Rod's Odds - Premier League Darts - Week 1
The 2015 Premier League gets off with a big bang when nearly twelve thousand darts fans will cram themselves into the First Direct stadium in Leeds.
Once again there's a great line up for this year's series of matches; the first ten nights will sort out the men from the boys when two will drop out to leave the other eight to play another five nights to find those last four that will compete in the play-offs at the O2 in London on 21st May.
My tip to take the title is the newly-crowned Masters winner Michael van Gerwen [5/2]. His play last week was incredible with a 112 average, 40% on doubles, 14 x 180s and two 9-dart legs missed in the final against Raymond van Barneveld.
Mighty Mike look refreshed and full of energy throughout the whole tournament - perhaps the everyone else should have taken his lead and had a good a holiday after the William Hill World Darts Championship.
The Top Four to make the play-offs is a hard call with so many of them playing well but I have got to go with:
* Michael van Gerwen [1/5], World No. 1, because of his strength and mind set at the moment.
* Gary Anderson [1/2], World Champion, he has his scoring power and is now hitting all the doubles.
* Phil Taylor [2/9], I feel that the problems with these new darts will be sorted out and, like last year, will turn his game around after a bad start.
* Fourth spot is the hard one. There are so many that can take it , however, I'm going with Adi Lewis [6/5], again a player that has exceptional scoring power.
Player with the most 180s - this year I'm going with Adi Lewis [4/1].
There will possible be over 700 legs of darts played in this year's Premier League, so there's plenty of scope for a 9-darts over the 16 weeks, even more likely that we'll see a 170-checkout so look out for those bets on a week-by-week basis. Week 1 in Leeds, William Hill are offering 6/1 the 9-dart finish and 10/3 there's a 170 checkout.
Now lets look at this week's games.
First up, Dave Chisnall takes on Peter Wright and, like the bookies who can't split them in this game, I'm saying that it will be a draw. Both are playing well and Chizzy is hitting a lot of 180s but although Snakebite has changed his darts again his mind-set is good enough to cope with it.
* The draw at 10/3
* Certainly Chisnall to hit the most 180s in this match, but at 2/5 you might want to double it up with something
Raymond van Barneveld plays Adi Lewis next and this could be a cracker. Barney played really well last week when making the final of the Masters and he seems to be very happy with his darts and game at the moment and will be a hard player to beat, certainly in the early days of the league. Barney played really well last week when making the final of the Masters and he seems to be very happy with his darts
Although I did not put him in the top four it would not surprise me at all to see Barney make it. Jackpot is also playing well, however he did suffer from jet-lag last week and that could still be in him.
Another game that could be a draw, however I'm going with a Barney win but a close game so have a look at Barney to win and Lewis to score at least four legs 15/4. Another market I like in this game is over 117.5 on the checkout at 5/6.
* Raymond van Barneveld to win and both players win 4 or more legs at 15/4
* Highest Match Checkout - Over 117.5 at 5/6
Michael van Gerwen is up against one of the new boys in Kim Huybrechts. I think with the way Michael played last week he will be feeling so confident of a convincing win. His all round game was exceptional and I feel it will take something special from Kim to beat him.
The short format will help the Belgian a little as will the fact that he beat Michael in the Grand Slam but it's the first time he will witness the big Premier League crowds, something that takes getting used too.
There is not a lot of other value for me in this game but I am going with the following handicap:
* Michael van Gerwen (-2.5 legs) at Even Money
Next game sees the repeat of the William Hill World Championship final and I feel that it will be the same result with Gary Anderson beating Phil Taylor.
Gary is flying at the moment and will feel confident that he can get over the line again. Phil has been missing too many doubles of late as these new darts are not quite worked in yet, however take him lightly at your peril, if Taylor starts hitting those doubles then anything could happen, we all know what he can do.
* Gary Anderson to win at 6/4.
* Gary Anderson most 180s at 4/7 even though Phil is hitting a lot more of late.
Last game of the night goes to the other newcomer Stephen Bunting matched up with James Wade and although William Hill odds suggest the draw here I am going with a Wade win. There is a bit of previous from their last match which Bunting won so Sky and the crowd will warm that up and may play a part in the outcome
James Wade has been playing some solid darts since being left out of this event last year and machine-like is a perfect nickname for his game.
Bunting has proven the kind of quality he is and the quick progression up the rankings last year has made people sit up and take notice. He has a good all round game, however I feel, like Huybrechts, the crowd might play a part in this game.
* Wade to win the match 13/10
* Over 11.5 legs at 11/10 is also worth a look.
My bets of the night:
Chisnall [2/5] and Anderson [4/7] to hit the most 180s in their matches - the double is 6/5
Chisnal v Wright [11/10], Bunting v Wade [11/10], Barney v Lewis [11/10] all over 11.5 legs - the treble pays over 8/1