Accurate finisher Wade could keep tabs on Van Gerwen
Barney unlikely to go down without a fight either
Sky Sports 1, 7pm Thursday
Van Gerwen v Wade
Head-to-head: Van Gerwen leads 24-14
Michael van Gerwen and James Wade, different players in so many ways, share a distinction when it comes to winning legs in this year’s Betway Premier League.
Second and third respectively going into the eighth round of matches in Manchester, these are the only players in the field to have won at least five legs in each match they’ve played.
Since Van Gerwen is unbeaten, it goes without saying. But Wade’s only two losses have been by 7-5 scorelines and nobody has achieved more breaks of throw than the left-hander, 16 in total. That’s the sign of a man who knows how to step it up in key legs.
Wade’s two losses – against Peter Wright and Dave Chisnall – were courtesy of unusually poor finishing, something he put right against Jelle Klaasen last week hitting seven of 11 thrown. That level of accuracy on the outer ring could give Wade an excellent chance of covering the handicap.
J Wade +3.5 legs
1pt Evs general
Huybrechts v Anderson
Anderson leads 12-7
Kim Huybrechts must be wanting all this to end. Petulant Stoke pair Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis have been involved in some acrimonious clashes with the Belgian, who let both men wind him up and affect his game.
The likeable Belgian also has troubles at home (he was in tears in an interview on Dutch TV in Rotterdam last Thursday) and 16 Premier League matches over two campaigns have yielded just a solitary win.
Now he tackles Gary Anderson, a player who has made no secret of the fact that he objects to Huybrechts’ stage celebrations. Will that play on the Belgian ace’s mind?
Anything other than a win and Huybrechts is effectively eliminated a week early and he’s hard to fancy. Anderson averages six points a game more than his opponent.
Huybrechts’ scoring hasn’t been the issue – he averages more than three 180s per match – and hit three even in a distasteful loss to Lewis last week.
K Huybrechts over 2.5 180s
1pt 4-5 bet365, Coral
Wright v Taylor
Taylor leads 19-8
Peter Wright, unbeaten since week two, ought to be able to see off Phil Taylor, who hasn’t won since week three.
Snakebite is a shade of odds-on, which shows how the times are changing, and the recently-crowned Coral UK Open champion is probably priced about right.
That said, Wright hasn’t been at his fluent best in his last two outings and there’s a case to be made for his average being set too high at 100.5. He has failed to hit three figures in five of seven matches this season.
P Wright under 100.5 average
1pt 5-6 Paddy Power
Klaasen v Lewis
Klaasen leads 12-10
Jelle Klaasen goes under the knife for wrist surgery soon and he wouldn’t be playing in any other match.
He started solidly against James Wade last week but, as with so many other matches during a campaign in which he has registered a solitary win, the pain eventually told.
If Adrian Lewis stays focused he can wear down the Dutchman and it may pay to double up on Jackpot also chucking in more 180s. After hitting seven in his first four weeks, he’s banged in 17 in the last three.
A Lewis to win and have more 180s
1pt 11-8 Sky Bet
Van Barneveld v Van Gerwen
Van Gerwen leads 27-16
Van Gerwen, playing twice having missed week five because of a back injury, tops and tails the evening with Raymond van Barneveld lying in wait last up.
Barney was superb last week when beating Gary Anderson in Rotterdam and he can take advantage of throwing first by giving his young compatriot a battle and covering the spread.
R van Barneveld +2.5 legs
1pt 11-10 bet365, Betfred, Hills