The First Direct Arena in Leeds is the venue for the third week of the 2017 Premier League Darts season and I guess looking at the fixture list you could call it ‘rival night’ as a series of arch rivalries play out their latest instalments in Yorkshire.
The table is beginning to take shape and those trailing at the bottom urgently need to get points on the board to ease the threat of relegation while those leading the way will be out to push on and get into a position to launch a run for the o2.
Gary Anderson vs Peter Wright
The evening begins with the all-Scottish battle between Gary Anderson and Peter Wright. Both men have made decent starts to their campaigns with Anderson leading the pile after two weeks and Wright just in behind with a win and a defeat.
This will be the 31st time these two stars will meet you Wright has only beaten Anderson once since April 2014 which has to be a concern and in their most recent meeting at the World Championship, Anderson was far too good for Wright.
It is fair to say that Wright hasn’t really got going in this tournament just yet. Although he beat Jelle Klaasen in the opening week he wasn’t convincing and he was well beaten last week by MVG. Missed doubles being a worrying trend of both matches. Anderson is having no such issues and with him having the throw you would think any win would be at least 7-4 if not easier. With the doubles Wright is missing Anderson could cruise this so I like him on the handicap.
Adrian Lewis vs James Wade
The next rivalry to go again is the one between Adrian Lewis and James Wade. This will be the 50th battle between the two men with Wade having had the better of their previous meetings although his win in their last match was the first time in eight he had beaten Lewis.
Both men have got a win under their belt this season with Wade being ahead of Lewis going into the round of matches courtesy of his draw against Phil Taylor last week. Wade also made the final of a UK Open qualifier at the weekend so he’s in good form. Lewis continues to flatter to deceive in this tournament and if I had to pick I’d favour Wade here but not by enough to justify a bet.
Phil Taylor vs Raymond Barneveld
Two men in the logjam on three points after two matches meet here as the legendary tussle between Taylor and Barneveld takes place. This will be their 78th meeting and with Taylor retiring at the end of the season one of their last too.
Taylor has had a couple of good results in this tournament without looking to play well while Barneveld is scoring like an absolute dream but can’t seem to buy a double at the first chance for some reason.
Based on the first two weeks the 5/6 Raymond Barneveld to hit the most 180s looks a great bet to me here. We know Taylor will switch if the lie isn’t good and he hasn’t been all that crisp on the 60 anyway. Taylor has hit one maximum in two weeks so far while Barneveld has hit 11. I can’t ignore that 5/6 here.
Michael van Gerwen vs Jelle Klaasen
It is well known that these two don’t get along. There is no need to go into why here but this one won’t lack for fireworks. They meet for the 22nd time here with van Gerwen having won their last eight matches and 11 of their last 12.
Since the fallout between the two there is no doubt that MVG enjoys putting Klaasen to the sword and in truth there hasn’t been many times that ‘The Cobra’ has had much answer to the Green Machine. Klaasen’s biggest problem here could be the form of van Gerwen. He’s just battered Peter Wright in this and slammed in two nine darters in the same match in winning a UK Open qualifier over the weekend.
MVG has a handicap of 4.5 legs here and while I think he will cover that it is probably one too many for comfort so I’ll let him cover that if he is good enough rather than back him to do so.
Dave Chisnall vs Kim Huybrechts
Two men expected to struggle this season are doing exactly that as pointless so far Dave Chisnall meets a Kim Huybrechts who only has one point himself. Chisnall goes into the match as the 11-4 leader in their head to head record which will be of some comfort to him.
In fairness to Huybrechts although the results don’t necessarily show it he has played well in this tournament so far whereas Chisnall might be hitting the 180s but he can’t buy a double at the minute. Neither man looks convincing on the outer ring and while Chisnall has that lead in their battles the value is probably with Huybrechts but I don’t fancy either enough to bet on the match.
Back G.Anderson (-2.5 legs) to beat P.Wright for a 4/10 stake at 2.10 with Bwin
Back him here:
WON – Back R.Barneveld Most 180s vs P.Taylor for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Ladbrokes