Liverpool is the venue for Week 8 of the Premier League and we've got all the best bets.
Michael Smith v Robert Thornton (7.15)
Michael Smith sat out last week after playing twice on the opening night. The week before, Smith was comfortably beaten 7-3 by mentor Gary Anderson averaging only 95.54, missing 7 of his 10 doubles and failing to hold throw in 4 of his 5 legs. In the Player Championship tournaments in Barnsley he was knocked out in the 3rd round on both occasions. Robert Thornton's miserable form continued with another defeat, this time to James Wade 7-4, although it was a marked improvement averaging over 100. These two sit 9th and 10th in the league and the table doesn't lie. Just one win in 13 between them losing 10 matches, both players have lost 22 more legs than they've won, their tournament averages are less than 91 and their checkout % is below 40. The head-to-head stands at 4-4 and a scrappy contest looks set to be in store. The total 180s line is set at 6.5 and that looks one to exploit. Smith has thrown 17 in 70 legs (0.24 per-leg) and Thornton just 10 in 60 legs (0.17pl). Even if all 12 legs are played these numbers suggest less than five 180s.
Gary Anderson v Dave Chisnall (7.50)
Gary Anderson beat both Adrian Lewis and Peter Wright in front of his home crowd in Scotland last week to make it five wins in a row for the reigning Premier League champion. Both performances were just about efficient enough to get the job done, although Wright missed three darts at a double for a point. Dave Chisnall lost again, this time 7-4 to van Barneveld meaning it's five defeats in six and just one win, and that came in the opening week against the league's worst player in Thornton! Anderson leads the head-to-head 10-3 although Chizzy won both league meetings convincingly last year and missed darts to win the semi so the match odds look about right. It's noticeable both players checkout rates are in the bottom half of the table (41.58% and 37.65% respectively) with both failing to take out big finishes. The highest match checkout line is set at 120.5 and the value looks in going under. In their 14 matches combined, only Anderson has once checked out higher with a 121.
Adrian Lewis v Raymond van Barneveld (8.30)
Adrian Lewis' Jekyll and Hyde performances continued with his rather tame defeat to Anderson last week. He averaged just 93 and failed to hit 9 of his 13 doubles. Barney put in arguably the performance of the week winning just his 2nd match in six, beating Chisnall with a 104.90 average including 12 140s and 4 180s, taking out 121, 161 and 152. It now means he's hit a 98+ finish in 16 of his last 19 TV matches (84%) and with the line once again set at 97.5 and his proficiency to take out these finishes, it makes sense to back him to do so once again.
Michael van Gerwen v Robert Thornton (9.10)
Michael van Gerwen looked to be reeling with frustration after throwing away a 5-1 lead then missing match darts to only draw with Taylor last week. Robert Thornton plays twice after missing week two with illness and expect him to feel the full wrath of MVG's rage. Despite dropping a point, it was still a high quality performance averaging 107.35, hitting 4 180s, breaking throw 3 times and a 46% checkout rate including a 170 finish with MVG remarking "I'll try even harder next week because I can do loads better than this." It looks ominous for Thornton and he’s already suffered two whitewashes this season. Van Gerwen himself has dished out two in Premier League history although there have only been seven since 2006 and with it as short as 6/1, the value appears slim. With MVG having to win 7-2 or better to cover the Even money handicap the play looks to be MVG to be leading 4-0 after four legs at almost 4/1. He's already won 20 legs against the throw (51% of his total legs - over half) and Thornton has won just two legs on his opponents throw, losing a huge 68% of his total legs. MVG's tournament average is 111.69 to Thornton's 86.35, hitting 29 180s to 10, 63 140s to 33 with a checkout rate of 52.33% to 39.58%. Van Gerwen has been 4-0 up v Smith at this stage and 3-1 up in five of his other six matches. With these two worlds apart it doesn't look a tall order to hold and break throw just twice against the league's worst player.
Phil Taylor v Peter Wright (9.50)
Phil Taylor secured a point in dramatic fashion last week with van Gerwen missing three match darts to take a 7-5 victory. Peter Wright should have claimed a point also against Gary Anderson but his misses mean it's now three defeats in a row. Taylor leads the head 16-5 with two draws but they've shared wins in their last four and their matches are generally quite tight. In fact, since 2015 Taylor has only won 73 legs to Wright's 65, including a draw in last years Premier League, so perhaps quotes of 3/1 Wright are a bit dismissive in a best of 12 format. However, he is favoured by the market in the 180 department despite Taylor's proficiency with his new darts. Taylor has hit 23 180s in 55 legs (0.42pl) and Wright 22 in 75 legs (0.29pl). This isn't reflected in the odds with Betfair offering Taylor +0.5 180s at 9/10 meaning even a draw will still result in a win.