Week 3 Premier League Darts preview
We’re into the third week of Premier League Darts, and the tungsten-tossing rolls into the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. After a thrilling opening fortnight, where seven of the 10 matches have gone to a deciding leg, we have broken down each match to give you the latest picks and analysis.
Peter Wright vs. Rob Cross
|Peter Wright||Draw||Rob Cross|
Considering Peter Wright’s form coming off the back of winning the World Championship in January, it’s surprising ‘Snakebite’ is yet to win on a Thursday night. Rob Cross, on the other hand, has been underestimated by the bookmakers in the first two weeks and upset the odds by drawing with Gerwyn Price before beating Nathan Aspinall.
Wright is the ‘form guy’. No question. Over the weekend at the Players’ Championship he reached both semi-finals and averaged over 100 seven times, while Cross only managed to win once across both days. He’s also chucked in 10 180s – more than anyone else in the league.
But ‘Voltage’ has revelled in the underdog role and has consistently scored well before hitting the right doubles at the right moments. Only Michael Van Gerwen has a better checkout percentage than Cross (48.2%) in the league and that is enough to keep this one close.
Pick: Peter Wright to win 7-5 | +750
Jonny Clayton vs. Michael Smith
|Jonny Clayton||Draw||Michael Smith|
Jonny Clayton’s world ranking of 16 makes him the toughest of all the challengers in this year’s league, and with a passionate home crowd behind him, the Welshman will have everything going for him against ‘Bully Boy’ Michael Smith.
Smith was untouchable for 10 legs last week as he raced into a 6-2 lead against Gerwyn Price. He averaged over 115, hit two 10-dart legs and hit a 140 checkout as he sailed into a shock lead. But he folded like a cheap suit to only draw the match 6-6.
‘Bully Boy’ will be no stranger to a hostile Cardiff crowd, having lost 8-5 to Gerwyn Price here last year, and if the hometown hero Clayton can get off to a good start we should be in for another tight affair.
Smith’s ability to put in good spells should see him win. Just.
Pick: Michael Smith to win 7-5 | +450
Michael van Gerwen vs. Nathan Aspinall
|Michael van Gerwen||Draw||Nathan Aspinall|
MVG showed his true dominant self last week when he demolished Daryl Gurney 7-1, seven days after beating World Champion Peter Wright 7-5 in Scotland. His tournament average of 104.6 is six ticks higher than anyone else and his checkout rate of 70% is simply staggering.
And people thought his change of darts would be a problem!
Aspinall probably felt he should’ve nicked a point last week in a 7-5 defeat to Rob Cross and he’ll be fired up to avenge his World Championship semi-final defeat to MVG last month. He kept changing his grip in last week’s match which is never a great sign, particularly when you’re about to face the greatest player on planet darts.
Pick: Michael van Gerwen to win 7-4 | +350
Daryl Gurney vs. Gerwyn Price
|Daryl Gurney||Draw||Gerwyn Price|
Neither of these players have a win in the league so far, but they couldn’t be much further away in terms of form. Price has battled to two draws so far and by this time of the evening the Cardiff crowd will be in full voice for their hometown hero.
On the other side of the board, Gurney has looked like a shadow of the player that reached the semi-final of this tournament 12 months ago. ‘SuperChin’ was hammered 7-1 last week and has been missing doubles all too frequently – a checkout rate of just 20% in the league says all you need to know.
Price will be going full throttle from the off here and will want to make a statement against Gurney as MVG did seven days ago. Back him to win and win convincingly.
Pick: Gerwyn Price to win 7-2 | +900
Glen Durrant vs. Gary Anderson
|Glen Durrant||Draw||Gary Anderson|
The highlight of the night could well be this clash between 2nd and 4th, and it is likely to be as close as the odds suggest.
Gary Anderson took World Champ Peter Wright to a deciding leg last week and had to settle for a point, seven days after beating Daryl Gurney. Glen Durrant followed up an impressive win over Michael Smith on the opening night with a more disappointing draw against challenger Fallon Sherrock. Durrant who couldn’t miss a finish in week one, then missed 17 darts at a double in a sloppy draw against Sherrock where the crowd was firmly on the side of the Queen of the Palace.
This is going to be nip-and-tuck from the first arrow. Gary Anderson has the slightly higher league average, Durrant has the slightly better check-out rate. Expect it to go back-and-forth the whole way before both men stay unbeaten and take a point.
Pick: Draw 6-6 | +335