Some five months behind its regular place in the PDC calendar, the Darts Premier League has reached the playoff stage.
And, while we won’t be watching on from London’s O2 Arena, we are at least back to Coventry’s Ricoh Arena where the four remaining competitors will, this Thursday, fight it out for one of Darts’ biggest titles, the PDC Premier League of Darts.
Taking place once more without fans, the Darts Premier League play-offs get underway just three nights after the World Grand Prix concluded. This was, as predicted, taken down by new world number two Gerwyn Price.
The Iceman, like Michael van Gerwen, didn’t make the top four in the table this season so both are absent this Thursday. We are, however, offering 23/4 on the Welshman to be crowned world champion on New Year’s Day, odds that may not survive long if Price wins next month’s Grand Slam for a third year in a row.
Back to the Premier League though and the absence of the world’s top two will bring inspiration to the final four left in the competition.
Your fab four for this Thursday are current World Champion Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright, Gary ‘The Flying Scotsman’ Anderson, Glen ‘Duzza’ Durrant and Nathan ‘The Asp’ Aspinall.
Play gets underway at 19.00 this Thursday and semi-finals will be played over the best of 19 legs each. The first to go off is the match between Glen Durrant and Gary Anderson.
Duzza enjoyed a great debut season in the Premier League finishing top of the table which, incidentally, makes him only the third player in 15 years of Darts Premier League history to do so after Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor and Michael van Gerwen.
That said, two time world champion Gary Anderson is the only former Premier League champion still standing in the event so he knows how to win. Plus, of course, Anderson remains one of the best darters of all time. His best form might be behind him these days but, since the end of lockdown, he has been in better form than Duzza.
Last week Gary made it to the last eight of the World Grand Prix, averaging 90 along the way, while Durrant had an awful time, falling out in the first round courtesy of Dave Chisnall.
Duzza cited having issues with his flights as the cause of the problem and any success in Coventry will require him to resolve these asap.
Duzza has been the Darts Premier League’s best player this season though and the lockdown seems to have done him no good whatsoever, delivering a pair of first round exits in the last two televised majors.
For the record, Durrant is also a former world champion, three times in fact, albeit collected with the BDO before he joined PDC company.
The pair’s head to head record in the Darts Premier League so far this season reads one Duzza win plus a draw, but given form and experience, an Anderson would hardly surprise.
One possible safe bet is to back Anderson to score the most 180s in their contest. In this season’s Darts Premier League so far, Anderson has landed 52 to Durrant’s 35. You can bet on that here for 20/27.
For the win, I think I’m just about leaning toward Durrant but only if he sorts his flight issues out on time.
In semi-final two, Peter Wright meets Nathan Aspinall. The Asp, the other Darts Premier League debutant, is also a player for whom lockdown stunted an otherwise impressive season.
Like Durrant, both Wright and Aspinall blew out of the World Grand Prix in the first round. Aspinall dropped out in first round of the World Matchplay too, albeit to eventual winner Dimitri van den Bergh.
Snakebite won both of the two occasions these two met in the earlier rounds, averaging 106 and so is rightly favourite to make the final which follows on Thursday night. With Snakebite though, as good as he is, you can never be quite sure and if the Asp can re-raise his game, then he could easily make the final.
Your outright Novibet prices for the Darts Premier League are then as follows:
As the highest ranked player in the tourney, world number three Peter Wright is worth 33/20, ahead of Gary Anderson at 14/5. Glen Durrant is a decent 13/4 given his dominance thus far and Nathan Aspinall is 34/10 which is also very generous. Given that it really isn’t very hard to imagine a Durrant V Aspinall final, those prices are indeed tempting.