It was an interesting start to the 2019 Unibet Premier League of Darts with a couple of surprise results, as was to be expected on the opening week of the season. James Wade got the chocolates for us with our best bet of the week, but the reality was the Barney probably should’ve won the match if he’d taken his chances in the early legs.
Gerwyn Price put in the performance of the night as he secured his first win in the Premier League by defeating Daryl Gurney with an average over 104. It was the best I’ve seen Price play on the big stage, and even though the crowd was getting stuck into him, he held firm. I’m still not convinced that he’s going to be a contender this season but it was certainly a good start to rebuild some of the trust in him.
Mensur Suljovic was also a little fortunate to escape with a point against “contender” Chris Dobey who had him on the ropes early. Perhaps it was just some nervous moments for Dobey trying to close off the match that allowed Suljovic to get away with a draw.
On to Week 2 of the Premier League and it’s hard to find too much in the betting markets to get excited about, but we have found a couple of plays.
The night kicks off with Peter Wright and Michael Smith in a mouth-watering encounter. Smith hung tough with MVG last week before failing to grab a point with a poor final leg, however Wright was equally as impressive in his draw against Rob Cross. Wright also performed quite well in the Players Championship during the week, reaching the semi-finals of the first event after defeating Smith 6-5 in the quarter-finals. So it seems like Wright is playing pretty well, which is enough to scare me off jumping into Smith.
James Wade is a player I’m looking to back this season, but I don’t think I’ll be doing so against Rob Cross. Wade got over the line against Barney last week, while Cross was pretty solid in his draw against Peter Wright. Cross averaged over 103, which is going to make it tough for Wade to crack, so again I’ll just be watching on.
One player I’m looking to take on this season is Raymond van Barneveld. He looked ok last week, and if he’d taken his chances early, he could’ve defeated James Wade. However Barney doesn’t have that ruthlessness anymore, and I think this farewell tour is going to get longer and longer for him as the season rolls on. As I mentioned earlier, I really don’t trust Gerwyn Price yet, but given his form of last week, I have to make this a bet.
The most intriguing match of the night is Daryl Gurney against highly-rated, three-time BDO World Champion Glen Durrant. It’s probably the toughest draw of all the contenders for Gurney to have to come up against Durrant here. Durrant is an accomplished, experienced player, who is no doubt itching to get his moment on the big stage in the PDC. Gurney was off the boil last week and it’s going to be tough again here, which is why the bookies have installed Durrant as a narrow favourite. I think this can go the distance and the over 11.5 legs market looks the most tempting for a nibble.
The final match of the night sees Mensur Suljovic face the world number one Michael van Gerwen. Not a lot to say here as MVG should trounce Suljovic and get his second win of the 2019 season. MVG was in ominous form winning the Players Championship Event 1, although he did suffer a loss to Johnny Clayton in the second event. I can see him hungry for a win here, and we’ll throw in most 180s + Highest Checkout for a bit of extra value.
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