Week 4 Premier League Darts preview
There were surprises galore in Cardiff last week, and plenty of punters were stung, as hot hometown favorite Gerwyn Price was held to a draw, after the unstoppable, world No. 1 Michael van Gerwen was shocked by Nathan Aspinall.
Now the tungsten train heads to Ireland on Thursday, with punters looking to get back on board.
Glen Durrant vs. Nathan Aspinall odds
|Glen Durrant||Draw||Nathan Aspinall|
The first match pits table-topping Glen Durrant against Aspinall.
Durrant was at his very best against Gary Anderson last week and took out finishes of 107, 89, and 85, as he raced into a 5-1 lead. A quick glance at the scoring stats won't give you much confidence in "Duzza." Nobody has hit less 180s than him, and only Daryl Gurney has a lower league average, but it’s his doubling that has him unbeaten in the league this year.
107 FINISH!— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) February 20, 2020
Class checkout from Durrant as he takes out 107 to enter a 4-1 lead! pic.twitter.com/pvqzTe2djG
He took out seven of his nine opportunities in Week 1, then posted a 54% checkout percentage last week. That number dropped to 26% in Week 2, but it’s worth remembering the crowd was on his back in Nottingham that night.
Aspinall has been playing well, with three 100+ averages on the floor over the weekend, and will be full of confidence after his defeat of MVG. But in what should be a nip-and-tuck contest, Durrant’s doubling can make all the difference.
Darts free pick: Durrant +150
Rob Cross vs. Gary Anderson odds
|Rob Cross||Draw||Gary Anderson|
The second match of the night features Anderson, a two-time Premier League champion, and "Voltage" Rob Cross. The two former world champs have the same record after three weeks of the league, but it’s Anderson who comes into the match in better form.
Voltage has been taking out doubles at crucial times to stay in matches, but his scoring has been poor. Despite at times averaging 20 points fewer than Peter Wright last week, Cross held on long enough to take it to a deciding leg, but he might not get that luxury in Dublin. Cross averaged just 85 as he crashed out in the first round of Sunday’s Players Championship tournament, and a repeat of that would allow Anderson to wrap this one up early.
122 CHECKOUT!— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) February 20, 2020
Excellent finish from Anderson as he goes T18-T18-D7 to reduce the deficit to three legs... pic.twitter.com/LPIv2RlTGI
The Flying Scotsman should punish Cross’ inability to find the treble, and he’s a solid bet in Dublin.
Darts free play: Anderson +120
Daryl Gurney vs. Michael Smith
|Daryl Gurney||Draw||Michael Smith|
The crowd will be well behind Gurney, but that may not be enough against an in-form Michael Smith. "Bully Boy" put in the performance of the night in Cardiff, where he averaged 105.5 on the way to a 7-1 thumping of Jonny Clayton. That came on the back of his 115 average in 10 legs against Price in Week 2, before a minor drop-off in form.
SMITH WINS IT IN STYLE!!— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) February 20, 2020
Fantastic performance from Michael Smith as he steamrolls Jonny Clayton 7-1 with a 105 average and two ton-plus finishes!
UP NEXT: Van Gerwen v Aspinall pic.twitter.com/TMLtUmy4wo
Smith looked hopeless on the floor over the weekend, as he lost in the first round on both days, but even if Gurney can somehow keep up with the scoring of the Englishman, his doubling could cost him. Gurney has hit just 12 of his 40 attempts at a double in the league, a number that must improve if he wants to pick up points.
It won’t please the Dublin crowd, but Smith is a worthy favorite.
Darts free pick: Smith +110
William O'Connor vs. Michael van Gerwen
|William O'Connor||Draw||Michael van Gerwen|
During the first two weeks of the Premier League, van Gerwen was at his best, but he was shocked in Cardiff seven days ago, and then lost his second Players Championship final of the year last weekend. It has not been a good week for the best player on the planet.
And what do they say about not poking the beast?
I fully expect MVG to come out all guns firing in Dublin. The Dutchman will be furious with the way the darts have landed in the last week and has a point to prove on the big stage. He averaged over 106 in two matches Sunday, and if he replicates that form, he could blow away Willie O’Connor, who is ranked 37th in the world.
104 CHECKOUT!— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) February 13, 2020
Van Gerwen doubles his lead with an excellent 104 finish... pic.twitter.com/TlQdgLrMme
O’Connor has averaged over 100 just twice in his last 34 matches and has lost 10 of 13 matches versus MVG in the last decade. This looks set to be a demolition job.
Darts free pick: van Gerwen -3.5 on the handicap (-116)
Gerwyn Price vs. Peter Wright Odds
|Gerwyn Price||Draw||Peter Wright|
Wright and Price will clash in the most exciting contest of the night, and one I expect to go all the way.
Both men have been throwing well in this year’s tournament, with an average around 96 and a checkout success rate near 40%. They are also both coming off stunning weekends on the floor.
On Saturday, Wright averaged 120 in one match before he went on to defeat Price in the final, 8-6. He sealed the win by reeling in the Big Fish—a 170 checkout! On Sunday, Price made up for that loss with his first title win of 2020 and did it in style. He finished with a thrilling, 8-7 win over van Gerwen.
Both men head into Dublin eager for a win, but the way they are throwing, it looks to be a true tungsten tussle. I fancy them to take a point apiece, in what could be the highest quality match of the night.