Peter Wright v Michael van Gerwen
A rivalry for the ages is renewed as Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen go head-to-head once again for the Night two opener. While the Dutchman has dominated this event for many years, his sixth and record tying title has eluded him for the last two years now, and his form may be something for him to start worrying about.
Defeat in the quarters on the opening night this year means he’ll be playing catch up here, while he also failed to make any significant impact on either of the two players championships at the weekend.
The same can’t be said of Snake Bite who has followed his World Championship title in January with an opening night victory here to take maximum points, while he also won the second players championship at the weekend.
It’s hard to find a more in-form player than the Scot at this moment in time, while he’s also taken the spoils in his last three meetings with van Gerwen, so everything is pointing at Wright winning this quarter.
PETER WRIGHT TO WIN
Jonny Clayton v Michael Smith
Clayton made a strong defence to this title that he picked up last year by making a run to the final. He unfortunately encountered Wright there, and when the Scot is in this sort of form there’s very little Clayton can do to stop him.
He ran into Wright again at the weekend, suffering another defeat, though in truth he’s been playing some consistently good darts for a while now.
Bully Boy crashed out in the opening round, and while it’s nothing to be ashamed of losing to Wright, his average of 88.57 is lower than Clayton threw in any of his three rounds last week. While he can beat anybody on his day, Smith isn’t worth getting behind on current form, especially seeing as Clayton has taken the win in each of the last three best of 11 meetings between the two.
JONNY CLAYTON TO WIN
James Wade v Joe Cullen
Despite a debut defeat to reigning champions Jonny Clayton, Joe Cullen won’t be too displeased with his darts. A strong 95+ average is nothing to be sniffed at, and it was only a lack of nerve on the doubles that cost him, though that’s understandable on debut.
James Wade is more experienced, and if Cullen is as wasteful this week there’s little doubt that Wade will take full advantage. Wade has lost four of his five meetings with Cullen, and that should give the latter much more confidence than he had in the last round.
Wade has failed to fully push on since reaching the semis at the Worlds, though a victory over Gerwyn Price last week remains an impressive feat, though the value for us looks to be with Cullen as the more dangerous player.
JOE CULLEN TO WIN
Gerwyn Price v Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson had the toughest run of anyone last week having to beat both van Gerwen and Wright just to get to the final, and it doesn’t get much easier here against the dangerous Gerwyn Price.
Anderson came through his clash with Mighty Mike, and did well to take his compatriot to a decider in the semis. A Quarter final run in the first Players Champs of the year isn’t a poor showing, and his form is looking better than it’s been for a while now.
Price was a disappointment last week having gone into the night as favourite in front of his home fans, though a poor showing in a 6-3 defeat to Wade saw him dumped out at the quarters. He was back to his best at the weekend when reaching the final of the Players Champs, and with this not in front of his own fans he can play the villain yet again and put on a show.
Ultimately this should be a game of fine margins and a high quality encounter, so over 5.5 match 180s looks the smart way to go here.
OVER 5.5 MATCH 180'S