Premier League Darts: Manchester Betting Preview
May 1, 2019
It’s Week 14 in the Premier League Darts and the race for the playoffs is heating up. This week, the best of the PDC head to the home of football and Oasis: Manchester.
Roaring crowds and a chance at glory await, but only for those who bring the very best of their game. There are some cracking ties this week, which of course means some equally great betting opportunities.
Rob Cross v Michael Smith
Depending on the result of this one, it could either have a massive impact on the table or none at all. For Michael Smith, it’s been a really poor season so far and he languishes near the bottom of the table as a result. He has just three wins so far this year and has shown no signs of improving on this. At this point, a win would do nothing for him, so he’s essentially playing for pride.
His opponent Rob Cross, on the other hand, has it all to play for. He is second in the table, a point behind leader Michael van Gerwen, and this accurately reflects his ranking in the world’s best. Cross has been sensational for much of this season and, crucially, he has picked up points even when he’s not been at his best.
Last week’s tie against Gerwyn Price was a prime example of this, where he notched up a draw and some pretty decent stats, despite his relatively poor display. He’s going up against one of the worst performers in the competition in Smith, so I think it will be a comfortable victory for Cross.
Peter Wright v Mensur Suljovic
The next tie sees the only man with fewer wins in the competition than Michael Smith step up to the oche. Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright has just two wins in the League, the same number of wins he has against Suljovic in their last eleven meetings. He looks like a man who’s lost the will to play.
There’s a lack of urgency right now and you struggle to see him getting out of his rut anytime soon. It doesn’t look good, not just because of his poor form, but because the man who has beaten him so many times is on fire.
Suljovic is chasing a place in the playoffs and has good reason to feel confident ahead of Thursday. If he wins, and the fixture between James Wade v Gerwyn Price ends in a draw, he would overtake both in the table. This wouldn’t seal his position, but it would be an enviable place to be in for the rest of the chasing pack.
Mentally, I think he will be far more up for the challenge then Wright and on paper, it should be a straightforward win for him.
Daryl Gurney v Michael van Gerwen
Michael van Gerwen, what a man. The best of his generation, potentially ever, and he finds himself in pole position again. The Dutch superstar has been incredible, but when is he not? Van Gerwen has attained a level of consistency that is up there with Phil Taylor’s sustained dominance, and he has a plethora of titles to show for it.
He is fresh off winning back to back European ProTour titles, having sealed the German Grand Prix and the German Darts Open. He had to overcome some really tough competitors in the latter, but still emerged the victor regardless. It’s a reminder that van Gerwen doesn’t need to be at his best to win.
His opponent, Daryl Gurney isn’t entirely without hope though. As previously mentioned, van Gerwen had a tough time in Germany despite bringing home the trophies, needing a total of three final leg deciders to make it to the final. He also had a difficult time in his last Premier League meeting against James Wade, scraping a 7-7 draw. While he didn’t lose in any of those encounters, they did reveal some chinks in the big man’s armour.
There’s also the fact that Gurney has won the last two times he’s played against the Dutch serial winner, recording victories of 7-5 and 11-9. None of this makes it any easier for Gurney, but it means the Northern Irishman does have some scope for a win here, even if the odds are heavily stacked against him.
On the night though, I’d be surprised if van Gerwen doesn’t walk away with another win.
James Wade v Gerwyn Price
This is the pick of the bunch for me. A match between two competitors of similar skill, the result of which could have huge ramifications for the table. It’s the business end of the campaign and results at this stage of the year can define a season.
For Price and Wade, this has never been truer. If there is a victor in this match, they will effectively secure their playoff position. A loss could be catastrophic and a draw could see Mensur Suljovic storm to third. It really is all to play for in this one.
Wade currently has the best leg difference outside of the top two and he will be acutely aware of what a win would mean for his trophy hunt. He is well worth the total as well, having played some really good darts over the course of the season. Having both points and leg advantage over the chasing pack would give him a little safety net and he will be right up for it. Price might not have the leg difference of his opponent, but he’s no slouch either. In terms of his play, he’s been a little more inconsistent compared to Wade but continued to pick up the points regardless. There’s a ruthlessness about him that can prove vital in matches like these.
In terms of a prediction, this is the hardest out of all of them to call. Wade has probably had the better season; he’s consistently had high averages and notched some really good results. We saw him play well last week against van Gerwen, which is no small feat. However, there is an unpredictability with Price that could benefit him here.
The two are closely matched in terms of ability, but the Iceman can randomly turn the heat up at any point. If it goes the way I think it will, then we’ll have an absolute corker of a match here. Even though I don’t like calling draws, I have a feeling we might see one in this tie. It would be the kind of narrative typical of darts if they were to draw in a hotly contested match, just for Suljovic to swoop in and claim the spoils.
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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.