ALL BELOW PRICES ARE CORRECT AS OF 10:30 25/02/2020 HOWEVER ARE SUBJECT TO FLUCTUATIONS
Glen Durrant v Nathan Aspinall
Durrant leads the way in the Premier League heading into week four after victories over the Flying Scotsman in Cardiff last week. One of the players currently on his tail though is his opponent for this Dublin clash. The world number eight has had a flying start to the year with semi-final appearances at both the World Championships and Masters, while victories over John Henderson and van Gerwen so far in this competition certainly puts him down as one of the players to beat.
Neither player exactly excelled at the weekend in Wigan, as Duzza crashed out in the quarters fairly convincingly to Peter Wright 6-1, while he could only reach the Last 32 on Sunday even after facing much inferior opposition. By contrast, the Asp’s best performance may have been just a Last 16 on Saturday, but he’s now won six of his last eight matches since downing world number one Mighty Mike in the last round of this tournament, chalking up four tonne averages.
These two have faced one another twice in their careers and although Durrant has taken the honours in each of them, his recent record of two defeats from his last three against the players ranked above his current ranking of 20th since mid-February leaves a lot to be desired. With that in mind, as well as Aspinall being in a good vein of form, we’ll back him in the outright.
Rob Cross v Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson will feel fairly hard done by to be currently sitting second-from-bottom in eighth place, but that doesn’t tell the whole story as he’s level on points with four other players on three and just one point off van Gerwen in second. His solitary victory did come against the man propping up the table at present in Daryl Gurney, though a draw with Peter Wright and losing to the current leader Glen Durrant isn’t calamitous. Rob Cross has found himself in a rut, with his best performance from his 11 tournaments since November being his quarter-final appearance in Wigan on Saturday. That includes his opening round defeat at the World Championships and he’ll still be struggling for confidence.
Of course, Voltage can’t be written off, having been runner-up in the Premier League 12 months ago, whilst he reached the semis in 2018. The Flying Scotsmen also knows a thing or two about how to go well in this tournament though, having reached the semis in each of his last five appeanreces including his title win in 2015. Moreover, he heads here having won in Barnsley at the start of the month as well as a semi-final at Masters just prior to that and he’ll certainly take some beating. In fact, a W8-L1 record against the Englishman is enough for us to be confident in his chances, and at the prices it’s a no brainer to get him on side.
Daryl Gurney v Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney will certainly need to change something if he’s going to reach the knockout stage of this competition. He remains one of the two players yet to win a game, while his form in 2020 on the whole has been pretty atrocious. He’s won just six of his 16 outings thus far, with each of those victories coming against much weaker opponents, and hitting four sub 90 averages as well as just one 100 says all you need to know. Meanwhile, Michael Smith reached the Masters final earlier this month having beaten both Adrian Lewis and Nathan Aspinall in the process, but two opening round defeats at the weekend does leave a few questions marks over his form.
However, six 100 averages from his 11 matches since drawing with the Iceman in week two of this tournament certainly puts him in the ascendancy, and we’re happy to ignore his terrible weekend in Wigan. Furthermore, a W8-D1-L4 record against his Northern Irish opponent since 2015 (including a fairly comfortable 10-7 victory in their last meeting at Grand Slam of Darts) will mean he has the mental edge heading into this encounter. Indeed, he’s covered the handicap in five of those head-to-heads and that looks the way to go again against SuperChin.
William O’Connor v Michael van Gerwen
This could pose a potential banana skin for world number one Michael van Gerwen against home boy and challenger William O’Connor. However, from the first three rounds each of John Henderson, Fallon Sherrock and Jonny Clayton have all failed to win (Sherrock drew with leader Glen Durrant) and it’s very hard to see Mighty Mike being the first to succumb to a challenger.
The Dutch flyer has won the Premier League in each of the last four seasons, losing only 10 of his 72 total matches played in this competition over that period. However, he did draw with contender John Henderson just under 12 months ago and so it’s certainly not a forgone conclusion. Four wins from his six matches at the weekend has put the Irishman in good stead, though he lost his only fixture against top-10 opposition there. In fact, against those current players, he’s lost nine of his last 10 outings dating back to June last year, only once winning more than four legs.
Van Gerwen has now won four of his six meetings with the Magpie since 2016, winning them by an overall score of 26-6, and with that in mind the handicap seems the way to go in what looks a fairly one-sided affair. Not to mention, the world number one has hit a 100 average in eight of his last 10 matches, with his lowest score being a 93.38 when beating Krzysztof Ratajski.
Gerwyn Price v Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price remains one of two players to be unbeaten thus far, though he’s also one of two who’re yet to win a game either. A runner-up and win on Saturday and Sunday respectively in Wigan will boost his chances of turning that form around, especially with that 8-7 van Gerwen victory in his last outing. Peter Wright, meanwhile, beat the Iceman in that final on Saturday and a quarter-final on the following day is a very respectable set of results, and this looks set to be an absolute thriller between number two and three in the world.
Both these players look to be in tremendous form and so it’s hard to pick a winner, even if the bookies do make Wright the odds-against favourite. The higher-ranked Scotsman has beaten his Welsh opponent now in both their meetings at tournaments this year, although 6-3 and 8-6 scores show how close they have been and so we’d rather avoid the outright market.
The Iceman has now hit three 180’s in both his last two fixtures in this competition, while Snake Bite is averaging over four from his three such matches and so the total 180’s looks the way to go in this fixture. That’s especially the case when considering they mustered up as many as 25 maximum pointers in their World Championships semi-final meeting.
ALL ABOVE PRICES ARE CORRECT AS OF 10:30 25/02/2020 HOWEVER ARE SUBJECT TO FLUCTUATIONS
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