Welcome back to the OpenOdds Darts Round-Up, giving you the lowdown and the smart bets from the world of professional darts. We’ll look back over the last week and give you pointers for the upcoming fixtures this week. Who’s going to win big, and who’s going to lose to Michael van Gerwen? Keep reading, and you’ll find out.
The big news is, of course, that the Premier League of Darts 2019 is officially underway, with nine of the top players in the world battling for the title, and an invited guest each week making up the numbers in Gary Anderson’s enforced absence. We’ll check out how last week’s guest, Chris Dobey, acquitted himself, and have a look at this week’s Bootleg Anderson – newly-minted PDC Tour professional Glenn Durrant. Most importantly, with the help of our Odds Comparison tool, we’ll have a look at how Week 2 of the Premier League is shaping up on the oche and at the bookmakers.
Van Gerwen Wins, Of Course
Reigning Premier League and PDC World Champion Michael van Gerwen wasted no time in getting a win under his belt as the Premier League rocked up in Newcastle for its opening night. Van Gerwen found himself up against his vanquished opponent in those two finals, Michael Smith. A very tight contest was poised at 5-5 going into the eleventh leg, and that was when MvG’s big-match temperament proved decisive; despite throwing second, he was able to checkout and break Smith, and then hold his own in the final set to seal the win.
Van Gerwen will face Austria’s Mensur Suljovic in Week Two, and it’s no great surprise to see him at ⅓ favourite with Betway after he added the Players Championship 1 to his list of recent wins, defeating Jermaine Wattimena in the final. Suljovic is available at 6/1 with the same bookmaker, making him comfortably the biggest outsider for Thursday night’s play.
Dobey Shines As Guest; Can Durrant Follow?
Speaking of Suljovic, he was the player with the thankless task of facing invited guest Chris Dobey at Newcastle. That task became even more thankless when the stand-in raced out to a 5-1 lead after six legs. A solid recovery from the Austrian eventually saw the players split the match 6-6. Suljovic therefore banks a point, while Dobey can at least bank his appearance fee, and hand the “guest player” baton to fellow invitee Glenn Durrant.
Durrant is, of course, making his bow on the big PDC stage, having passed through the Q-School just a few weeks ago. He will head to Glasgow to face Daryl Gurney, a man in need of a win after falling to a 7-4 defeat at the hands of Gerwyn Price (Price’s first-ever Premier League win, after a horrific debut run in 2018). Intriguingly, Unibet have the newbie as favourite for this one, listing him at 13/10, while Gurney is rated at 8/5 by the same bookmaker. Given Durrant’s unfamiliarity at this level, such short odds are quite a vote of confidence – especially from the bookmaker that is sponsoring the tournament.
Wade Also A Winner, But Will Find It Tough In Week Two
Since the line-up for this season’s Premier League was announced, controversy had reigned over the decision to give a wild-card to former World Champion Raymond van Barneveld. So as the tournament got underway in Newcastle, the organisers would have been hoping for a strong showing from Barney. Whether they got what they wanted is perhaps in the eye of the beholder, but the Dutchman did not provide a winning performance, falling 7-4 to James Wade who moved top of the standings as a result.
Barney, for his part, now sits in bottom place in advance of this week’s match with Gerwyn Price. Price, the vanquisher of Daryl Gurney, and recent payer of a record £21,500 fine following his fairly childish behaviour while winning the Grand Slam of Darts, will be a comfortable favourite for that showdown. You can find him at prices better than odds-on, and if you can pick up an Odds Boost, he becomes even better value to beat a player whose old magic seems to have deserted him.
Wade’s reward for defeating Barney? A very tough test which pits him against Rob Cross, the World Number Two. Cross played out a very high-quality 6-6 draw against Peter Wright in Week One, and will start as favourite against Wade. Nonetheless, victory can become a habit – and James Wade has a win in the bank more recently than Cross in this event, so he might be worth backing at 9/5 with Ladbrokes. Cross, alternatively, is at 11/10.
Time To Be Quick On The Draw?
With tied matches between Suljovic and Dobey, and between Cross and Wright, Week One demonstrated the very real possibility of matches being drawn; after all, each player has the chance to throw first, every other leg. If they’re still tied after 12 legs, it’s a draw, and with 40% of last week’s matches ending exactly this way, is it worth betting on it happening again?
If we were to call any match this week to end 6-6, it would probably be the opening match of the night between Peter Wright and Michael Smith. Both extremely solid players at this level, there is a real chance they could throw each other to a standstill – and if they do, it will make for an epic match of darts.