The opening night of the Premier League Darts season takes place in Newcastle on Thursday night with the 10 star players all looking to get off to winning starts for the campaign. Among the matches on show on the first night is a repeat of the World Championship final while four other tasty looking games should ensure a high quality first night.
Kim Huybrechts vs James Wade
The first match of the season sees Kim Huybrechts, many people’s surprise inclusion for this event, taking on the former winner James Wade. It will be interesting to see if the Belgian feels under more pressure than Wade here as he might think he has something to prove to those who doubt his inclusion.
Huybrechts will need to turn around a significant head to head deficit if he is to come through this match and he will need to have upped his game from The Masters where he looked pretty ordinary. Wade leads their head to head 12-4 but has won nine of their last ten meetings and in truth few of them have been close. I fancy the Machine to open up his campaign with a win.
Raymond Barneveld vs Adrian Lewis
Two men who are no strangers to performing on the biggest stages in the biggest matches meet in the second match of the night. Raymond Barneveld is looking very good at the minute while you just get the feeling that Lewis is slightly off his game for one reason or another.
Lewis’ record in this tournament is nothing like what it should be and plenty is made of it every time he toes the oche in this event and I’m sure it will get mentioned here too. Barneveld leads their past meetings 33-21 and has won six of their last seven matches. We know he’s an animal that needs positive thoughts to perform and he should have that here.
With the form he has shown over the last six weeks I expect Barneveld to win here but I’ll respect Lewis enough to take the Dutchman on the draw no bet market.
Phil Taylor vs Dave Chisnall
Phil Taylor begins what could be his final Premier League season with a clash against the high scoring Dave Chisnall who has a hit or miss record in this tournament. He had that one season where he challenged for top spot but the rest of the time he languishes in the lower end of proceedings.
Taylor has an emphatic head to head record with Dave Chisnall but he is no longer the certainty he used to be in these sort of matches. I still think he would win but in the past you would be confident on a handicap. That is no longer the case so this is a no bet match for me.
Gary Anderson vs Michael van Gerwen
The World Championship and The Masters final repeat is the penultimate match on the opening night. Van Gerwen won both of those finals with plenty in hand and he is odds on to win this one too. Anderson has all the motivation he needs for this match so this should be a good watch.
It isn’t easy to take van Gerwen on these days but if you are going to do it with anyone then Anderson is probably the player to do it with as he has the scoring power to keep up with van Gerwen but the Dutchman is on such a role at the minute that it would be daft to recommend a bet against him. I respect Anderson enough not to back MVG though so this is a no bet for me.
Peter Wright vs Jelle Klaasen
The final match of the first night sees two players who had decent 2016s going at it looking to get their first win of the season. Peter Wright will have an eye on winning this tournament while Jelle Klaasen could be forgiven for thinking initially surviving Judgement Night is his main aim.
I’m expecting these two to put on a decent show. It will be played at that time of night where both men are used to performing and they have similar games in that they plough in the trebles and set themselves up for the doubles they like so I’m expecting a lengthy match here. With that in mind given the way these two fill the 60 bed up over 6.5 180s looks well within their reach.
WON – Back J.Wade to beat K.Huybrechts for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with NetBet
WON – Back R.Barneveld to beat A.Lewis (DNB) for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with BetVictor
Back him here:
Back P.Wright vs J.Klaasen – Over 6.5 180s for a 4/10 stake at 2.05 with Betbright
Back it here: