Van Gerwen can crush bitter rival
Barney can turn off The Power
Sky Sports 1, 7pm Thursday
Anderson v Wright
Head-to-head: Anderson leads 18-11
Peter Wright will go into next month’s Coral UK Open as the top seed after winning three of the six qualifiers – but he’s struggling to bring his floor form on to the big stage.
An underwhelming win over Jelle Klaasen and an equally underwhelming defeat by Michael van Gerwen leaves Snakebite on two points heading into Week Three of the Betway Premier League.
Wright takes on Gary Anderson, who beat his compatriot tidily
in the William Hill World Championship semi-finals at
the turn of the year and who continues to go from strength to strength.
Wright is averaging just under 92 despite hitting eight maximums. It’s 27 per cent finishing that is proving his undoing and while he’s fiddling with new darts (as ever) there can be no guarantees that he will find his stage form in Leeds.
Hills have pitched his average at 99.5, a mark he failed to hit in nine of 16 outings last year and has yet to get anywhere near this time so going under that line appeals.
P Wright average under 99.5
2pts 5-6 Hills
Lewis v Wade
Head-to-head: Wade leads 27-19
James Wade is playing consistently better than Adrian Lewis at the moment and boasts the superior head-to-head record, so the left-hander looks a perfectly reasonable bet tonight.
Wade is hitting 180s and scoring solidly and once his doubles return to their usual serene levels (he’s currently checking out at 35 per cent, modest for him over the relatively short format) he’s going to be even tougher to beat.
Jackpot simply doesn’t look motivated. He nodded off against Barney and got caught out, and contested an awful game against Dave Chisnall last week.
1pt 17-10 Betfair
Taylor v Van Barneveld
Head-to-head: Taylor leads 56-17
Barney is flinging his tungsten beautifully and may well have the measure of The Power, just as he did when they last met, in the World Championship quarter-finals.
Taylor has won only one of his previous seven Premier League meetings against his Dutch rival and the soon-to-be-retired 16-time world champ looks rustier than usual.
Barney is scoring majestically – he has 11 180s compared to Taylor’s one – so some punters may prefer backing him to outmax the Englishman.
R van Barneveld
1pt 2-1 Hills
Van Gerwen v Klaasen
Head-to-head: Van Gerwen leads 14-7
Unless the PDC threaten these two with sanctions, don’t expect handshakes before or after as the bitter rivals clash for the first time in the Premier League.
Van Gerwen and Klaasen loathe each other, and the problem for The Cobra is that he seems to be affected more by the frostiness between them on stage having lost their last eight matches.
In their five meetings in 2016 Van Gerwen averaged between 103 and 115 against Klaasen.
It’s hard to find something enticing to bet on, though correct-score punts might not be a bad idea if you think Van Gerwen will win easily. Split your stakes on 7-3 and 7-4.
M van Gerwen to win 7-3
1pt 6-1 Betfair, Paddy Power
M van Gerwen to win 7-4
1pt 11-2 Betfair, Paddy Power
Chisnall v K Huybrechts
Head-to-head: Chisnall leads 11-4
Chizzy has been well beaten in his two games and makes a precarious favourite, even allowing for the fact that he seems to enjoy playing the Hurricane.
Chisnall has won just five legs in games against Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis. Eight 180s simply won’t cut it if there are too many ragged darts and missed doubles.
Huybrechts has been solid and was unlucky not to get at least a point off James Wade.
He has 29 scores of 140 or more in 24 legs; Chisnall has hit just 18 in 19. The Belgian can live with Chisnall in maximum hitting so back him with a 1.5 start on the 180s handicap.
K Huybrechts +1.5 on most 180s handicap
2pts Evs Betway