The Premier League Darts tournament is underway, and after three nights of action we can take stock and look at the outright markets. The competition, which is televised each Thursday night on Sky Sports, runs from February through to May.
During the first nine weeks of the tournament each player plays the other nine contenders once, with the bottom two eliminated on Judgement Night on 30th March. During phase two of the competition each player plays the remaining seven players once each again, until the top four in the league table finish with semi finals and the final on play off night on the 18th of May.
It will come as no great surprise that Michael van Gerwen is the odds-on favourite to defend the title he won last year by beating Phil Taylor in the final. Indeed, the Dutchman has appeared in each of the last four finals – winning twice and losing twice. It’s difficult to propose a bet at such a short price for a long tournament, and most bookies are offering 1/3 of the odds for a top two finish. Essentially that means if you can find the other finalist, you’ve got an odds-against bet about a top two finish.
The Story so Far
Predictably van Gerwen heads the table with five points from two wins and a draw. He opened his account with a point from a 6-6 draw with Gary Anderson, but has beaten Peter Wright 7-3 and Jelle Klaasen 7-4 in the last two weeks to rise to the top of the standings.
Phil Taylor is matching him for pace though, with the Power also on five points after beating Chisnall and van Barneveld and being held to a draw by James Wade. The Stoke ace is also matching Mighty Mike for stats, with both recording a leg difference of +7, and both winning a total of 7 legs against throw. Van Gerwen leads the table by virtue of an incredible 105.32 average, compared to Taylor’s 94.77.
Jelle Klaasen brings up the rear with zero points from his three matches, while Dave Chisnall and Adrian Lewis have already lost two of their three matches each.
Taylor to end on a high?
Phil Taylor has announce that he will retire from the sport at the start of 2018, and while plenty of sentimental punters will back him, there’s a bit of value about odds of +1200 with BetVictor and 888Sport.
It’s true that this is the first time in Premier League history that Taylor qualified for the tournament as a wild card after slipping out of the order of merit. However, one suspects that if he is true to his word about stepping back from the game, he will be desperate to end an illustrious career on a high.
He’s started the competition in decent form, taking out 121 and 118 in the 7-3 defeat of Dave Chisnall on the opening night in Newcastle. The Power was held to a draw by James Wade the following week in Nottingham, before a renewal of his great rivalry with Raymond van Barneveld in Leeds last Thursday night. Taylor emerged the 7-4 victor after an entertaining match, and he has set himself up for a good season in the competition that he has won a record six times in twelve years.
The Wright stuff
Wright has been unfortunate to a degree in that he’s finished runner-up in seven tournaments in the last three seasons – six times running into van Gerwen in the final and once Phil Taylor. He lost each of those finals, but has performed with consistency – especially over the last year or so.
The colourful player averaged over 100 in each of his three 2017 World Championship matches, leading up to a quarter final with James Wade in which he averaged 104.79 in a 5-3 win. That set him up for a semi final against Gary Anderson, which proved a step too far as he lost 6-3. However, his current world ranking of number three is the highest he’s ever been, and he should give us a very good run for our money.
Phil Taylor to win the Premier League – Each Way
Peter Wright to win the Premier League – Each Way
Once or twice per month we will provide you with the latest sports tips and keep you updated about the biggest events.