Red-hot Gary Anderson set to give Barney trouble
Michael Smith can lead underdogs' charge
Sky Action, 7pm Thursday
Smith v Wright
Head-to-head: Wright leads 12-6
Michael Smith could well be the first of a trio of outsiders to delight the bookmakers on Night Six of the Premier League in Nottingham.
Bully Boy, knocked off the top of the table last week when his four-match winning streak was ended by Rob Cross, opens up against the underperforming Peter Wright at the Motorpoint Arena.
Wright reached a floor final on Saturday, although that came after an early exit at the UK Open and a clutch of mixed efforts in this competition. Smith has won their only meeting this year and can overpower anyone with his big scoring.
M Smith draw no bet
1pt 13-8 Betfair, Paddy Power, Sky Bet
Whitlock v Gurney
Gurney leads 11-2
It's the doubles that are doing for Daryl Gurney and until Superchin can rectify his outer-ring misery he looks well worth taking on.
Gurney has been scoring as well as anyone – only Gary Anderson has hit more 180s – but a checkout percentage of 29 is criminally unimpressive against this calibre of opposition.
Simon Whitlock, in contrast, is averaging 44 per cent on his doubles – second only behind Mensur Suljovic – and has always been rock-steady in that department.
The Wizard will punish any misses and, as Gurney backers know, there are too many of those. Expect a tight contest, just as it was at the Grand Prix final in October which went the distance.
S Whitlock draw no bet
1pt 13-8 Sky Bet
Suljovic v Cross
Cross leads 4-1
The third underdog with a sizeable claim has to be Mensur Suljovic, victorious in his last two matches, boasting the best checkout percentage and behind only Michael van Gerwen in scoring averages.
The affable Austrian is loving his debut campaign and he's coming up against a very different Rob Cross to the player we saw hit dizzy heights in 2017.
Cross has won three in a row but still isn't at the top of his game as he comes to terms with his new-found status in the game. He hasn't won anything on the floor yet and he’ll not shake off Suljovic easily as he discovered in their previous meeting at the Masters in January when The Gentle won 10-8.
M Suljovic draw no bet
1pt 2-1 Sky Bet
Price v Van Gerwen
Van Gerwen leads 12-0
Played 12, won 12 – the sort of stat that suggests only one outcome in game four.
Poor old Gerwyn Price simply cannot get close to Michael van Gerwen – though he did take a couple of sets off him in a third-round clash at the worlds in December – and to make matters worse, the Welshman isn’t playing that well.
That said, Van Gerwen is also some distance from the peak of his powers but in a battle between a slightly off-colour world number one and a slightly off-colour world number 11 there's still only one winner.
Mighty Mike is only 5-4 to deliver the clean sweep – match, most 180s, highest checkout – which could clearly go wrong in parts two or three of that treble.
Gezzy is nothing if not a fighter and all of his matches have gone to at least ten legs. Back that sequence to continue.
Over 9.5 legs
1pt 4-5 Coral
Van Barneveld v Anderson
Anderson leads 21-17
Gary Anderson is on a 22-match unbeaten run following a winning double-header in Barnsley last weekend and is showing the sort of form which Raymond van Barneveld is going to struggle to deal with.
Barney isn't playing particularly well anyway and it's hard to see him being able to put the brakes on the silky Scot.
Anderson is averaging six points higher than the Dutchman, has pegged six more 180s, and the gulf between the two would be even more emphatic had the twice world champ not had back trouble in the early stages of the tournament.
G Anderson to win & hit more 180s
1pt 13-8 Sky Bet
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