Oddschecker duo Tom Bloomfield and Nathan Joyes give the cases for and against the favourite in the relegation market.
Banker For Relegation: Simon Whitlock
The Aussie raised a few eyebrows when he was selected, but the PDC clearly felt that the Premier League needed a shake up to get rid of some of the deadwood. In all honesty, there wasn’t too many other candidates ready for the step up and his performance during the Grand Prix may well have earnt him his spot.
However, he is the only odds on player to be relegated and I’d have to agree with that. Whitlock doesn’t have the consistency to his game and this is what the Premier League is all about. He could be on the end of a couple of hidings and if he doesn’t get a win or two under his belt in the first few weeks, he could find himself too far behind to save himself from early relegation.
Michael Smith comes back into the Premier League after admitting he took his place for granted in 2016 and I can’t see him making the same mistake twice. He could be a player fighting on judgement night but he definitely isn’t a cert for 10th spot. Gerwyn Price has been a player who has been invited to some of the top tournaments over the year, going to compete in Vegas and Shanghai and has more than earnt his place. His presence and aggression on stage can often get the better of his opponents and it is something the Premier League has been lacking.
Simon Whitlock will survive Judgement Night
Simon Whitlock is currently the only player who is odds-on to be relegated after Week 9, but don’t be rushing to back it. The Wizard is a Premier League veteran with five previous campaigns under his belt. That experience could prove crucial, in a year where there are four debutants. We’ve seen how this tournament can derail some of the World’s best (Steven Bunting and Mark Webster spring to mind) and the mental toughness required to survive a loss streak is huge.
Whitlock has qualified for Finals Night twice in 2010 and 2012, and the main argument is that his game isn't as good as it was back then. However, the Australian has shown glimpses of returning to somewhere near those levels, no more so than his World Grand Prix performance last year. His all-round game is tailor-made for this competition. High scoring and high finishing will aid him to get fast starts and his schedule could see him rack up points straight away, with games against Mensur Suljovic and Michael Smith in the first four weeks.
If you are looking for value, then I suggest that Daryl Gurney could be the pick at 4/1. As I said above, mental toughness is huge in this tournament. And with the Northern Irishmen prone to the odd meltdown, he cannot allow himself to get in a tailspin. If he doesn’t pick up points before meeting MVG in week four, it could be curtains for Superchin.
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On the flip side of this, who do you think is doomed for relegation?— Oddschecker (@Oddschecker) January 30, 2018