Michael Smith v Peter Wright
It’s been a far from satisfactory Premier League campaign from Michael Smith so far, being just one of two players yet to win any of the first eight Nights. A 6-1 defeat to eventual Night 8 winner Jonny Clayton last time out was a poor result, though his average of 99.8 wasn’t terrible, and Clayton was just far more clinical when bringing up the doubles. Smith failed to bounce back over the weekend though, with two first round defeats at the floors before a third-round run, but his two victories came over players outside the world top 120, so that won’t exactly serve as a confidence boost against Snake Bite.
Wright also fell to Clayton last week, although that result came in the semis after he’d defeated his countryman Gary Anderson in the opening round. He bounced back though with a final run in the 10th floor champs of the year, losing out to his old rival Michael van Gerwen on that occasion. Ultimately, the Scot has the form to take this match quite comfortably, and the head-to-head record serves to back this up. Indeed, Wright has won eight of the last nine meetings between the two, including each of the last four while in the Premier League alone, the Scot has won each of the last three, including a 6-3 victory earlier this season.
PETER WRIGHT TO WIN
Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen
Top vs bottom in the table go head-to-head with Gary Anderson winning just four matches so far this entire season, with three coming on the same night. The Scot looks a shadow of his former self at times, though we wouldn’t rule him out entirely as he still shows glimpses of world class darts and on his day can be an absolute handful for anyone. With 15 checkout attempts in his opening round match last week with Wright, he’ll be disappointed to have only landed five, while his weekend floor championship runs provided us with little to get excited about.
A first round defeat against James Wade last week meant that Jonny Clayton’s victory drew him level on points with the Dutchman at the top of the table. Mighty Mike remains the favourite to reclaim this crown, though, and while he’s not as consistent as he has been in years gone by, when on song there’s still nothing anyone can do to stop him. He’s won two of the last three floor championships and goes into this one as resounding favourite.
Anderson, though, holds his own in this competition against van Gerwen, with the last seven Premier League meetings between the two since the beginning of 2018 seeing them both go a balanced W3-D1-L3. This new format though seems to favour the Dutchman, who has lost just three of his last 18 against Anderson across all comps, and we can’t see any way past him again here.
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN TO WIN
Joe Cullen v Jonny Clayton
The winners of the last two nights lock horns in the opening round of night nine, with Clayton looking to go top by outlasting MVG on the night, while Clayton will be looking to create some distance between himself and James Wade in the battle for the top four, with the gap sitting at just two points at the moment.
Victories over Smith, Write and Wade earned Clayton his second night victory of the season last week and while he failed to carry momentum through into the floors at the weekend, that’ll have little baring on his performance here.
Joe Cullen fell off after a promising start to his debut campaign, though he’s brought it back round for the time being and will be determined to secure his spot in the top four. He’s hit the most 180s in the league so far this year with 47 and if he maintains that quality he’ll no doubt be the leading contender to qualify.
That may not get him over the line here though with Clayton ready to pounce on any slip ups. The Welshman has hit 40 180s himself, and in a game that could go either way on the night, we’d expect a high quality encounter with an overs bet on the 180s.
OVER 5.5 180'S
James Wade v Gerwyn Price
It’s not been smooth sailing for Gerwyn Price so far, though he can burst into form at any time and his underlying stats show he could be about to make a burst for the top four. Indeed, the Welshman his by far the highest checkout average at 122.18, over 13 more than second best van Gerwen, while his 0.91 100+ checkouts a match is also the highest in the league. Only MVG and Snake Bite have higher averages than Price this year too, so at some point you’d expect it all to come together.
Wade has been plodding along this year and has picked up a sufficient points tally despite not winning any of the first eight evenings. He’s failed to gain any momentum and that lack of consistency may hinder his chances of breaking into the top four. Only Cullen has a lower average than Wade’s 93.61.
Confidence isn’t exactly high for either right now, and while we’d expect Price to go through if he’s on song, that’s too much of a risk to take with his lack of effective form. These two have the lowest average of match 180s this season, and an unders bet on that market looks the right shout.
UNDER 5.5 180'S
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