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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Van Barneveld could trouble Dutch rival Van Gerwen in Belfast

Austrian Suljovic may frustrate double world champion in opener

Raymond van Barneveld (right) will test compatriot Michael van Gerwen
1 of 1

Week nine
Sky Sports Action, 7pm Thursday

Mensur Suljovic v Gary Anderson
Head-to-head: Suljovic leads 4-3
He's an unlikely nemesis, but there's no doubt that the amiable Mensur Suljovic gets into the head of double world champion Gary Anderson.

These two have played four times on TV and the Austrian has won three of those showdowns.

And the common trend in all those losses is that Anderson under-performs with averages in the low to mid-90s as frustration sets in.

Anderson likes to play at his pace and you can be sure that Suljovic won't let him do that when they kick off proceedings in Week Eight of the Premier League at Belfast's SSE Arena.

Whether Suljovic currently has the game to beat the Scot is more debatable given that he has looked quite flat in the last couple of weeks and against Mervyn King in the European Open on Sunday.

But expect to see a mixed bag from Anderson, who may well struggle to hit the 99.5 average the firms have him in for. His tournament average is 98 and it tends to drop well below that when he takes on The Gentle.

Recommendation
G Anderson under 99.5 average
2pts 5-6 Betfair, Paddy Power


Michael Smith v Gerwyn Price
H2H: Smith leads 9-4 
It has been a grim few weeks for Gerwyn Price, whose four successive Premier League losses culminated in a 7-1 thrashing by Rob Cross in Glasgow. Two days later he was being bundled out of the European Open at the first hurdle by Richard North.

The Welsh debutant is the only player yet to record a win and is 2-5 to finish bottom.

It's questionable whether he should be a 3-1 shot against a player as hot-and-cold as Michael Smith, although Bully Boy does boast an impressive head-to-record against Gezzy.

Interestingly, there is precious little between these two in terms of averages or checkout percentages – it's just that Smith has been finding ways of winning and is playing with confidence.

Recommendation
G Price +2.5 legs
2pts 4-5 BoyleSports


Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen
H2H: Van Gerwen leads 33-18 
Michael van Gerwen heads into this all-Dutch ding-dong after being crowned European Open champion in Germany on Sunday.

That's seven titles for the year and we haven't even got to Easter.

The next bunny in the headlights is Raymond van Barneveld, although the five-time world champion is unlikely to fold against his compatriot and is feeling good about life after taking three points off Gary Anderson and Peter Wright over the past two Thursdays. Any early elimination worries have well and truly gone.

Given that he knows he has the tools to dismantle Van Gerwen, he looks a decent price at 5-2 to avoid defeat.

Recommendation
R van Barneveld or draw double chance
1pt 5-2 Sky Bet 

Daryl Gurney v Rob Cross
H2H: Cross leads 2-0 

Daryl Gurney's failure to convert fast starts has been costing the Irishman but last week’s overdue success will have given him confidence.

Now, in front of his own fans, he can expect to give Rob Cross a decent contest.

We know that Gurney has the scoring power and last week, against Mensur Suljovic, finally the doubles went as well – he hit seven of 13.

Gurney's problem has been finishing matches off – hence his four draws in matches where he had been in front – so it follows that he's worth backing in the early parts of matches, especially at odds-against when he's got the throw.

Recommendation
D Gurney race to three legs
1pt 11-8 Coral, Ladbrokes 


Simon Whitlock v Peter Wright
H2H: Wright leads 10-7 
A trio of 7-1 losses have seen Peter Wright’s elimination odds plunge from 33-1 to 6-4.

If results don't go his way earlier in the evening, Snakebite could actually walk on to the oche knowing that defeat will spell the end of his Premier League campaign.

He'll feel better about avoiding that prospect following a morale-boosting weekend at the European Open, where he reached the final and should have beaten Van Gerwen, missing one match dart in an agonising 8-7 defeat.

If – and it's always a big if with the Scot – he sticks with the same darts that worked so well for him in Leverkusen he's going to be hard to beat. His problem is that Simon Whitlock, written off at the start of the campaign, is chucking some really solid tungsten.

Even so, Wright in full flow would make a nonsense of even-money quotes.

One bet that is statistically hard to ignore is under 5.5 180s at 11-10. Between them they average 3.7 maximums per match.

Recommendation
Under 5.5 180s
1pt 11-10 Betfair, Paddy Power


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Michael van Gerwen heads into this all-Dutch ding-dong after being crowned European Open champion in Germany on Sunday
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