Fourteen weeks of high-octane, low-fashion and consistently entertaining darting action culminates into the Week 15 showdown at the Brighton Centre tonight with Phil Taylor, Gary Anderson and Peter Wright all fighting it out for the two remaining semi-final spots at the O2. Below we have previews of all three crunch encounters with the treble paying out £53.70 to a £10 stake.
Thornton v Taylor – Taylor to hit highest checkout @ 8/15
Phil Taylor knows that a victory tonight will guarantee his place in the O2 semi-finals and although the six-time champion can usually be relied upon when the pressure is applied the better value lies elsewhere.
Unsurprisingly, Taylor – who would still qualify if Peter Wright loses to Michael van Gerwen in the last of the night’s matches – has dominated Thornton throughout their personal meetings, losing only six times in a whopping 23 meetings.
However, The Thorn is a difficult player to predict as evidenced in the last two weeks on the Premier League stage where he averaged 104 against Dave Chisnall a fortnight ago only to follow it up with a dismal display against Lewis last time, where he couldn’t even muster an average of 90.
And with the pair sharing their last four meetings, the 2/5 on a Taylor victory should be avoided and instead replaced with the favourite notching the highest checkout of the night at 8/15.
Taylor has nailed a leg from a bigger score than Thornton in five of the last seven weeks and during this year’s edition has finished the night with seven 100+ finishes compared to Thornton’s three.
Anderson v Van Barneveld – Highest Checkout to be under 121.5 @ 5/6
Gary Anderson finds himself in the same position as Taylor but the task ahead of him is undoubtedly harder as he attempts to fend off the critics and make the last-four.
Anderson is one of only three players aside from The Power to have won the Premier League (2011) but following the death of his father and brother in a short space of time the popular Scot has suffered for form and hasn’t been allowed to forget it.
However, with four titles already banked this year, Anderson is back on his mettle and resembling the player that went all the way three years ago.
Van Barneveld has been excellent this campaign and as a result can make arrangements for London regardless of tonight’s results but he isn’t the type of personality to see it that way and go easy.
The Dutchman has had much the better of their head-to-head history, losing only five times in 19 meetings as well as taking the spoils in their last three encounters.
Tonight though is certain to be tense with so much at stake for Anderson and the best route to a profit could be to back that the match fails to contain any show-stopping checkouts.
It’s 5/6 that the highest finish between the pair is under 121.5 and that looks generous considering the evidence of this season.
In the 29 Premier League matches the two have contested in this year only on six occasions have they managed to seal a leg above the quote given and considering the context it wouldn’t be a surprise if the match failed to erupt.
Van Gerwen to beat Wright -2.5 legs @ 10/11
One of the biggest talking points of this year’s Premier League was this fixture seven weeks ago when Peter Wright took his oche-hogging attention seeking to a new level against the champ, Michael van Gerwen.
Those tiresome antics didn’t impress Van Gerwen and the normally ultra-polite Dutchman will be relishing the chance to end Snakebite’s stay in the league.
Victories for Anderson and Taylor will render the match academic but that eventuality is a 9/4 shot so the odds suggest the last match of the night will have all the tension and incentive the schedulers had hoped for.
After Wright whipped up the crowd before attempting a bullseye for a 161 and ducked down in pantomime style to try and hit a maximum in their match in Week 8, MVG took the low-budget showman to task by reeling off the next five legs.
Although Wright fought back to almost nick a draw the post-match interview revealed how much the rainbow-dressed rebel had irked him and that could come back to bite the underdog.
Van Gerwen has effectively already sealed top spot but like his countryman he is not the sort to let that affect his performance and he will need no numerical motivation tonight.
Back the title holder to win with a 2.5 leg deficit on the handicap and silence Wright for good.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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