Peter Wright v Gerwyn Price
As we near the business end of the first stage, Gerwyn Price’s chances are slipping by the week as he now sits four points outside the top four, and a quarter-final defeat here would leave a monstrous uphill battle. That’s certainly not out of the question against Peter Wright though, who currently sits third in the table and will be determined not to be dragged into a fight for fourth as he attempts to hunt down his first PL title.
Neither player is in sparkling form though, with Price winning just six of his last 14 matches since taking the title in the seventh floor championships of the season, while Snake Bite is currently on a W4-L5 run, though two of those defeats did come against Michael van Gerwen.
Price doesn’t excel on the big stage, being just one of two players this year yet to reach a Premier League final, and considering the other is debutant Joe Cullen, that’s a record he certainly doesn’t want. With that said, Price has only lost one of six previous Premier League meetings with Wright, and on that basis we’ll ignore the match result.
The Ice Man has the fewest 180s in the Premier League this year, with his 25 less than half of leader Michael van Gerwen’s, while Wright’s current form may not be enough alone to drag the match 180s to land an overs bet.
UNDER 5.5 MATCH 180s
Gary Anderson v James Wade
Despite not winning a single night yet, James Wade finds himself sitting pretty in the top four. A final run last week was ended by van Gerwen as the Dutchman took his third win of the season so far. He’ll be hoping to have a similar quarter-final fate that van Gerwen had last week too, as Gary Anderson had to withdraw after testing positive for Covid-19, and it’s unclear whether he’ll take to the stage here or not.
Even if he does, having covid is going to do nothing to improve his form and this shouldn’t be too much of an issue for Wade. The Scot has lost six of his last nine matches and in the Premier League alone, sits on just four wins in total after nine nights, which is particularly poor considering three of those victories came on the same evening. Form and health would both point towards Wade for this one, and that’s exactly the way we’re going too.
JAMES WADE TO WIN
Michael van Gerwen v Jonny Clayton
MVG seems to have found some serious form at the moment and a victory here over his closest challenger Jonny Clayton will go a long way to sealing his place in the semi-finals. However, if Clayton was able to come up trumps here, he’d put further pressure on van Gerwen at the top of the table and, depending on the rest of the night, could even leapfrog him.
The Dutchmen has been in exceptional form of late, silencing some of his critics as he’s won 20 of his last 23 matches and is showing no signs of slowing down. He lost in the opening round in the floors at the weekend, though hasn’t lost back-to-back matches since the beginning of February.
Jonny Clayton is tasked with ending that run, and with his record we wouldn’t put it past him. A semis run last week has kept him within striking distance at the top, while seven wins from nine at the floors isn’t poor form to be heading into this week. Ultimately it would be an upset of the Welshman were to progress, and with Mighty Mike winning each of their last three meetings, we’re inclined to side with him here. Furthermore, we’d expect a game of real quality with both really firing at this moment in time. They have a combined 99 180s between them this season at a 51-48 split, which are the two highest totals in the league, and an overs bet on the maximums looks the way to go.
OVER 5.5 MATCH 180s
Joe Cullen v Michael Smith
A first round 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Jonny Clayton last week has kept up with Cullen’s inconsistency this season. He’s not showing any form worthy of note right now, neither is he on a poor losing streak and it’s hard to gauge which Cullen will be showing up on the evening. He currently sits just one point behind Wade in fourth, and at the back end of the first stage every result matters just that little bit more.
Smith has had a poor campaign by his standards with just five wins in total and he’s just one of two players yet to win a night yet. Only Gary Anderson has fewer points than Bully Boy this year and while he reached the semis at the floors last weekend, his record on this stage is relatively poor. He’s unlikely to qualify for the final four, and that gives Cullen the edge for us in this one.
JOE CULLEN TO WIN
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