith’s.
These two score well but have been taking out some high checkouts but the bookies factor that in with van Gerwen.
Smith has high checkouts of 114, 124, 116 and 106, so is capable of taking those big numbers out and he’ll have to do that in this game to have any chance of stealing legs.
Smith 100+ checkout in the match (5/4 – Sky Bet) appeals on that form and I do think he’ll give MvG a right old test.
The pace at these two plays will mean this will be a very entertaining watch and it’ll help each other.
I do expect Smith to test van Gerwen but the world number one will prove to have too much for the Englishman, so MvG to Win, Score Over 2.5 180s and Checkout Over 88.5 (11/10 – Sky Bet) looks a tempting bet given how he tends to leave a few big finishers and hits 180s regularly.
Gary Anderson vs Simon Whitlock
Gary Anderson was on a great run of form before grinding out a point against Raymond van Barneveld last week.
The Scot has won four of his previous six matches in the Premier League against Whitlock and more importantly, he seems over the back problem that had been plaguing him.
His action looks so smooth but last week he did struggle to get some of the weight right with his throw with plenty of his first and second darts going low, which block the treble 20 bed.
Whitlock sits in fourth and is two points better off than Anderson. This campaign has been a bit of a renaissance for the Aussie thrower after going off the boil for a couple of years.
For this game, the market that I’d be looking at involves the ‘Wizard’. It is Whitlock Highest Checkout Over 89.5 (5/6 – William Hill).
In last week’s draw with Gurney he took out shots of 112 and 133 respectively, while in other games, he has finished 160, 106 and 92.
Sky Bet go Over 93.5 (EVS) for their bar on Whitlock’s highest finish, so that’s an either or really but I’d always go for the lower option.
This game is one where Anderson should win given he’s the slightly better scorer but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a 7-5 scoreline.
Peter Wright vs Raymond van Barneveld
This could be a hard game to weigh up and there has been money for Peter Wright to be relegated after a few heavy defeats.
‘Snakebite’ has lost his last two matches 7-1 and did play with some discomfort last week in Nottingham when beaten by Michael Smith.
After the game it came to light he had a shoulder issue and that would be in the back of my mind for this game.
Raymond van Barneveld played really well in his draw with Gary Anderson last week but he’s two points off the relegation places.
The Dutchman has been sorting out his regime and diet, as he battles to control his diabetes but last week showed that whatever he’s been altering was working.
The prices for this match do look to have factored in Wright’s shoulder problem with ‘Barney’ starting as the favorite.
If both players bring their A-games and are 100% fit then this could well be a draw given four of their seven Premier League meetings have seen the points shared.
As much as I would be looking at a win for the Dutchman, given everything we know, this game is one I’d leave alone from punting.
Rob Cross vs Gerwyn Price
Rob Cross has been starting to put performances in that prove why he’s the world champion and last week’s display was one of high quality.
He took Suljovic apart with a 106.49 average, three maximums and a checkout success rate of 78% having hit seven doubles from nine darts.
That is exceptional finishing but his scoring was back and more consistent too. If he plays that sort of game here then he’ll simply thrash Price too.
Price has earned two points so far in draws and he’s propping up the table. That’s where he’ll stay because he hasn’t been good enough to pick up wins so far.
The Welshman is averaging just 92.04, the lowest of the players. His checkout success rate is at 40.6% but only Suljovic has had fewer darts at double than Price.
It’s hard to look past a comfortable Cross win in this game. In his last four matches, Cross has hit 16 maximums, so he’s averaging four a game lately. That should see him the 180s market, so Over 3.5 Cross 180s (EVS) and Cross Match Treble (2/1 – William Hill) would be the angles to take.
These two have met twice before and it’s a win apiece, however, Price has shown he plays better on the ProTour, in events on the floor, so that isn’t something I’d factor in here.
For correct score purposes, this is the game where I’d be looking at something like Cross 7-3 (6/1 – Sky Bet).
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