Premier League Darts 2017 Finals Night Preview: Two tight semi-finals in store : A 9-darter looks very tempting value
Event Venue: The O2, London, 7.00 PM. Live on Sky Sports 3.See Stats
It is finals night in the Betway Premier League and we could hardly ask for a better semi-final line-up as the top three players in the world are joined by the greatest player ever at The O2 in London.
We can expect high averages, high drama and high spirits in Greenwich with the winner walking away with a whopping £250,000.
Whoever walks away with the big fat cheque, we will see some stunning arrows and a little punt on a 9-darter over the evening looks very tempting at 13/2 with Betway.
Here is a look at the semi-finals...
Michael van Gerwen vs Gary Anderson
These two met just last week in a cracking contest in Aberdeen and the resumption of their rivalry should be equally entertaining in London this time around.
Van Gerwen won the clash in Scotland 7-4, firing in four 180s and it is the maximum market that we should be looking at again. Last week’s tip was over 7.5 180s and the boys marginally let us down by only hitting seven, but they will be firing this time around, don’t you worry.
The two double world champions tend to bring the best out of each other, as was demonstrated in the 2017 World Championship final when they hit a record 42 maximums between them. Anderson, in a losing effort, hit 22 which is the record for an individual player in a game.
This game is a race to 10 and between the best two players on the planet we can expect around 17 legs to be played. Given it was MVG who won last week and hit the most maximums, we will focus on him and it is fair to say he can manage seven 180s in 17 legs. He hit four in 11 last week without being at his best.
It is not a foregone conclusion, but Mighty Mike looks a good bet at odds-against to manage at least seven 180s.
Peter Wright vs Phil Taylor
The darting tide has turned significantly in recent years for these two men, and whereas just a short time ago Peter Wright may have been 10/1 to beat Phil Taylor he is now the 1/2 favourite.
Snakebite is now the world number three whilst Taylor has sunk to ninth in the Order of Merit. Wright comfortably qualified for the play-offs in second spot whilst the Power only secured his place in the final four on the last night of the league campaign.
It is understandable that the reigning UK Open champion is favourite to win this one, but that does not mean that we should back him to do so.
Wright may be the form horse, both in and out of the Premier League he has been brilliant this season, but he has not really been able to assert any kind of domination over Taylor when they have met.
Even as Wright has been in the ascendency and Taylor on the slide the record has been dead level. Their last 13 meetings have ended in six wins-a-piece and one draw; Taylor leads the overall head-to-head 20-9 (with three draws).
Snakebite also made the questionable decision to go and play in the Gibraltar Darts Trophy over the weekend where he was edged out 6-5 in the semi-final by Michael Smith. It’s a perfectly good result but not the morale-boosting win he was after and the travel is not great preparation for a huge night at the O2.
In comparison, Taylor is coming off a solid win over Adrian Lewis last week and will be well rested ahead of finals night. I’m not saying the Power will beat Wright, but it should be very, very close and Taylor looks good with the handicap in his favour.
- Michael van Gerwen has never lost a Premier League semi-final, winning all four he has played
- Van Gerwen hit the joint most 180s in the league stage alongside Raymond van Barneveld (58) - Anderson (53), Wright (46) and Taylor just (37).
- Peter Wright has the lowest tournament checkout rate of the semi-finalists (39%)
- Wright scored the highest average in a single match in the league stage - 119.50
- Phil Taylor did not manage any of the top 10 highest averages in the league stage - his highest being 105.87
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