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Michael van Gerwen is playing incredible darts right now and it may be worth a speculative bet on Mighty Mike throwing a nine-dart finish in his PDC Premier League Darts match versus James Wade at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester.
Van Gerwen has thrown four nine-dart finishes in matches on live television, including a perfect game against Wade in the 2013 PDC World Darts Championship semi-finals when he struck 180, 177 and 144, checking out on double 12 to the delight of the capacity crowd at London’s Alexandra Palace. He followed that up with 8 more perfect darts in the very next leg before agonisingly missing the final double for an unprecedented back to back nine-dart finishes (see below)
Nine-dart finishes used to be as rare as hen’s teeth – John Lowe threw the first televised perfect game in 1984 and there were just two in total during the 20th century – but the sport has gone to a whole new level in recent times, particularly since the mid 2000s. There have been half a dozen nine-dart finishes in PDC Premier League Darts matches since the hugely popular competition got under way in 2005.
Van Gerwen is in the form of his life. Van Gerwen has lifted from the disappointment of losing to Gary Anderson in the 2015 PDC World Darts Championship semi-finals to dominate the PDC program, taking out the latest event in Gibraltar. Van Gerwen has won six and drawn two of his eight PDC Premier League Darts matches, with his one and only poor performance resulting in a 6-6 draw against Peter Wright. Van Gerwen annihilated his Dutch compatriot, Raymond van Barneveld, in the eighth round of PDC Premier League Darts matches, winning seven legs to two with a 108.71 average.
Several bookmakers, including Bet365 and WilliamHill, are offering odds of 20/1 21.00 +2000 20.00 20.00 -0.05 that van Gerwen gets the Manchester crowd off its feet to acclaim a nine-dart finish when he plays Wade. Van Gerwen has won nine of his last 10 matches versus Wade so Mighty Mike will step up to the oche with confidence coursing through his veins and he has been threatening to throw a perfect game throughout 2015.
Van Gerwen has been one throw short of a nine-dart finish on eight occasions this year, including during his PDC Premier League Darts demolition of van Barneveld. Van Gerwen missed double 12 with his ninth dart of the second leg before he returned to the oche to sink double six with his 10th arrow. Van Gerwen went close to a perfect game not once but twice during the PDC Gibraltar Darts Trophy as well, failing to hit double 12 against Brian Woods and Jamie Lewis.
One used to think that bookmakers were having a laugh in quoting odds of around 20/1 21.00 +2000 20.00 20.00 -0.05 about a match featuring a nine-dart finish but the standard is so high these days that the act is commonplace when the top guys take on each other. Van Gerwen is not the reigning world champion but, if one polled the darts community about the identity of the best player currently, Mighty Mike would come out on top.
Van Gerwen is two points clear at the top of the PDC Premier League Darts ladder, he has thrown a competition-high 30 180s despite playing the fewest legs and his checkout percentage is a remarkable 47.37. Van Gerwen is in the sort of form that he wishes he could bottle and save for the big tournaments on the darts calendar because, when he plays to his potential, no-one – not even Taylor – can go with him.
One should note that the odds of 20/1 21.00 +2000 20.00 20.00 -0.05 refer to a nine-dart finish by either van Gerwen or Wade so, if you decide to bet, you have The Machine on your side as well as Mighty Mike. Wade has thrown two perfect games live on television. It’s basically a freeroll on Wade as the best price for van Gerwen to hit a nine-dart finish is also 20/1 21.00 +2000 20.00 20.00 -0.05 with Coral.
Don’t forget to check out our other Premier League Darts article for more top tips on this week’s action in Manchester.