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The Betway Premier League of Darts reaches its climatic conclusion on Thursday night, with the top four players doing battle in the final showdown at the O2 in London. There was no change to the top four positions after the final round of matches last week, with Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld securing their positions in third and fourth place respectively. Dave Chisnall and Michael van Gerwen had already long been assured of their place in the Play Offs, and they fought out a thrilling final night draw to confirm their places at the head of the table. Michael van Gerwen finished top of the pile once again, with Chizzy in second, and the Dutchman is the clear favourite to take the Premier League Crown.
Although there was little to play for in the final round of matches apart from deciding the final standings of the top four, it didn’t take away from the quality of the action on the last league night in Brighton. Phil Taylor opened the evening, landing the odds for us, with a 7-1 thrashing of James Wade to restore a little bit of pride after failing to make the Play Offs. The next match saw Raymond van Barneveld beat Stephen Bunting 7-4 to briefly move into third place in the table, but he was quickly overtaken again by Gary Anderson in the next match, as he prevailed 7-3 against Adrian Lewis. The final game of the night between van Gerwen and Chisnall would decide who finished top of the league, and it was van Gerwen who took the honour, after the game finished in a pulsating 6-6 draw.
The Grand Finale
All of that means that Dave Chisnall will face Gary Anderson in the first semi-final at the O2, with the two Dutchman going against each other in the second semi-final. We tipped the Dutch pair at the start of the season, with van Gerwen as a win bet and van Barneveld as an each-way shot. After this scenario became likely, we recommended trading out of the van Barneveld bet last week to make a healthy profit, with the likelihood that he will find it tough against van Gerwen. If, on the other hand, you decided to leave both bets running, you’ll be left in a position where one of your ante-post bets will definitely be competing in the final.
Van Gerwen was a best price of +250 prior to the start of the season, and if you fancy him to go on and complete the job, he is currently a best price of -110 to lift the trophy with Boylesports and Betvictor
Both semi-finals are the best of 19 legs, with the final being played later in the evening over 21 legs.
Dave Chisnall v Gary Anderson
Dave Chisnall – +150 with Betvictor
Dave Chisnall is worth backing in the first semi-final against Gary Anderson, and he looks a little overpriced to continue his fine form this season. Anderson is the reigning World Champion, and he has tons of ability, but he has been hit and miss during the Premier League season, and has been beaten twice already this term by Dave Chisnall.
Chisnall beat Anderson 7-2 when they met the first time in the Premier League back in March, and followed that up with a 7-3 win in April. He won 10 of his 16 Premier League matches and finished with a +30 leg difference, just a single point behind Michael van Gerwen. He also showed what good form he’s in when drawing with the world number one last week.
In fairness, Anderson was only two points further back, winning 9 of his 16 games, but he only had a +10 leg difference which shows how many more legs he’s been dropping against his opponents. Chisnall is absolutely flying at the moment, he’s under less pressure because nobody expected him to get here, and he can still play on being the underdog. Anderson’s class might shine through in the end, but Chisnall is well worth backing at the current prices considering his momentum and form right now.
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
Raymond van Barneveld – +300 with Bet365
The other match is a very one-sided affair – according to the bookies, at least – and they price up van Gerwen as a very short favourite to win. That’s no big surprise, as the world number one is head and shoulders above most other players on his day, and van Barneveld will be hard pressed to come out on top here, despite his excellent recent form.
After surviving judgement night by the skin of his teeth, van Barneveld has been on a remarkable unbeaten run which has seen him win six and draw one of his seven matches since then. That run took him from Premier League no-hoper to semi-finalist in the space of seven weeks, and he is a dangerous opponent on the back of that good run. He actually shocked van Gerwen 7-3 in the Premier League just a few weeks ago, so this will definitely be a competitive match.
Having said all that, van Gerwen has appeared to be on cruise control in the Premier League since it became clear he was going to qualify, and it would be foolish to read too much into that latest result. The big players turn up for the big games, and with the pressure of a knockout match, van Gerwen can come to the fore. Rather than backing him to win at very short odds, we’re opting for a handicap bet at a more palatable price. It’s the best of 19 legs, and van Gerwen looks a decent bet on the -3.5 leg handicap. He’s more than capable of winning six or seven legs on the trot when he gets into his stride, and he could run away with this match if he gets into his groove early on.
Michael van Gerwen -3.5 – +110 with Betfair
Betway Premier League Darts, Final Night, Thursday 21st May
Dave Chisnall to beat Gary Anderson – +150 with Betvictor
Michael van Gerwen to beat Raymond van Barneveld -3.5 Handicap – +110 with Betfair
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