Premier League Darts Play-Offs Tips And Preview
Finals night is finally here after sixteen weeks on the road. We are down to the last four players who will be trying to win the £250000 first prize. Michael van Gerwen topped the league stage once again and he will play 4th place man Daryl Gurney in the opening semi-final and Rob Cross will once again face James Wade. Our darting expert James Punt has produced an in-depth preview, check his Premier League Darts Play-Offs tips below…
Premier League Darts Play-Off: Michael van Gerwen vs. Daryl Gurney
A very interesting opening match Daryl Gurney used to struggle against MVG enduring a very long run of defeats to the world number one. However that all changed in the final of the Players Championship last November when Gurney clinched his second Major title by beating Van Gerwen 11-9.
Perhaps the penny dropped that Michael can be beaten and perhaps the penny dropped with Van Gerwen that Gurney is a serious rival. MVG had dismissed Gurney as being not good enough to be in the top 8 in the world rankings when they played in the Champions League last year.
They next met in the first phase of the Premier League and it was Daryl Gurney who was the 7-5 winner. He followed that up with another win over MVG in the second phase with an 8-5 win. The only other player to have two wins over MVG in the same Premier League season is Peter Wright. That makes it three consecutive televised wins over the world number 1. That doesn’t happen very often.
They did meet once since then, the semi-final of the Austrian Darts Open, and MVG was in full beast mode and won 7-3 but he needed some very big checkouts to gain the advantage.
Gurney Freshened Up
Gurney wisely decided to have a few days off last week, declining to play in the players’ championship events at the weekend although he did play a couple of exhibitions before heading home for a break. He beat Rob Cross in one match averaging 114 I believe. Michael van Gurney did play in the player’s championship events on Saturday and Sunday. He played well but lost in the semi-final of PC15, a 7-2 defeat to Glen Durrant and lost in the 3rd round on Sunday 4-6 to veteran Robert Thornton. That could be said to not be ideal preparation.
Daryl Gurney finished the league stage better than anyone else, winning three and drawing in one of the last four matches. Van Gerwen won two drew one and lost one. That defeat was of course to his opponent in this match.
MVG has a 19-5 H2H record over Gurney but in the last four its 3-1 to the Northern Irishman. Van Gerwen has won eight of his last ten matches, Gurney six. So MVG retains favouritism but those three recent TV wins to Gurney and two defeats for Van Gerwen at the weekend will have put some doubts in Michaels head. Daryl Gurney has the mental toughness to live with the best in the world but he now knows that he can beat Van Gerwen in big matches and belief is a very important function in professional sport.
Gurney Represents Value At The Prices
Van Gerwen is the 1.22 favourite, Daryl Gurney 4.50. The value lies with Gurney but I will be bold and rather than back him to just win the semi-final will back him to win the whole shooting match.
MVG has dominated the league stage of the Premier League in every year he has played in it. However, his record on finals night isn’t quite as impressive. Played six won four is still a great return but he has lost to Barney 6-10 in 2014 and lost 7-11 to Gary Anderson in 2015. He also should have lost to Peter Wright in 2017 but Wright missed something like 8 match darts to win the final which MVG stole 11-10.
The finals night is harder for him to dominate, he is more vulnerable and these days there are very few easy matches. Especially at this stage of the competition. The general standard of darts has never been higher and it is harder for one player to dominate. That he still does most of the time is a testament to his talent but the list of players who have beaten him has grown. It is no longer a handful or players who beat him as a youngster, he now faces talented players who on their A game will give him a game.
Gurney has built up a lot of big match experience and more than that, winning big matches. He has grown as a player and is still improving. Beating MVG was almost inconceivable for Daryl Gurney six months ago but now he knows he can do it.
If he can get past MVG the competition is wide open and it’s worth a modest bet that Gurney can win two big matches in one night.
Premier League Darts Play-Offs: 1 point Daryl Gurney to win the Premier League @ 12.00 generally available
For the match itself, Daryl Gurney looks a bit of value to get the most 180’s. In the second phase of the Premier League, the last seven matches Gurney has hit 23 to Van Gerwyn’s 13.
Premier League Darts Play-Off Tip: 2 points Daryl Gurney to have the most 180’s @ 2.40 with Betfair, Betfred, Bet365
Premier League Darts Play-Offs: James Wade vs. Rob Cross
Groundhog day. These two played each other in the final league match last Thursday and Wade upset the odds to win 8-6. Overall their H2H record is 6-6 and its 3-2 to Wade over the last 12 months.
Their match last week was hardly a classic but Wade’s comments afterwards were interesting. He said that he knew he would win because Cross would get nervous and find it hard to play his best and that certainly looked to be the case. Cross is having problems at the sharp end of tournaments and this is the sharp end once again.
Both players have won six of their last ten matches and neither is at the top of their form. Cross has lost three of his last four matches and he is lacking some consistency. His scoring is good by and large but his doubling can be erratic. In his last ten, his checkout rate has been at or below 33% five times. That simply isn’t good enough at this level.
Wade Finishing Better
Wade doesn’t score as heavily as Cross does most of the time but he is usually better on the checkouts. In his last ten matches, his checkout rate has been at or above 40% seven times. Cross will need to outscore Wade reasonably well if he is to compete. He failed to do that last week and while Wade was far from his best as well he was still able to win.
We got 3.00 on Wade to win last week and this week he is just 2.38 so the value is absent. One bet I do like is Cross to have the most 180’s. In the second phase he has hit 25 compared to just 13 for Wade. It was 3-1 to Cross in terms of 180’s last week.
Premier League Play-offs Tip: 2 points Rob Cross to have the most 180’s @ 1.61 with Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfair