Confident Gary Anderson can carry on where he left off
Van Gerwen not at his supreme best
Week six, Sky Sports Action, 7pm Thursday
Van Gerwen v Whitlock
Head-to-head: Van Gerwen leads 28-5
Michael van Gerwen's army of backers saw their hero fall at the first at the UK Open last Friday, and on that evidence they will be hard pressed to muster up much enthusiasm over the Dutchman's 1-6 quote for tonight's Premier League curtain-raiser against Simon Whitlock in Leeds.
Van Gerwen was beaten 10-8 by Jeffrey de Zwaan at a near-deserted Butlin's in Minehead. He averaged under 97 and looked utterly underwhelmed at playing in front of such a sparse gallery.
The fans' favourite should warm to the task at a packed First Direct Arena, and ought to see off The Wizard easily enough. He has, after all, won their last nine meetings.
If there's a bet to be had, however, it's possibly that the world number one doesn't exceed a 103.5 average. He has failed to hit that mark in three of his four previous league outings, was nowhere near it in Minehead and he's definitely not at his supreme best just now.
M van Gerwen under 103.5 average
2pts 5-6 Betway
Price v Van Barneveld
Van Barneveld leads 4-1
It's hard to summon up much enthusiasm for Raymond van Barneveld's chances in his clash with Gerwyn Price.
Barney boasts the edge in head-to-head form and bookmakers are behind the big Dutchman.
But an abject loss to Mervyn King in Minehead followed a pair of anaemic efforts in this competition. And he has recently been upstaged by Ross Twell and Jonny Clayton in a pair of European event qualifiers.
In decline? Perhaps, but certainly hard to fancy at evens against anyone, and that includes Price, a quarter-finalist at Butlin's over the weekend.
The Welshman has yet to click in the Premier League but an off-colour Barney might be just the opponent he needs.
G Price draw no bet
1pt 7-4 Sky Bet
Wright v Suljovic
Wright leads 7-4
There's virtually nothing between Snakebite and The Gentle in the averages and also the checkout percentages, yet the market suggests Peter Wright will prevail in Leeds.
Another first-hurdle casualty in Minehead, Wright is yet to be totally convincing in the Premier League while Mensur Suljovic, who swerved the UK Open, is full of confidence after getting off the mark two weeks ago.
On current form there doesn't appear to be a great deal between these two and the draw looks a big runner.
M Suljovic-draw double chance
1pt 11-10 Sky Bet
Anderson v Gurney
Level at 6-6
Daryl Gurney won four of his five showdowns with Gary Anderson in 2017 and is playing well without getting an awful lot of luck on his debut campaign.
Anderson, meanwhile, goes into the game with his confidence sky-high after landing UK Open glory. We can probably put worries over the Scot's troublesome back to bed given the way he cruised through a heavy workload in Minehead.
Nobody has hit more maximums than Superchin's 17. But a 28 per cent checkout rate, the lowest of all ten players, is why he's marooned in the bottom two and without a win.
These two should bring out the best in each other given their scoring power and a few brisk legs should see their averages soar.
G Anderson over 99.5 average
2pts 5-6 Betfair, Paddy Power
Cross v Smith
Cross leads 5-1
Memories of an epic second-round duel at Alexandra Palace before Christmas – won 4-3 by Rob Cross on his way to William Hill World Championship glory – should ensure a spicy finale to life in Leeds.
Voltage doesn't look anywhere near the player who would go on to take that title, whereas Michael Smith has been unshackled and heads the league with four wins from four. Incidentally he, too, isn't quite at his best and two of his wins – against Anderson and Whitlock – were far from convincing.
Bully Boy is scoring well and hitting his maximums – he had five against Whitlock – and looks a fair price at 13-8 to post more 180s than his opponent.
M Smith more 180s
1pt 13-8 BoyleSports
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