Premier League Darts 2014 – Final Night Preview
Of all the four semi-finalists at The O2 this Thursday night, it is fourth-placed Gary Anderson who comes into the match in the best vein of form.
The Scot won his last four matches, against Michael van Gerwen, Dave Chisnall and Raymond van Barneveld, and is unbeaten in his last seven, including two draws in that period, confirming his semi-final spot on the final night.
Phil Taylor also comes into the match on the back of a good run of results. Having lost four of his first five matches in the league stage, The Power is unbeaten since week 5 in a run of 11 matches. However, he has somewhat stuttered towards a play-off spot drawing against Peter Wright and Raymond van Barneveld in the past four weeks, and then looking less than convincing in last week’s pivotal match against Robert Thornton.
Both Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld have had their semi-final berths secured for some time now, and that has affected the way that they have performed; particularly Barney who hasn’t won for three weeks now. MVG has been getting results and in the last two weeks has posted hugely impressive averages of 105.49 and 110.85 in beating Barney and Peter Wright respectively.
Barney’s terrible Premier League record against The Power has been much publicised, with the Dutchman having failed to beat his old foe in all 20 of their previous meetings in the tournament. However, the two meetings this season have ended as 6-6 draws, so there is at least some encouragement for Barney fans.
The two Premier League meetings between MVG and Anderson have been shared this season, with the Scotsman winning the most recent 7-4 and Van Gerwen triumphing 7-5 earlier in the campaign.
Barney’s poor recent form coupled with the Indian Sign that Taylor has over the Dutchman in this competition means that backing Van Barneveld at odds of 13/5 to progress to the final isn’t really an option. The Power is worthy of his 3/10 favourite tag and should book his place in the Premier League final for an eighth time in 10 years.
The other semi is a lot trickier to call and could possibly produce the winner of the Premier League. MVG is the undisputed number one player in the world at the moment – both in terms of consistency and when at his best – while he comes up against a player approaching his very best form in Gary Anderson. Anderson is probably the value bet here at odds of 12/5, while the 4/6 about more than 12.5 legs in the match is a banker for my money.
By the same token, I have to say that the 8/1 on Anderson to win the Premier League title, a crown that he last claimed in 2011, is my best value bet of the outright winner market.