The Premier League Darts event continues its tour of the UK on Thursday night when the Brighton Centre plays host to the fifth evening of the tournament, with the eight players back on the stage to play for more league points and the £10,000 bonus on the night.
We have seen some brilliant darts in the opening four weeks of the season and now that the players are up to speed with the format we should expect much more of the same on a good looking night of darts in Brighton.
Gary Anderson vs Michael Smith
We begin with the master against the protégé match as Gary Anderson takes on the man he took under his wing earlier in his career in Michael Smith, who will need to overcome the disappointment of losing in another major final on Sunday evening.
There are always two sides to coins like that. The first side is that he lost to an inferior opponent in a match where he should have won but on the flip side he reached another final and beat the likes of Gerwyn Price along the way so he is clearly playing some good stuff at the minute. In terms of results, Anderson certainly isn’t. He has lost his last four matches in all competitions and could do with a win. I think his lack of practicing is the reason because when he has won matches in events he has improved with each round he has played. I think this is a tough ask for Anderson though unless Smith misses doubles to let him in. Take the final away last week and Smith hit the most 180s seen at a UK Open, averaged close on 100 for the weekend and hit a nine dart finish. He’s 4/6 to win this match but when you consider if it does to a deciding leg Anderson would have the throw and would then be favourite to win, it might be worth taking the 10/11 on a Smith win by more than 1.5 legs.
Peter Wright vs Jonny Clayton
The second match of the evening sees the world champion Peter Wright taking on the defending champion Jonny Clayton in a match which could have big effects on the table for both of these men depending on who wins it.
These two sit first and third in the table but there are players queuing up behind them ready to pounce on whoever comes away from Brighton without a point on the evening. This will be the first time in his career that Wright will be introduced as the world number one and you would imagine that will inspire him but Clayton was disappointing last week and at the UK Open and will be out to make up for that. The odds for this one are about right so this one is best left from a betting viewpoint.
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Michael van Gerwen vs James Wade
The third quarter final of the evening session Michael van Gerwen back on the big stage when he looks to back up his win in Exeter last week. That catapulted him to second in the table and he meets James Wade here, who himself is having a sneakily good Premier League campaign.
Wade sits in fifth with seven points which when you consider he hasn’t won any of the weekly nights to date is no mean effort. Wade played some good stuff at the UK Open last weekend before he ran into a bit of a train in the form of Keane Barry in the last eight. Van Gerwen was disposed earlier in that competition when Damon Heta was brilliant against him. It is hard to see Wade winning this against the throw but we know he doesn’t fear van Gerwen and if he can stay with him early doors then who knows. I’m not convinced by anything in this one though.
Joe Cullen vs Gerwyn Price
The last of the quarter finals on Thursday evening sees The Masters champion Joe Cullen taking on the now ousted world number one Gerwyn Price with both men looking for the two points which will move them further up the table.
Cullen might have the advantage of throw in this match but there is just no consistency to his play and he was pretty ordinary in defeat to Wright at the UK Open last weekend. I would imagine the fact he has been overtaken as world number one will fire Price up a bit here but you only have to go back to Sunday to see that crowds are still getting to him and that is a huge concern. If he is given a fair crack of the whip then I expect Price to win this but I don’t need my dough down on him for some pillock in the crowd to scupper his and our chances so I’ll sit this quarter final out too.
Back M.Smith (-1.5 legs) to beat G.Anderson for a 3/10 stake at 1.95 with Boylesports
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