We head to Dublin for the opening night of a brand new Premier League season with plenty of new faces.
Mensur Suljovic v Simon Whitlock 19:10
2017 ended with everyone talking about Rob Cross but it was arguably Mensur Suljovic’s finest year within the game. He won his first major when he managed to beat the Flying Scotsman, Gary Anderson, 11-9. There was speculation all year whether or not he would be included within the Premier League and he has deservedly earnt his spot. Simon Whitlock on the other hand raised a few eyebrows and it might have been his consistency and shock Grand Prix final which allowed him a place in the Premier League.
The opening night is always difficult to judge, especially for two debutants but for me Suljovic will deal with the pressure and expectation better than Whitlock. Suljovic’s doubles are a key part to his game and he won’t need a second invitation if Whitlock lets him in. 11/10 best price for the Austrian to win is good value in the opening match.
Gary Anderson v Michael Smith 20:00
The Two-Time World Champion is odds on for this particular match and rightly so. Much was expected of Michael Smith when he first entered the Premier League in 2016 but finished bottom and had to sit out last year. He won the Gibraltar Open in March last May but lacks consistency to his game. Smith is capable of keeping himself within the game if his head doesn’t drop and is a big 180 hitter when in the flow. Looking away from the winners odds, Michael Smith over 3.5 180s at 6/5 looks a good price.
Daryl Gurney v Raymond van Barneveld 20:40
Daryl Gurney was also another player last year to really burst on the scene and he is another who has caused such a mix up with the Premier League players this year. His Grand Prix win was fully deserved and he’s gone from strength to strength. His attitude seems to have improved and with that, so has his consistency. Take nothing away from van Barneveld, as he showed with his performance in the Masters he still has all the talent, but Gurney should really come out and be aggressive from the off. The support he received in Ireland when he won the Grand Prix was incredible and will work to his advantage. Once he is in the zone, he can fill up the treble 20s as often as he wants. Daryl Gurney to have the most 180s in this match is best priced at 5/6.
Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross 21:20
Their semi-final match at the World Championships was voted game of the year and anyone who watched it would agree. Since then, MVG came out fighting and won a fourth straight Masters on Sunday and he even hit six perfect darts five times against James Wade in the semi-finals. Expect fireworks and as a small punt, a 170 check out at 10/1 is worth a shout in what should be game of the night.
Peter Wright v Gerwyn Price 22:00
Snakebite loves to get the party started but he will have to wait until the last game before he can get his campaign underway. He has faced Price on six occasions and has beaten him on every occasion, which doesn’t bode well for the Welshman. Although Price is the outsider, his game has come on leaps and bounds and his energy on stage can often get the better of his opponent. Snakebite hasn’t played too much over the last couple of months due to an illness before the Worlds and this might just play into Price’s hands. It is also worth remembering Price missed a match dart to come from 2-0 down in the Worlds against MVG averaging well over 110 for the next three sets which shows he can handle the big occasion and against the best in the business.
We still expect the Scot to get the job done but Price will try and make it as difficult as possible for him as he has nothing to lose against the Premier League finalist. Gerwyn Price +2.5 at 5/6 has some legs to it.