Premier League: week one
Premier League darts returns on Thursday so for the next few weeks keep your Thursdays free for the best darts action around. The opening night of this year's tournament is at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
Here at William Hill we have more betting than ever on the most entertaining tournament in the darts world. We have a fantastic four-fold accumulator available with all the favourites from the first round matches plus an array of match markets which include draw no bet, handicaps, correct score, three-dart averages, 170 checkout, highest checkout and many others.
As well as above we also have an intriguing market on whether there will be a nine-dart finish on the night. Raymond van Barneveld recently got one in the World Championship and James Wade did the same at the Grand Slam, so come the end of the night the 9/1 about there being one could be huge.
The first week's enhanced accumulator is available at a great value 8/1, read below for previews of each match and to find out who makes up the accumulator.
First up on the oche on Thursday are James 'The Machine' Wade and John 'Darth Maple' Part. Wade has recently become the new world number two and after reaching the semi-finals as a result of a quarter-final victory over rival Raymond van Barneveld in the recent Players Championship his confidence will be high.
The Machine made an impressive debut in this tournament last year finishing second in the table, then winning his semi against Barney before finally falling to the near invincible Phil Taylor in the final.
Wade's opponent Canadian John Part caused a shock by winning his third world title in 2008 but since then has been in rather disappointing form. In last year's Premier League he finished bottom of the table winning just four of his matches so quite rightly James Wade is 8/15 favourite (with Part at 5/2 and the draw 9/2) to win this 2009 opener and as a result he is the first selection in our accumulator.
The second match features Dutchman Jelle 'The Matador' Klaasen, who is making his Premier League debut, against Terry 'The Bull' Jenkins. The young Dutchman had failed to really deliver since moving over from the BDO after winning the Lakeside World Championship in 2006. But Klaasen was very impressive in some matches in this year's PDC World Championship at Alexandra Palace.
He eventually lost to his fellow countryman van Barneveld in the quarter-finals but his performances in the first three rounds showed signs of great promise. At the same time Jenkins disappointingly suffered a first-round exit despite being seeded fifth at the Ally Pally.
For this reason The Matador is the preference in the betting at 11/10 compared with the 5/4 available for The Bull, so Klaasen joins Wade in our accumulator.
The third match of the evening sees another debutant in the shape of Mervyn 'The King' King. King only defected to the PDC from the BDO in 2007 yet he has already risen to sixth in the order of merit. He was a losing semi-finalist to Phil Taylor at Alexandra Palace and lost in the quarter-finals at the Players Championship to Ronnie Baxter.
King opens up his Premier League campaign against one of the great dart entertainers, Wayne 'Hawaii 5-0-1' Mardle. Mardle yet again has received a Sky Sports wild-card for the Premier League. Last year Hawaii 5-0-1 narrowly missed out on a place in the play-offs due to an inferior leg difference.
These two players recently met at the Circus Tavern in the Players Championship where King won their second-round match 6-4. Here he is favourite to win once again at odds of 4/5 and thus is the third player in our four-fold.
The last match on the opening night is an absolute cracker, as arguably the two best players in the world face-off in a match which is a repeat of the World Championship final showdown. Phil 'The Power' Taylor had too much power that night for Raymond van Barneveld as Taylor won his 14th world title.
Barney therefore will be gunning for revenge at the first available opportunity, however, since the world final Taylor has been in imperious form at the Players Championship as he won yet another tournament.
Since the Premier League began in 2005 The Power has had a monopoly on the tournament winning it every single year. You wouldn't back against him adding a fifth title this year and he is 2/5 to get his 2009 campaign off to the perfect start.
Therefore Phil Taylor completes our enhanced accumulator and he should produce the perfect finish to an exciting night of darts in Liverpool.