Week 5 Premier League Darts preview
Never bet against Michael van Gerwen. This is solid advice from any darts punter — novice or expert. MVG is the world No. 1, a three-time World Champion, a 35-time Professional Darts Corporation major winner, and the second most successful player in the history of the game.
But it’s incredible what can happen on the oche, and as the Premier League of Darts arrives in Exeter, "Bully Boy" Michael Smith stands in van Gerwen’s way.
Michael Smith vs. Michael van Gerwen
|Michael Smith||Draw||Michael van Gerwen|
There has never been a better time to back Smith. Last week in Dublin, he hit his first nine-darter — and the first in the Premier League for three years — and followed it up with a trip to the final of the Belgian Darts Championship on Sunday, where he lost to the red-hot Gerwyn Price.
Bully Boy beat MVG 6-5 in the last 16 of that tournament, as van Gerwen hit a spot of double trouble. MVG hit 36% of his checkouts, compared to Smith’s 67%.
MVG has won 12 of 16 matches versus Smith since the start of 2018, but there has never been a better time to side against the world No. 1. It’s well worth backing Smith on the handicap +2.5, and there’s no harm sprinkling a bit of cash on him on the moneyline.
Gerwyn Price vs. Glen Durrant
|Gerwyn Price||Draw||Glen Durrant|
There is no player in world darts hotter than Price. The only unbeaten man in the Premier League won the Belgian Darts Championship over the weekend and averaged over 100 in three of his five matches, on his way to his second PDC ranking title in 2020. He also hammered reigning world champ Peter Wright 7-1 in Dublin.
Glen Durrant suffered his first loss in the league last week, in a deciding leg against Nathan Aspinall, and I expect it to be back-to-back loses for him, as Price will keep his good run going.
Rob Cross vs. Daryl Gurney
|Rob Cross||Draw||Daryl Gurney|
Daryl Gurney is having a miserable time of late, without a league win to his name, but Rob Cross isn’t playing much better. Both are close enough in terms of three-dart averages (94.08 vs. 92.25), but it’s Cross’ deadly doubling which may seal the deal.
Every one of Cross’ Premier League matches has gone to a deciding leg, and I don’t see this one being any different. Expect it to be close throughout, with Voltage’s accuracy on the doubles seeing him over the line.
Nathan Aspinall vs. Peter Wright
|Nathan Aspinall||Draw||Peter Wright|
Aspinall has been the surprise of the league so far, with three wins in four matches, including the victory over MVG, while Peter Wright is coming off a 7-1 hammering by Gerwyn Price.
Both men went deep into the Belgian Darts Championship over the weekend. Aspinall lost a thrilling quarterfinal 6-5, even though he had an average of 103.75 and took out 71% of his doubles, while Wright made it to the semifinal round. Wright’s form was shaky throughout. He hit just 33% of his doubles across four matches.
The Asp has beaten Wright in three of their four matches and can add another notch to that tally here.
Gary Anderson vs. Luke Humphries
|Gary Anderson||Draw||Luke Humphries|
Gary Anderson will face "The Contender" this week, and in Exeter, it is set to be world No. 35 Luke Humphries. The Flying Scotsman defeated Cross last week, taking out 106 and 109 along the way, and says his darts are getting better every week.
There are positive vibes in the Anderson camp, and there are no reasons to not back the two-time Premier League champ.