Almost four months of hard work will result in glory for one of four men on Thursday evening when the Premier League Darts tournament concludes inside the o2 Arena in London. 16 weeks of league matches have given us our final four with only one walking off with the trophy.
The big night at the o2 sees both semi-finals being played and then after a short interval we will have the final too as the second biggest tournament in the sport at the present time comes to what should be an entertaining end. The two semi-finals are the best-of-19 legs with the final over 21 legs.
Michael van Gerwen vs Daryl Gurney
The opening semi-final sees the table topper and defending champion Michael van Gerwen taking on a Daryl Gurney who the pair will know has beaten him in their last three televised meetings, in a firecracker of a beginning to finals night.
There are not many who can consistently live with van Gerwen on the big stage these days but Gurney appears to be very much one of them. To be fair to Gurney, even a couple of matches on the TV stages when MVG has beaten him the Northern Irishman has run him close so I’m expecting this to be a crackerjack of a contest between two men who know they can win the encounter.
I like over 15.5 legs here. This might be the time that Gurney’s run comes to an end against MVG but I don’t see him going down without a fight and he can take six legs at the very least. Gurney has the scoring power to keep with van Gerwen and with little to lose he may be freer on the doubles to get to six legs. I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes really deep but however it ends it can have 16 legs.
Rob Cross vs James Wade
Rob Cross was one win away from topping the Premier League table and banking another tidy sum of money but he failed to win his last match of the season against James Wade and now he faces the same foe in the second semi-final for a place in the final later in the evening.
The head-to-head between these two is 6-6 and they have a win each in the Premier League campaign so it is difficult to know which way to approach this one. I think the one thing we can assume is it will be close but the one thing I can’t get out of my head is the fact Cross couldn’t deliver the goods in a must-win game last week so there has to be doubts over whether he can do it here.
Wade is a former champion in this tournament and he’s been in fine form for a while now. I believe he’s ready to deliver a major win again and as a value pick he has to be the selection here at strong odds against. I know Cross would have the throw if it goes to a deciding leg but I’d fancy Wade to handle the pressure better even then so it is the left-hander for me.
I’m prepared to risk a nugget on James Wade winning this tournament. Van Gerwen is the worthy odds on favourite but it is not stretching it too far for him to be beaten in the semi-final given that Gurney has a fine recent record against him but should the Ulsterman win that game it would take a massive effort to get over that emotional high to go again in the final an hour or so later.
We have two ways of Wade winning this tournament. There is the scenario I’ve suggested above where Gurney doesn’t perform in the final but we shouldn’t forget that Wade that Wade has two wins and a draw with van Gerwen in their last five meetings and is also unbeaten against him in the Premier League this term. We know Wade performs well at the o2 and he’s too big at 15/2 for the title when there is a couple of genuine scenarios that see him winning it.
WON – Back M.van Gerwen vs D.Gurney – Over 15.5 legs for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with Betway
Back J.Wade to beat R.Cross for a 4/10 stake at 2.40 with Boylesports
Back him here:
Back J.Wade to win Premier League Darts for a 1/10 stake at 8.50 with Betfair
Back him here: