Premier League Darts Final – Betting Preview
May 22, 2019
This is it, lads. May is here, and with it comes the end of the Premier League season. No, not football. I’m talking about the real Premier League. The darts.
It’s been a season of ecstatic highs and shocking lows. Crowds all over England were cheering on the imperious Rob Cross, who so very nearly became the third man in the competition’s history to finish top of the table. However, his hopes were dashed last week in stunning fashion by a man who needs no introduction; Michael van Gerwen. However, though the Dutchman may have won the battle, the war is still raging. A war that will see its greatest clash take place this Thursday, in the Premier League Darts final.
Van Gerwen is vying for a fourth consecutive Premier League title, his fifth overall, though Cross will be hot on his heels after last week’s disappointment and will aim to go one better than his Play-Off position last year. It’s not just these two though. James Wade has more than enough in him to take home what would be his second Premier League trophy, ten years after the first. Daryl Gurney is the last name in the line-up and the definite outsider. It is the Northern Irishman’s first appearance at this level, but maybe he could prove the old adage ‘beginners’ luck’ right and shock the world. Whatever happens, one thing is sure; we are in for some cracking darts.
Michael van Gerwen vs Daryl Gurney
Let’s get this out of the way, Michael van Gerwen is the best in the world. It doesn’t matter who he’s against, or what competitions he’s playing in, he is the favourite. When examining matches featuring the mercurial Dutchman, you’re not trying to discern form or ability, because we know who is going to come out on top in those stats.
Instead, you have to look at the opposition, not just their strengths and weaknesses, but personal quirks and stylistic novelties that might just unsettle the Dutchman. And in this aspect, Daryl Gurney might be the only man you would back to beat him.
He may have a – 14 match deficit in terms of their head to head record, but Gurney is only the second player in the entire history of the Premier League to do the double over van Gerwen. He also pipped MVG to the Players Championship last November, which makes it three wins in the past twelve months. While he has been historically inferior to his opponent, Gurney has beaten him repeatedly in the most important matches this year. He always seems to thrive under pressure and rises to the stature of his opposition.
What’s more, van Gerwen seems to have a real problem playing against Gurney at the minute. I was in the crowd for their last Premier League meeting, and he looked well short of his best form. In fact, he looked genuinely unsettled. It might just be a coincidence that MVG has lost to Gurney so frequently, but perhaps there is certain fragility in his game that the Northern Irishman knows how to exploit. The smart money is on van Gerwen, as it always is, but don’t be surprised if Gurney manages to conjure up a shock this Thursday.
Rob Cross vs James Wade
Thanks to last week’s action, there’s already a budding contest between the two involved in this match. Wade just about managed to overcome Cross on the final day of the regular season, denying his compatriot the plaudits of finishing top. It won’t have mattered too much to Cross, after all the big prize is still there to be won, plus the two were always going to meet at the semi-final stage regardless. But the best want to win everything, and any obstacle in the way of that goal won’t be shown mercy.
Looking at their head to head record, there is little to separate the two, as they are tied 6-6 in the last twelve meetings with each other. Their form provides some deeper insight though, with Cross coming out the better of the pair statistically. He had the second highest average in the tournament at 99.48 and hit ton-plus averages ten times. There is no denying his ability, but he also has some experience to back that up. It’s only his second season in the Premier League and this is also his second appearance in the Play-Offs. To make it two out of two is impressive in itself, but he has improved massively since his debut and you would expect him to build upon his position from last year.
Where Cross is just beginning to carve out his legacy in the world of darts, Wade is entering the tail end of his. He has a much more storied history in the competition than his opponent, having won it in 2010, but recent years have been less successful. His last two semi-finals came in 2012 and 2013, with the latter exit coming at the hands of Michael van Gerwen. However, his pedigree shouldn’t be ignored and, despite his dip, he is the only man in the Play-offs to have beaten the other three.
This is an exceptionally tough one to call. Unlike the match between Gurney and van Gerwen, neither recent results nor form can really separate the two. Cross finished higher in the table, it’s true, but Wade was the man who denied him an even better placing and you cannot discount the consistent success he’s enjoyed at this level. However, Cross is having the best campaign of his career and momentum can be a powerful tool for any prospective champion. It will be tight, but I reckon the 2018 World Champion will end up in the final, it’s the least he deserves after an incredible season.
Van Gerwen and Rob Cross have been far and away the best competitors in the Premier League this season, and there would be no finer final than one between them. The two have treated us to the best darts again and again over the past year, showcasing skill that would test the mightiest names in the sport’s history. But one of them is going to leave disappointed, the only question is who?
If we’re looking at this from a purely statistical angle, van Gerwen wins. The fact of the matter is the Dutchman is one of, if not the best darts players ever. If you want proof of this, van Gerwen has easily had his worst Premier League campaign for years, and yet he still finished top with a 100+ average.
Cross has been sensational this year, he truly has, but despite his best efforts, he still ended up second best. I’ve no doubt he will put a good showing in the final, but the might of MVG should prove too much, and the Dutch superstar should take home another title.
MVG to win vs Gurney, Cross to win vs Wade and MVG for Premier League Darts Winner – 2/1 with Coral
So, we’ve seen the likely scenario, what about my own personal prediction? I said van Gerwen would probably make it past Gurney in the semi-final, but it would be a hard-fought win. My trepidation here is because I have this unshakable feeling Gurney is going to beat van Gerwen again. I have no evidence for this other than a few decent results for the Northern Irishman, but MVG has struggled against him recently and I can’t help but think that trend will continue.
Does this mean a dream debut at the Premier League finals for Gurney then? Unfortunately, in this hypothetical scenario, Daryl would taste glory only once in the campaign. If he were to make it to the final, I think his opposition would still be Cross. And, with the lack of an Achilles heel syndrome in Gurney’s favour, it would be Cross crowned as Champion. Again, this scenario depends entirely on van Gerwen losing the semi-final. However, if he does, then Cross becomes the heavy favourite for me. It’s a bit of a long shot, but there is value enough in the treble to make it a tempting one.
Gurney to win vs MVG, Cross to win v Wade and Cross for Premier League Darts winner – 39/1 with Betfair
Find all your Premier League Darts betting odds here
Cyrus has been writing about sports and many other topics for major publications over the past five years. Now working in digital marketing, he spends his days arguing over football and dreaming of his beloved Manchester City winning the champions league.