It has been a tough Betway Premier League for Robert Thornton so far, and Michael Smith can compound his misery in the opening match of the night.
The Thorn has just one point from his opening six games and, at times, has looked completely out of his depth.
Even when performing competitively against James Wade last week, his lack of a clinical edge meant he was still comfortably beaten.
Smith is only one place better off in the table, but his confidence will be higher having already got a win to his name and he will be well rested after having last week off.
Bully Boy has beaten Thornton in each of their last three meetings, and should extend that run on Thursday to take a huge step towards avoiding relegation.
Gary Anderson is in tremendous form at the moment while Dave Chisnall is far from it, meaning there can only be one winner when they meet in Liverpool.
After a difficult start to the tournament, the world champion has bounced back superbly – taking four points from his double header last week to stretch his winning run to five matches.
After his run to the semi-finals last season, Chisnall is performing surprisingly badly having gone six games without a win after his whitewash victory on the opening night.
Anderson was won 10 of the 12 meetings between the pair including the last four in a row, and the Scotsman is a firm favourite to improve that record further on Thursday and worsen Chizzy’s relegation fears.
Two of the Betway Premier League’s more unpredictable players face off in Liverpool, but it is Adrian Lewis who looks to have the edge over Raymond van Barneveld.
Both men’s inconsistency means they are floating around mid-table after lurching from mesmeric to mediocre from one week to the next.
Last week, it was Barney who was brilliant and Lewis who was lacklustre.
However, it is Jackpot – with two points extra to his name – who has been the better of the two over the tournament.
Lewis does have a losing record against the Dutchman overall, but has won seven of their nine matches since the start of 2015 – including their recent World Championship semi-final.
Expect the Englishman, therefore, to prosper on Thursday.
4/1 – Phil Taylor and Peter Wright to draw
Phil Taylor is in fantastic form but one man capable of slowing his momentum is Peter Wright.
The Power has looked near his brilliant best of late and was impressive in drawing with Michael van Gerwen last week to put his place in the semi-finals beyond any doubt.
Snakebite, on the other hand, has been unlucky of late – being defeated in all three of his most recent matches despite recording averages of 101, 106 and 108.
That losing run simply cannot last if he continues to play this well.
The last four meetings between Taylor and Wright in all competitions have resulted in two wins apiece – while two of their three previous Premier League matches have ended in a stalemate.
Don’t be surprised if the Scotsman manages to pinch a draw once again.
1/7 – Michael van Gerwen to beat Robert Thornton
Pray for the Thorn. Rarely do you see such long odds against any player in the Betway Premier League, but in this case it is entirely justified.
World No. 1 and league leader Michael van Gerwen is in scintillating form and has not lost since the first week.
Thornton, on the other hand, is yet to win and is propping up the table.
Thornton famously beat MVG in the World Grand Prix final last year, but that was his only win in their last nine encounters.
With the Scot struggling and the Dutchman flying there is only one player to back in this one.
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