OpenOdds Darts Round Up 26th MarchPublished on: March 26, 2019Author: Antonia Kelly
Welcome to OpenOdds’ Darts Round Up after a stuffed week of action from the oche. It’s been a bit of a mixed week for Michael van Gerwen, there was some good news for one of his compatriots, and the Premier League saw plenty of movement in its top four, with a surprise arrival in the play-off spots. This week, the League had to share some of the headlines with the European Darts Open, players making the 600-kilometre trip from Berlin to Leverkusen in a bid to secure some silverware. You’ll never guess who picked that up.
Indeed, it’s tough to know where to start in the round-up this week, so we’ll plump for the tournament that happens once a year, before moving on to the bookies’ latest from the Premier League. There’s plenty to say about the action from the Ostermann Arena, with a nine-dart finish making the headlines as well as a final between two men with a growing rivalry.
MvG does it again in the European Open
Michael van Gerwen is not invincible. We’ve seen that before, and – spoiler alert – will see it again in this very article. However, he is incredibly consistent and it’s perhaps no surprise to see him return to Leverkusen and successfully defend his European Open title. It’s fair to say he was pushed – an 8-6 win over Rob Cross in the final was achieved hot on the heels of a very keenly-fought semi-final against Mensur Suljovic. The Austrian may curse himself for letting go a 4-3 lead over the champion, but there’s not much you can do when a player of van Gerwen’s skill throws a nine-dart finish as he did in the eighth leg.
That was the 21st nine-darter of the Dutchman’s career, and the third of this season. Each of the three he’s thrown in 2019 have been achieved by different routes, the latest going 180-174-T19-BULL-D20. That’s not just spectacular accuracy with the darts, it’s also some pretty miraculous maths, and pretty deflating for Suljovic to watch. In the final, the impressive throws kept stacking up; MVG winning the first leg with a 170 checkout and averaging 104.79 on his visits to the oche. How do you stop a player who can throw like that?
With this week seeing a Wednesday-Thursday double-header in Rotterdam – at the end of which one player will be cut from the field of nine – van Gerwen’s recent slip in Premier League form continued as he was beaten 7-5 at the hands of Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney. MvG has now won just one of his last four matches in the Premier League, and his next opponent is Peter Wright, himself positioned just outside the top four on leg difference, and beaten only once in seven matches. MvG is favourite with tournament sponsors Unibet, but the ½ odds are certainly not as short as they usually are for the champion.
Thursday sees an all-Dutch tie between MvG and RvB – with the world number one facing Raymond van Barneveld, currently bottom of the Premier League tree. However, Barney has moved to within a point of Michael Smith, and potentially avoiding relegation. Before the meeting of the Dutch masters, the one who isn’t currently world champion has a winnable tie with Daryl Gurney. But we know what can happen when a Dutch player expects to beat Gurney, don’t we? Anyway, for what it’s worth, last week’s win over challenger Max Hopp was Barney’s first of the Premier League season and has seen 888 dramatically slash his odds to win the competition – from 250 to 150/1.
A new leader emerges…
So with MvG having lost – and taken just three points from the last eight available – room has been made at the top for someone in better form. Step forward, Rob Cross! He may have lost to van Gerwen within the last week, but a 7-4 spiking of Gerwyn Price has given Cross a one-point cushion over the former leader coming into a pivotal week of Premier League action. Cross will be testing himself against first Mensur Suljovic and then Dutch challenger Jeffrey de Zwaan. The new leader will be heftily favoured over Thursday’s opponent, but is Evens with Ladbrokes to defeat the in-form Austrian.
Suljovic shared joint-bottom spot with van Barneveld after the first three weeks of action, but since then has been impressively solid. Three wins in his last four matches have catapulted Mensur into the top four, and at odds of 2/1 to beat Cross, he could yet improve his position in the table. A win on Wednesday would send him into Thursday’s clash with Gurney feeling more than quietly confident – but as we’ve already said, the Northern Irishman can surprise you.
Move over Morrissey – there’s another Smith who’s miserable now
Michael Smith started the year losing narrowly to van Gerwen in the final of the World Championships. However, unless he can pick up a point or two across the two nights in Holland, any victory for van Barneveld would see the Englishman eliminated from contention. Another defeat last week – a sound 7-2 pummeling from Suljovic – sends Smith into the double-header in diabolical form. He could really do with an easy opponent right now.
Unfortunately, the fixtures pair him on Wednesday with Gerwyn Price – keen to punish someone for his recent hammerings at the hands of the top two, Cross and van Gerwen – and James Wade, who currently sits third in the table on Thursday. Smith is actually narrow favourite for the first of the two matches, according to Betway who have him 11/8 against the Welshman’s 6/4. We would be all over Price at those odds and considering the form guide. In fact, many bookmakers have Smith as favourite against Wade too; if you can’t get an odds boost, try an acca on Smith’s opponents over the two nights. You may be pleasantly surprised by the odds.