Chizzy Ready To Rock Leeds In Premier League Opener
Premier League Darts
The 2015 Premier League darts kicks off in Leeds this Thursday night and there are some mouth-watering fixtures to get us underway…
Dave Chisnall v Peter Wright
Dave Chisnall has the slight edge in the head-to-head record (5-3) between these two players and was unbeaten in the two matches that he played against Peter Wright last season. Both will be keen to push on from solid debut seasons in the Premier League and each will see this a very winnable fixture to kick off the campaign.
The bookies are unable to split the pair in the betting, with each player priced at odds of 11/8, and the draw (7/2) simply cannot be ruled out.
But it was Chizzy who looked in the better nick of the two players at the weekend’s Masters – averaging well over a hundred in each of his two matches and only just losing out (10-9) to Michael van Gerwen in the quarter-finals
…so it is he who will carry my money here.
Raymond van Barneveld v Adrian Lewis
The recent world championships appeared to be something of a revelation for Raymond van Barneveld. He appeared to develop the ability to win matches when nowhere near his best and accept that there will be times when he doesn’t play the perfect game.
That acceptance allowed him to reach the semi-finals at Alexandra Palace and the final of the recent Masters event. And it’s something that he can apply to great effect in this season’s Premier League.
Adrian Lewis began last season’s Premier League extremely slowly and hasn’t been anywhere near his best in recent weeks. Back the Dutchman to kick off the defence of his title with a win at odds of 2/1.
Kim Huybrechts v Michael van Gerwen
Kim Huybrechts will be given a real baptism of fire on his Premier League debut when he takes on world number one Michael van Gerwen. The Dutchman bounced back from the disappointment of losing his world title last month with an impressive triumph at the Masters at the weekend, averaging 112.49 in his win against Barney in the final.
Odds of 4/9 on MVG kicking off this campaign with a win look more than fair and I fear this relentless and ruthless Premier League format could prove extremely problematic for Huybrechts. The Belgian is certainly up against it in Leeds this Thursday.
Gary Anderson v Phil Taylor
This is undoubtedly the match of the night as the newly crowned world champion take on Phil Taylor in a rematch of the 2015 World Championship from just last month. Gary Anderson won that match and looked to be much the better of the two at the recent Masters event where Anderson reached the semi-finals and The Power fell at the first hurdle against Terry Jenkins.
It is therefore somewhat surprising to see Anderson made the outsider of the two at odds of 6/4. The draw could be a player here and it makes sense to keep that on side and back the Scotsman at odds of Evens in the Draw No Bet market.
Stephen Bunting v James Wade
The evening concludes with an intriguing match up between Premier League debutant Stephen Bunting and James Wade who returns to the event following a one-year hiatus.
The Bullet ran out a comfortable winner when the two players met recently in round 2 of the PDC World Championships and it is the former Lakeside world champion who has looked the more solid of the two players over the past 12 months. Wade has the quality to beat any player on his day, but Bunting is the more reliable of the two. Back Bunting to win this match at odds of 11/8.
Picking out the Premier League winner is unlike any other darts tournament. The first question to ask is which players will make up the top four positions after a 15-week marathon up and down the country. From there it comes down to just two matches and whichever player performs the best on the night takes the prize.
Defending champion Raymond van Barneveld looks too big in the betting at odds of 20/1, while I couldn’t be having Phil Taylor at a very short 12/5. Michael van Gerwen is almost nailed on for a top four berth and therefore 5/2 about him winning a semi-final then final at the end of May looks to be very good value, while world champion Gary Anderson shouldn’t be ignored at odds of 9/2.
However, my suggestion is to go with the 12/1 available on debutant Stephen Bunting. He’s shown over the past 12 months that he is more than capable of quickly adjusting to the big crowds, and he’s also beaten all of the top players in that same period. It won’t be long before The Bullet is regularly collecting PDC trophies, and this could be the launchpad that he needs to step up to that next level.