World Champ In For A Bashing In Belfast
Premier League Darts
The Premier League arrives in Belfast this Thursday night with some potentially pivotal matches in the battle to avoid elimination.
Kim Huybrechts v Dave Chisnall
An unexpected point against a below-par Adrian Lewis last week got Kim Huybrechts the first point of his Premier League career, but he’ll need to improve upon the 88.98 three-dart average he produced in that match if he is going to add to that tally against Dave Chisnall.
Chizzy was also involved in a 6-6 draw last Thursday in a nip-and-tuck match with James Wade and in earning that point maintained his unbeaten start to the 2015 Premier League.
The St Helens man has a 9-3 head-to-head record against his Belgian counterpart and Even money odds about him earning another two points here looks a very good bet.
Gary Anderson v James Wade
The old Achilles heel came back to bite Gary Anderson last Thursday as he missed 23 darts at doubles on his way to losing 7-4 to Michael van Gerwen. Although a solitary bad showing on the outer ring shouldn’t set alarm bells ringing too loudly, it does show what can happen to the Scot when he isn’t putting in enough hours on the practice board – the rigours of being a world champion can be troublesome.
James Wade would have been relatively pleased with his point against Chisnall last week and maintaining his own unbeaten record in the tournament.
If he can produce a typically stoic performance in Belfast this week then I fancy him to take the win. Back the Machine at odds of 12/5.
Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis
Michael van Gerwen’s 31-match winning run came to an end at the weekend as he lost 6-3 to Terry Jenkins in Saturday’s UK Open qualifier; although the Dutchman had previously added another title to his name on the Friday.
Adrian Lewis also had a good weekend as he featured in a quarter-, a semi-, and a final over the course of the three days in Wigan. Jackpot now needs to find a way to transfer that form to a Thursday evening and start winning Premier League matches.
This could actually be the ideal match-up for Lewis, who often produces his best against the top players. It’s difficult to oppose MVG with any genuine conviction at the moment, but now that his winning streak has been snapped I’d be tempted to chuck a few quid on Lewis at odds of 3/1 here.
Stephen Bunting v Raymond van Barneveld
Last week I suggested that Barney was getting to the must-win stage as he faced Peter Wright – he came out with a draw. This week he really must add two points to his tally if he is to harbour realistic ambitions of defending his crown.
The same must be said of Stephen Bunting who although hasn’t been disgraced on his Premier League debut, far from it, is experiencing the harsh realities of this ruthless format. Don’t discount the chances of another draw at odds of 17/5.
Phil Taylor v Peter Wright
Phil Taylor was at his ruthless best during Sunday’s UK Open qualifier as he took the title by beating Ian White in the final after defeating Adrian Lewis in the semis.
Peter Wright, meanwhile, continues to struggle. Although he managed to irk out his first point of the Premier League against Barney last week, he’s shown very little form of note this year and one has to fear for his chances against The Power here. Take a punt on Taylor to win 7-0 and 7-1 at odds of 12/1 and 8/1 respectively.