It’s week four of the Premier League and we’re heading north of the border to Aberdeen, a gloriously raucous atmosphere even by darts’ dizzying standards.
With two of the Scots taking each other on and the third playing adopted crowd favourite Raymond van Barneveld, there has clearly been a strategic approach from the fixture-makers to alleviate the home advantage that has blighted contests in Scotland between Scottish and foreign throwers.
So, we’ll have to look elsewhere for our betting angles in.
Adrian Lewis (10/11) v James Wade (2/1)
It’s a little early too early to suggest that games are ‘must win’ with a full five weeks of first phase action still to go, but with James Wade having already played one more match than most of his rivals he will be nervously looking over his shoulder rather than keeping an eye on the league table’s prime performers. For Adrian Lewis, two wins from three will be pleasing given his poor record in this competition.
There’s not a lot of difference between these two statistically, despite their varying degrees of success so far, although Lewis’ numbers do stack up better than Wade’s: 99.16 tournament average to 97.81, 46.15% success on doubles to 40.43%, and twelve 180s to nine. Perhaps most crucially, they both possess four points but Lewis has that game in hand.
Two defeats on the spin will have harmed Wade’s confidence, and so we’ll be backing Lewis’ greater consistency to bag the win for the tungsten tosser from Stoke.
Gary Anderson (5/6) v Raymond van Barneveld (11/5)
We’re into week four of the Premier League and still no win for defending champion Gary Anderson. Okay, so he missed a week through illness, but defeats to MVG and Phil Taylor will have hurt the Scot.
But a confidence boosting win in the UK Open Qualifiers on Saturday, coupled with the fact that he’s playing some good darts anyway, will be a morale raiser.
But Raymond van Barneveld is in good form too; this event always seems to bring the best out of the big Dutchman. The fact that he has only lost twice to Anderson in ten Premier League meetings can also be factored in, as can a tournament average of 99.81 and a checkout success rate of 45.5% – both healthy figures.
Barney has a phenomenal record on Scottish soil, so let’s back the Dutchman with a +2.5 Handicap at 4/7.
Michael van Gerwen (1/4) v Micheal Smith (6/1)
After his shock first week defeat to Wade, many were left wondering if everything was okay in the Van Gerwen camp. But three UK Open Qualifier wins, followed by back-to-back triumphs in the Premier League, confirms that the Dutch ace is very much still at the peak of his powers.
Michael Smith will have taken great confidence from his draw with Dave Chisnall in week three, and finally landing a point should be a great weight off the Liverpudlian’s shoulders. He should free up and play his best darts now.
But it might not be enough against a rampant MVG, who averages a huge 105.53 from his three matches in this event to date.
We’ll be taking Van Gerwen to win of course, but our selection will be Smith +4.5 Handicap at 2/5 as part of an acca. Bully Boy would need to register just three legs for this pick to come in, and he boasts the scoring power to accomplish that feat.
Phil Taylor (8/11) v Dave Chisnall (5/2)
The Power is very much back on for Phil Taylor, and his second consecutive average over 100 was enough to see off Anderson 7-4 in week three.
It was a rare off night for Dave Chisnall last time out, and a repeat of his 96.88 average against Smith is unlikely to get the job done here.
Factor in their head-to-head record – which reads 11-4 in Taylor’s favour from their last 15 meetings – and we can side with the Power outright here at a decent 8/11.
Peter Wright (8/15) v Robert Thornton (10/3)
An all-Scottish affair concludes proceedings on night four, and for Peter Wright and Robert Thornton fortunes couldn’t be any different.
Wright has become one of the most consistent statesmen in the game, and all facets of his game have looked in good working order in his three straight victories.
Things aren’t looking too rosy for Thornton, and the 5-7 scoreline against Barney in week three flatters him somewhat. His tournament average of 82 from two matches does not flatter to deceive however, and the Thorn will be under huge pressure to perform here both in front of his home fans and the fact he is desperate for points.
That could manifest itself in a winning performance, so we’ll leave the outright market well alone. Instead, let’s add some value by backing Wright to hit the most 180s at 8/13 – he is averaging 3.33 per match compared to Thornton’s 1.00.