It’s play off night in the Betway Premier League of Darts, and those who followed our advice at the start of the season are sitting pretty with each way bets on Phil Taylor and Peter Wright. We backed the pair at nice odds to win the Premier League, and they meet in Thursday night’s second semi final. That means one of two will definitely take part in the final later in the evening, and guarantees us a nice return whatever the outcome. It’s a great position to be in, and with that in mind, we can take some nice odds about the outcome of both semi finals.
Michael van Gerwen finished top of the table after beating Gary Anderson 7-4 last week in Aberdeen, scooping the £25,000 league winners bonus and setting up a semi final against the Flying Scotsman who finished the campaign in fourth place. Phil Taylor fought back from 5-3 down to defeat Adrian Lewis 7-5 and take his place in the play offs, leap-frogging Anderson to finish in third spot. Peter Wright was in clinical form as he beat Raymond van Barneveld 7-1 in Aberdeen to keep up the pressure on MVG at the top of the table, but his faint hopes of winning the league were dashed with van Gerwen’s later win over Anderson. Wright had already qualified for the play offs for the first time in his fourth Premier League season, and Snakebite could hardly be in better shape going into the big night at the O2.
Anderson and van Gerwen will get proceedings underway on Thursday night, with both semi finals set to be played over the best of 19 legs. The final will be the best of 21 legs, as the two winners return to the stage later in the evening.
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
Michael van Gerwen is understandably short order to repeat last week’s win over Anderson, and better odds can be found by backing the Dutchman to cover a -3.5 leg handicap at +125 with Paddy Power.
Van Gerwen came out in typically blistering fashion to surge into a 3-1 lead against the Flying Scotsman, before Anderson rallied to pull back to 4-3. Mighty Mike then took control again, and never looked to be in danger of relinquishing his position at the top of the table.
Anderson won the Premier League two seasons ago, but fell at this stage last season when he lost 10-7 to Phil Taylor. There’s precious little to choose between Anderson and van Gerwen on this year’s Premier League figures – MVG has averaged 104.92 to Anderson’s 102.16, but head-to-head’s favour the Dutchman. He leads 27-14 overall, but has won 9 of the last 14 meetings since the turn of last year. The world number one has also covered the -3.5 leg handicap the last four times they’ve played over a longer format.
Peter Wright v Phil Taylor
Peter Wright is entering uncharted territory in the play offs, having finished 5th in the league twice in his three previous Premier League campaigns. He’s been in superb form for much of the season though, and finally landed his first major televised prize. He pushed MVG all the way to the line in the battle for 1st in the table, and is ranked third in the world compared to Taylor in 7th.
For Taylor this is a last stab at the prize he’s won six times, in what he says will be his last season as a professional. Arguably the best player to ever grace the game, his presence in the last four is a fitting way to call time on his participation in the Premier League. He was the beaten finalist last season, and knows what it takes to to win at the O2 under pressure.
The pair have exchanged victories in the Premier League this season, Taylor winning 7-5 in March before Wright turned the tables with a 7-3 win in April. On form Wright is the favourite, but his average across the Premier League is only marginally better than Taylor’s, and the Power has the better checkout percentages. It’s going to be a tight game, but the former world number one will want to go out on a high, and at the prices is a fair bet.
Michael van Gerwen -3.5 to beat Gary Anderson
Thursday 18th May, 19:15 GMT
Phil Taylor to beat Peter Wright
Thursday 18th May, 20:15 GMT