Welcome to another OpenOdds Darts Round Up, which this week brings news from Week Six of the Premier League of Darts. Seven days ago, we were looking at a four-way jam at the top of the league – as we will see, two became four after a night of hotly-contested competition featuring some of the tournament favourites. There was little change at the bottom of the table, which is bad news for a former World Number One, and this week’s invited challenger found the step up to be larger than he – and our Odds Comparison tool – may have expected.
Of course, we’ll also be looking at the upcoming week in the sport, with the Premier League leaving these isles for the first time and rocking up in Germany. Another week also means another new challenger, and we’ll have a look at his chances of delivering a first win for one of the players selected to replace Gary Anderson. We’ll also take a quick look at tournament betting after a few weeks of chopping and changing at the top of the table, as well as odds on this week’s matches from the main bookmakers.
MvG back to winning ways
After a couple of tricky weeks brought Michael van Gerwen his first Premier League loss of the season and a surprise draw with challenger John Henderson, his visit to Exeter brought him up against Wales’ Gerwyn Price. Famed for his seemingly boundless self-confidence, Price would have been hoping to take advantage of the World Champion’s recent wobbly form. Those hopes did not stand up well to reality, as van Gerwyn beat his sort-of near-namesake resoundingly. Seven legs to two was the margin, and it means that the Number One has now won 14 matches out of 14 against the now-less-ebullient Price.
At Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena, MvG will face Daryl Gurney. The Northern Irishman will be feeling better after his own outing in Devon, as he broke a streak of heavy losses by pulling out a 6-6 tie against Scotland’s Peter Wright. Can Gurney throw his Dutch opponent back into the tailspin of weeks Four and Five? 888sport think not – the odds are ¼ on van Gerwen to win, with his opponent a steepling 15/2 outside bet to spring a surprise. Stranger things have happened – but not often.
Cross stays happy at the top
Although the favourite returned to winning ways last week, he was unable to shake off all of the chasing pack, with Rob Cross remaining in top form to knock off the increasingly beleaguered Raymond van Barneveld by a 7-3 scoreline. This ensured that Cross stayed level on points with van Gerwen, and the players cannot be separated by leg difference either – both sitting on +12 after six weeks. It’s a pretty impressive showing particularly from the Englishman, who was a 7-2 loser when the players met in Week Three and has bounced back with three straight wins.
Cross will now face Gerwyn Price, a dangerous contender now sitting just outside the top four. The Welshman comes into the contest as slight underdog, at odds of 13/8 with Coral against his opponent’s 6/5. The value bet there might be the Draw, which is priced at 3/1 by the same bookmaker. Van Barneveld, for his part, will look to finally pick up his first win of the campaign. He might not ever have a better chance, because…
Introducing this week’s challenger
Van Barneveld’s opponent in Berlin will be home hope Max Hopp, currently ranked three places lower in than Barney. Of course, Hopp, at the age of just 23 is on the way up, while his opponent here is currently stumbling towards retirement. Either way, the chances of a first in this season’s Premier League are substantial. Perhaps Barney will win his first match of the campaign – and make a dent in the worrying three-point gap between him and his closest rivals – or possibly, Hopp will be the first challenger to pick up a win in this season’s competition.
Ladbrokes can’t separate the two – pricing both at 7/5 for the win – which may point you in the direction of a draw. As with the Cross/Price contest, the players are 3/1 to end the match honours even, and that may be the best bet.
Tournament Betting (Spoiler Alert: Yes, he’s still favourite)
It should come as no surprise to learn that, even with the race for the prize getting closer in recent weeks, van Gerwen is still odds-on favourite at ½, meaning he’s hardly worth betting on unless you can get an Odds Boost. It’s no big shock, either, to see who’s second in the betting. Cross, who shares the lead at the moment, has an attractive price of 7/1 with William Hill and could be worth a punt given the knockout nature of the final few rounds of the competition. Wright is third-favourite at 12/1, just ahead of a pod of three players including his Week Seven opponent James Wade on 14 (the other two being Price and Michael Smith).
You can get 20/1 on Mensur Suljovic, who at the time of writing is just two points and two places outside the top four play-off spots, while further back you’ll find Gurney on 33/1 and – if you have a bit of money that you were thinking of just launching into a bonfire – odds of 250/1 are available on Raymond van Barneveld. Oh, Barney…