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The Betway Premier League of Darts goes into its eighth week on Thursday night, and points are at a premium with Judgement night just around the corner. Next week the bottom two players in the league table will be eliminated as the competition moves on to the final six league nights, when the remaining players will face each other once again. It’s as tight as ever at the foot of the table, and there are several players who need points to secure Premier League survival.
The action from week seven came from the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, and we were close to a clean sweep with our tips on van Gerwen, Anderson and Taylor to win. Just Phil Taylor let us down as he somehow lost to Raymond van Barneveld, despite posting a 115 average – the highest ever losing average in a televised game.
The first two matches of the night ended in draws as James Wade and Adrian Lewis fought out a tense opener, and Peter Wright staged an epic comeback from 5-1 down against Stephen Bunting to draw 6-6. Raymond van Barneveld then completed the shock of the night as he played a superb match to beat Phil Taylor 7-4, in spite of the Power’s historic average. Gary Anderson beat Kim Huybrechts 7-5 with the vocal Glasgow crowd behind him, and Michael van Gerwen celebrated his weekend Gibraltar Trophy win by beating Dave Chisnall 7-4 in the final game.
With just one more game left after thursday night – on Judgement night in Manchester next week – the action this week is crucial for the players at the bottom of the table, and at the moment Kim Huybrechts looks to be in the worst position. He’s bottom of the table with three points, but his -14 leg difference leaves him with a lot of ground to make up. Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld are locked together on five points just above him, and of the two van Barneveld could be most in danger with van Gerwen and Anderson his last two fixtures. However, his win over Taylor shows that anything can happen in the Premier League, and he can still throw his way to safety. Looking over their shoulders are Peter Wright and Stephen Bunting who are just ahead with 6 points, but if results go against them this week, it could be a tense finale on judgement night. Here are the fixtures for week eight, at the 3Arena in Dublin.
Adrian Lewis v Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting
Peter Wright v James Wade
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
Phil Taylor v Kim Huybrechts
The first of our tips is for Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis to beat Dave Chisnall, as he strives for the points he needs to stay in the league. Neither player competed for the Gibraltar Trophy at the weekend, so both should come here fit and firing. Lewis was involved in a ding-dong match last week with James Wade, and came away with a deserved point after showing signs of coming back to form. He’s been inconsistent so far this season, and has posted great results like a 6-6 draw with van Gerwen, but also some poor ones like the 7-1 defeat to Gary Anderson. However, he showed in last year’s Premier League that he responds to playing under pressure, and he’s never lost a televised match to Chisnall. Chizzy had a superb start to the season which saw him storm to the top of the Premier League; the 7-2 victory over Gary Anderson a highlight. However, he’s posted two poor performances in the last two weeks, with defeats to Stephen Bunting and Michael van Gerwen, and the purple patch looks to have come to an end. He’s third in the table and is already assured of a place in the league beyond judgement night, so Lewis is taken to play with more intensity and land the odds.
Our other tip for the night is an outsider in the shape of Peter Wright, who will be desperate to get the better of James Wade and grab a crucial three points. Both men drew their matches last week, with Wade battling out the opener with Adrian Lewis, and Wright coming from behind to snatch a point off Stephen Bunting. Snakebite is now unbeaten in five Premier League matches, including creditable draws against van Gerwen and Taylor, but still finds himself fourth from bottom of the league with just six points. Wade is only one point ahead with seven, but that’s probably enough to see him safe in the table. He reached the semi-final in Gibraltar in defence of the trophy he won last year, but lost 6-2 to Terry Jenkins. Peter Wright made an earlier exit in the second round, but will be hoping to recapture his Premier League form here. It’s a risky bet because James Wade has much the better of the head-to-head between the two, but there’s been little between them this season, and this promises to be a competitive match. Wright can be expected to come out all-guns-blazing as he knows he need the points to secure his place in the Premier League, and he will want to avoid a potential play-off against Adrian Lewis, who is his opponent on Judgement night.
We’re taking both players to avoid a last-night drama by getting two points tonight, and for those that like a double the best odds are:
Premier League Darts, Thursday 26th March, 3Arena Dublin