Former darts trader Ed Acteson previews the first week of the 2020 Darts Premier League with a view to taking on the £20,000 Pick 5. He reckons that, despite the electric form of Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright, there is little more dangerous than a wounder Michael van Gerwen. If you agree with his Premier League Darts tips then join his Syndicate.
Premier League Darts Tips
Michael Smith vs. Glen Durrant
Michael Smith will be full of confidence after reaching the final of The Masters at the weekend. He played impressively en route, narrowly succumbing to Peter Wright in a thrilling 11-10 finale.
As impressive as that achievement was, the Bully Boy didn’t have a particularly difficult route to the final. Mensur Suljovic, Adrian Lewis and Nathan Aspinall are all good players but none are currently in the top seven in the world rankings. His 11-10 win against Aspinall in the semi-final may even have gone the other way had Smith not thrown first in the deciding leg.
Smith also had an extremely slow start in the Premier League last year. He won just two of his first eight matches and those came against Nathan Aspinall, making his Premier League debut as a wildcard, and a fading Raymond van Barneveld who would finish bottom of the league.
Whilst I wouldn’t expect Smith to endure such a poor start again, it isn’t a given that he will be immediately firing.
Glen Durrant is a player who I have a lot of time for. He has taken to the PDC like a duck to water since moving over from the BDO, which he dominated.
Having reached three semi-finals (World Matchplay, World Grand Prix, Grand Slam) in his maiden season, he showed that he means business. He also beat Michael Smith 16-12 the last of those three, proving that he has Smith’s beating.
I think this will be a very close game but, despite Smith playing well at the weekend, I’m taking Durrant for the narrow win.
Premier League darts tips: Glen Durrant
Gary Anderson vs. Daryl Gurney
There’s no splitting these two from their head to head record, both have won 8 against the other. However, Northern Irishman Daryl Gurney’s rise in the game has happened in tandem with Gary Anderson falling away. Indeed, Gurney has only lost two of their last eight meetings.
Anderson’s gradual demise has been brutal to witness. Persistent back injuries have held back one of the greatest players of all time and he was forced to pull out of last year’s Premier League completely.
Anderson is hopeful that the injuries are behind him and certainly showed signs of improvement last season. He also reached the semi-finals of The Masters at the weekend including a fantastic 10-2 demolition of Gerwyn Price.
However, one swallow doesn’t make a summer and prior to that event, Anderson had lost 15 of his last 16 meetings against players in the top 20 in the world, including the last seven in a row.
His improvement at the weekend is undeniable but I wonder how much it took out of him. I want to see a sustained improvement in his form before I trust him again so I’m taking Gurney to win this one.
Premier League darts tips: Daryl Gurney
Peter Wright vs. Michael van Gerwen
Definitely the clash of the night. The top two in the world rankings stage a repeat of the World Championship final in the opening week of the Premier League.
Wright is unquestionably the man of the moment. After fulfilling a lifelong dream by winning the World Championships, he went back to back by picking up The Masters title on Sunday night.
Michael van Gerwen, on the other hand, was eliminated by Welshman Jonny Clayton in the first round in a huge upset. It was his worst ever performance at the event, having won it five years in a row beforehand. So this looks ripe for another Peter Wright victory then? Not quite.
Michael van Gerwen is three things. He is the best darts player in the world by a country mile, he is someone who bounces back quickly from adversity and he is a man with an exceptional record against Peter Wright.
Indeed, from 79 encounters, Michael van Gerwen has won 59, a 75% win rate. 13 of those matches came in the Premier League and van Gerwen won 9 of them, drawing and losing two.
Success in the World Championships doesn’t automatically translate to the Premier League. Rob Cross, for example, reached the quarter-finals of The Masters after his Ally Pally heroics in 2018 before losing the first two games in the Premier League 7-2 (to van Gerwen) and 7-1 (to Simon Whitlock).
Peter Wright doesn’t actually have a great record in the Premier League and his final appearance in 2017 was the only time he has finished higher than 5th.
Throw the form book out of the window for this one. I’m expecting a big, big performance from van Gerwen who won’t take recent events lying down.
Premier League darts tips: Michael van Gerwen
Nathan Aspinall vs. John Henderson
Both made their debuts as wildcards last year, Nathan Aspinall and John Henderson return in week one of the 2020 Premier League. Whereas Henderson is appearing in the same capacity, albeit as a renamed ‘contender’, Aspinall is now a full time member of the league.
He earned his spot after reaching the semi-finals of the World Championships two years running as well as winning the UK Open last year. The 28-year-old is now ranked at 8th in the world and is clearly a player on the rise.
Although he didn’t particularly enjoy his Premier League debut, a 7-2 defeat to Michael Smith, he is undoubtedly a better player this time round and will be hoping to avoid relegation.
However, in John Henderson he faces a player who produced the standout performance of the wildcards last year. Roared on by the same Aberdeen crowd, Scottish Henderson fought his way to a fantastic 6-6 draw with Michael van Gerwen.
Aspinall should be favourite for this match and I reckon he will win it. However, with the crowd behind him there is no way Henderson will lie down, it will go close.
Premier League darts tips: Nathan Aspinall
Gerwyn Price vs. Rob Cross
Another match between two players with an even head to head. They’ve beaten one another 6 times apiece with Rob Cross winning their most recent duel in the European Championships at the end of October.
However, prior to that, the Welshman beat Cross in four consecutive matches, so has definitely had the recent upper hand.
Rob Cross started last season very well, reaching three consecutive finals and winning the World Matchplay. However, his form did tail off and, other than also winning the European Championship, he hasn’t been past the third round in the nine tournaments since.
Gerwyn Price, on the other hand, experienced the reverse. He had a slow start to 2019 but, after getting knocked out of the World Grand Prix in the first round, something seemed to click. In the 8 tournaments since, up to and including last weekend’s Masters, Price’s form included one quarter-final, two semi-finals, two runners up and victory in the fGrand Slam of Darts for the second year in a row.
He is clearly the form player coming into this and, despite a slight concern over the manner in which he lost to Gary Anderson at the weekend, I think he’ll see off Rob Cross in week one.
Premier League darts tips: Gerwyn Price
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