Welcome back to OpenOdds’ weekly Darts round-up, giving you all the information you need on the darts scene from the past week, and tips on what’s going on in the week to come. This week, we’ll look at how Michael van Gerwen took a big step forward in the Premier League of Darts, round up the rest of the results and preview the coming week’s matches with the help of our Odds Comparison tool. We’ll also have a look at a big announcement for this season’s Champions League.
Week Two of the Premier League is in the books, and with it a range of stories, from van Gerwen’s second consecutive win to a surprise Lazarus performance from the man everyone thought was dead and buried, Raymond van Barneveld. It also marked the first appearance on the PDC big stage for reigning BDO Champion Glenn Durrant; we’ll see shortly how he got on in his guest spot. But first, the headline news from the Champions League of Darts.
Leicester To Host 2019 Champions League
The Morningside Arena in the heart of Leicester’s de Montfort campus is best known as the home court of basketball’s Leicester Riders but, for a couple of nights in October, it will host the top eight players from the PDC Rankings in this season’s Champions League. The title, held by currently-injured star Gary Anderson, will be contested across the nights of the 19th and 20th of October, and is the one major trophy in top-flight darts never to have been won by Michael van Gerwen. Will his name, or any other new one, be etched on the trophy alongside those of Anderson, Phil Taylor and Mensur Suljovic? Probably, but we’ve got eight months to wait and see.
Darts fans in the area could be in for a share of a pretty decent cash prize, as tournament sponsors Paddy Power have put up a pot of £100,000 to be split equally between everyone in the arena if a nine-dart finish is achieved. As the arena holds approximately 3,000 spectators, that’s not a bad payoff for the privilege of watching the PDC’s elite trading throws.
Van Gerwen Retains 100% Record in Premier League
It’s becoming a bit of a cliche that Michael van Gerwen is the dominant force in PDC darts, but for as long as the facts keep pointing that way, it’s hard to avoid talking about it. So it’s our duty to mention that after two weeks of Premier League play, the Dutchman is in possession of the only 100% record in the Unibet Premier League. He was a comfortable winner over Suljovic, winning their contest by seven legs to three and moving clear on four points at the top of the table, ahead of Gerwyn Price and co.
Van Gerwen is now odds-on to win the Premier League, so unless you can find an Odds Boost somewhere he’s more or less unbackable. MvG will face a sterner test this week in Dublin, as the fixtures pit him against Rob Cross. Cross followed up his tense first-week draw against Peter Wright by out-darting James Wade 7-4 in Glasgow, and sits a point behind the reigning champion – Unibet have the Englishman at 9/2 to spring a shock and beat van Gerwen, but you might be better advised getting on the draw at 17/4 with the same bookmaker. Unbeaten through two weeks of very challenging darts, we wouldn’t back Cross to beat the best player in the world, but he should be taken seriously.
The Price of Complacency? Gerwyn Held by Barney
After winning his first-week contest with Daryl Gurney, and raced out to a 6-2 lead over Raymond van Barneveld, dreams of sharing top spot for another week must have played across the mind of Wales’ Gerwyn Price. The impetuous star, who has attracted criticism and a substantial fine for his lack of on-stage decorum, may have learned that there is an additional drawback to adrenaline poisoning in the world of darts as he spurned this four-leg lead to allow the former World Champion to fight back for a draw.
Price missed three match darts while leading 6-3 and, in the final leg, had a 144 checkout for the win but missed the double 12. This week, he will face James Wade, who’s looking to bounce back having won in Week One and lost in Glasgow. 888 have the Welshman as 13/10 favourite, but given his chequered history with the Premier League (not a single match won in 2018, and then the recent snafu against Barney), we wouldn’t be so confident. The 6/4 odds on Wade to take the points in Dublin look like decent value to us.
Durrant Disappointed In PDC Bow
It’s early days for Glenn Durrant at this level of competition, and the step up from BDO to PDC is famously steep, so Durrant will evidently try not to be too discouraged by the resounding defeat he suffered to Daryl Gurney in Glasgow. Having trailed 4-0 after missing doubles in the first two legs he did his level best to make a match of it, rallying to take three of the last six. One of the key differences between the two federations is the inescapable fact that you can’t afford to throw away a single chance in the PDC, a lesson Durrant has now learned the hard way. For Gurney, the chance to get a win on the board after losing to Price in Week One was a chance he wasn’t going to let go.
In Dublin, the revolving guest seat passes to Irish young ‘un Steve Lennon. The 25-year-old faces Peter Wright, who has opened the campaign with consecutive draws. Facing the World Number 38, Wright will hope to justify the huge favourite’s tag at 8/15; you can, however, get 4/1 from Betway on a third consecutive draw for the flamboyant Scotsman. It’s not out of the question that he could be held again, particularly if Lennon can feed off what will be a partisan home crowd.
In the other two matches of Thursday night’s play, Suljovic and van Barneveld will face off, both looking for their first win of a campaign that has them pinned in last and second-last spots. The Austrian is comfortable favourite with the majority of bookmakers having him odds-on to win. Meanwhile, World Championship runner-up Michael Smith will look to make up for taking one point from two immensely tricky opening fixtures by finding a win against Gurney – a result he should be able to pull off.