Michael Smith v Gerwyn Price
It’s not been the most prolific of starts to the Premier League for either of these two, with Smith losing each of his quarter finals by 6-3 score lines, and he can’t keep relying on players of this quality to have off days. Price has dropped to third favourite having accumulated just two points so far, already sitting six points off the leaders Jonny Clayton. That said, there’s a very long way to go and if any player likes a challenge, it’s the Ice Man.
Price bounced back from his semi-final exit with a strong semi-final run at the fourth Players Champs of the season, losing to Joe Cullen for the second time that week, and he’ll be desperate to better his already poor record at this event. Smith is in poor form at the moment and is certainly there for the taking.
Bully Boy is the only player without a single point so far this year, and just one win from three at the weekend will have done nothing for confidence. The Englishman won the last meeting between the two at the Worlds quarter-final stage, though he hadn’t won any of the previous 10 head-to-heads with Price and we’ll back the Welshman to get back to winning ways.
GERWYN PRICE TO WIN
Joe Cullen v Michael van Gerwen
Joe Cullen is going from strength to strength at the moment. Having won the Masters earlier this year to earn himself a Premier League spot, he then reached the final on just his second appearance and lost out agonisingly to League leader Jonny Clayton. That seemed to only serve as motivation though as he went on to win both the third and fourth Players Champs of the season at the weekend and heads into this clash off the back of a 14-match winning streak.
Michael van Gerwen has slightly lost the fear factor he held for the best part of a decade, and a sluggish start to the year has seen him lose is grasp on the World Number one spot. Just two points from his opening two matches isn’t the greatest start, and he’ll certainly need at least a win here to keep tabs with the leaders. A 6-1 thrashing of in form Peter Wright looks impressive on the surface, though when you factor in that the Scot averaged just 84.71 on the night, anything other than a comprehensive victory would have been cause for concern. Cullen is the player to beat at the moment and having won three of his last five meetings with van Gerwen, we’ll back him to do just that again here.
JOE CULLEN TO WIN
Gary Anderson v Peter Wright
The battle of the Scots. Two legends go head-to-head once again in the penultimate match of the quarter-finals. Wright has been on stellar form so far this season, claiming his second World Championship title and winning the opening night of the Premier League season, though a substantial 6-1 defeat to Michael van Gerwen on night two having averaged under 85 shows that form can go out the window at times. He didn’t manage to bounce back in any impressive way at the weekend, not managing to reach the last-16 in either of the Players Champs, though we’d expect him to be at his best again here against his countryman.
Anderson lost out to Wright in a decider on night one having come through a tough tie with van Gerwen, though since that defeat he’s not shown much promise. He reached the last 16 of the first Players Champs but is currently on a run of four defeats from his last six outings. While we’d expect Snake Bite to proceed from this round, it’s likely to be another hard-fought contest of real quality, which leaves over 5.5 match 180s looking like good value at odds-against.
OVER 5.5 MATCH 180'S
James Wade v Jonny Clayton
There doesn’t seem to be much anyone can do to stop Jonny Clayton in this kind of form, as he sits three points clear at the top of the Premier League with five wins from six matches, and he’ll be hoping he can shine again here as makes a serious title defence. He relishes the big stage, and although his Players Champs performances haven’t been as impressive, he looks to bring his best darts when it really matters. His five wins so far haven’t even been taken to a decider, and we’d expect that to give him confidence against Wade here.
Wade’s single victory in the Premier League so far has come over an out or sorts Gerwyn Price, and even in that win the Englishman only managed to produce an 88 average, which would almost certainly not be enough to get past Clayton. You only have to look back to last week to find their last meeting in the semis of night two, which the Welshman took 6-4 to take his recent form against Wade to eight wins from their last nine meetings. While Wade can beat anyone on his night, that comes around far too infrequently at the moment and it’s hard to see a way past an inspired Clayton here.
JONNY CLAYTON TO WIN