Week 3 of the 2019 Unibet Darts Premier League kicks off with Gerwyn Price taking on James Wade. I mentioned in my previous article that I’d be looking for spots to back Wade this season, and this looks an ideal situation. Price has started the season quite strongly, with a win and a draw in his first two matches, but that only means we’re getting a better price on Wade. The Machine went down to Rob Cross last week, but he averaged over 100 with 50% checkouts, so there wasn’t much more he could do. Wade has the big game experience and is far more consistent than Price, so I’m surprised that Wade is the underdog here. Best bet!
Contender Steve Lennon will make his Premier League debut against Peter Wright. It’s a huge ask for Lennon as Wright is showing some very good form to start this season. Wright pulled a draw last week against Michael Smith but that was largely because of Smith letting opportunities slip through his fingers. Wright should get the win here, but like most of the contender matches this season, I’ll be leaving this one alone.
The highlight of the night is the clash of the last two World Champions – Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross. MVG was in sublime touch during the week as he won another Players Championship title. It seems every week that MVG is throwing nine-darters in these things and at times, is just untouchable. However Cross also looks in good form and is perhaps a little more focussed in this Premier League than his debut season. MVG is a short favourite, but I think Cross can keep it competitive so there’s a couple of ways you could play it. Cross at the +2.5 or even +3.5 leg handicap is attractive, or you could take the over 10.5 legs option. I expect a high quality match, so I’m going to take the average for Cross to be over 99.5. He’s averaging 103 so far this season, and was well over the 100 mark in seven of his nine Players Championship matches over the weekend. Playing MVG is always good for the average so this seems a solid play.
Another match I’m excited about is Michael Smith taking on Daryl Gurney. I’m fans of both of these guys, so I’m hoping it will be a good contest. Smith has had two tough matches to start with, against MVG and Wright, so he’ll be keen for his first win of the season here. However Gurney scored his first win of the season last week with a very impressive display against Glen Durrant. Gurney was 7 from 9 on his checkout attempts which shows he’s back to some of his best form. I think Smith can get the win here, but wouldn’t be surprised to see it go the distance.
The final match is probably the least interesting match of the night with Mensur Suljovic to take on Raymond van Barneveld. Both will see this match as an opportunity to get their first win of the season, and ultimately this match may prove to be the decider when it comes to relegation. To be fair on Barney, he probably should’ve beaten James Wade in the first week, and he pulled a draw against the in-form Gerwyn Price last week after it looked like Price was home. However his average over the first two weeks is 10 points lower than that of Suljovic. I really didn’t want to bet on this match at all but the odds for Barney seem way too high. I really think it could go either way, but Suljovic is a warm favourite with the bookies. Argh, I have to bet Barney based purely on price, but I don’t love it!
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