Premier League Darts tips: Best bets for week 1
Our tipster provides his top picks for the opening night in Dublin, which features four debutants and two players making their top-flight comeback.
MENSUR SULJOVIC v SIMON WHITLOCK
Suljovic to win –
The opening game of the evening is also the closest one to call, so it’s best to keep things simple in order to get off to a winning start.
Suljovic was disappointing at the World Championship, but, after an impressive run to the Masters semi-finals last weekend, is good value to win on his Premier League debut.
Whitlock only won one of his nine games the last time he played in this tournament back in 2014, and, having lost five of their last six meetings, tends to struggle for rhythm between the Austrian’s leisurely visits to the oche.
GARY ANDERSON v MICHAEL SMITH
#BetYourWay: Gary Anderson to win with both players to hit three 180s and one or more 100+ checkouts –
Anderson has won his last five games against Smith in convincing fashion, starting with a 7-3 victory in their only previous Premier League meeting in 2016.
So, even with a lingering back complaint, he’s a safe bet to remind his former apprentice who is boss on Thursday.
Bully Boy has improved since we last saw him in this competition, however, and can be relied upon to make it interesting with a few flourishes of his own.
DARYL GURNEY v RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD
Van Barneveld to win and hit the most 180s –
Fresh from reaching his first final in three years at the weekend, Barney comes into this Premier League season in encouraging form.
Only Dave Chisnall hit more maximums than the Dutchman in last year’s tournament and, in this kind of touch, the 180s ought to keep flowing.
Daryl Gurney has tailed off since winning the World Grand Prix last October and, even with an Irish crowd behind him, will struggle to keep pace with the 2014 champion.
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN v ROB CROSS
#BetYourWay: Van Gerwen to win, hit a 120+ checkout and over 6.5 180s in the match –
The Worlds semi-final between these two produced 31 maximums in 54 legs, so seven or more shouldn’t be too much to ask for in another game that is likely to go the distance.
But having missed six darts for the match back in December, don’t expect MVG to come out second-best once again.
He hit checkouts of 137 and 124 to win his fourth Masters final in a row at the weekend and, with a point to prove, is sure to produce at least one moment of brilliance in order to reassert his authority over the man who stole his title.
PETER WRIGHT v GERWYN PRICE
Betway Boost: Wright to win, hit the highest checkout and score most 180s –
Peter Wright was six missed darts at double away from lifting this trophy last year, and has the perfect opponent to get off to a good start this time around.
Snakebite is currently on a six-game winning streak against Price and has only ever lost one of his nine meetings with the Welshman.
Price is the lowest-ranked player in this year’s competition and ought to be shown to be inferior in both scoring power and finishing ability.