Phil your boots with Taylor
Ben Coley is banking on Phil Taylor once again putting one over Raymond van Barneveld as the Premier League heads to Scotland.
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Venue: Glasgow SECC
2012 overall average: 96.73
2012 highest checkout: 164 (Whitlock)
2011 overall average: 94.07
2011 highest checkout: 161 (Barneveld)
2010 overall average: 94.84
2010 highest checkout: 161 (King)
- 3pts Taylor to beat van Barneveld at 4/6 (General) - Taylor boasts incredible record against Barneveld and should oblige
- 1pt Newton to beat Anderson at 12/5 (Paddy Power) - Newton arguably better than results and Anderson poor here in the past
- 1pt Wade and van Gerwen to draw at 9/2 (Sky Bet) - each played out two draws in seven and Wade can stop MVG juggernaut
Adrian Lewis v Andy Hamilton
After beating Robert Thornton last week, Lewis proclaimed that he always throws his best darts when the pressure is on and it's hard to disagree. The twice world champ has produced his two best averages for those two wins, and inbetween still managed a draw with Gary Anderson which means he's unbeaten in three. The layers are rightly giving Hamilton maximum respect, though, thanks to back-to-back wins over Phil Taylor and Simon Whitlock. The Hammer didn't do anything spectacularly last week but he did what he had to and it's easy to envisage him producing better numbers if the situation requires it. That being said, the evens Stan James quote about Lewis registering more 180s than Hamilton is tempting. He managed five and four prior to last week's two, and probably deserves to be odds-on as he is with every other firm having registered more than Hamilton throughout the competition despite being out of sorts in the earlier rounds. Ultimately though this is a no-bet game for me. Lewis has yet to totally convince on the oche but his recent record speaks for itself and against a man full of confidence it's hard to predict what gives.
Simon Whitlock v Robert Thornton
The first of two matches between players who both lost last week, and much may depend on whether the Glasgow crowds help Thornton return to the level he produced throughout the first month of his Premier League debut. It's probably a little harsh to criticise him too heavily for defeats to darting behemoths Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld and Lewis, but any chinks in his armour will surely be exposed by Whitlock. The Aussie failed to hit treble 20 with the regularity required last week but as opponent Hamilton said afterwards, their match was never likely to be about averages. It's therefore easy to envisage a better performance from Whitlock, who beat home hope Anderson on this very stage last year. However, the match prices look about right and if there is a bet it's probably Thornton's highest checkout to be over 97.5 at a shade of odds-on. He's managed a 100-plus checkout in four of the last five weeks and five from seven overall, so the layers appear to be slightly underestimating his finishing prowess. That being said, there are better bets on the card so we'll leave this potentially close encounter alone.
Phil Taylor v Raymond van Barneveld
One would expect this pair will want to put on a show and make this the highlight of the night as opposed to the final match, especially given that Michael van Gerwen looks down on them in the standings. Taylor found form last week with his first 100-plus average since February and having registered a 64 per cent checkout percentage, the new darts appear to be bedding in at last. His opponent has now drawn back-to-back games but may have been a tad fortunate against James Wade, although clearly having not lost since week three he's in decent heart. The trouble is, that hasn't really mattered when it comes to facing Taylor. In the Premier League, Taylor has won each of their last 12 meetings and has failed to win only once, way back in 2006. Not only had Taylor dominated from a results perspective, but he's rarely been troubled - his last five wins read 8-3, 8-4, 8-3, 8-3 and 8-2. This shortened format obviously gives Barneveld greater hope of covering the handicap, but there's absolutely no doubt that Taylor holds something over him which others do not and that's why he's crying out to be backed, even at 4/6. The 'incident' which saw these two come close to blows in the World Championships last year may be more likely to inspire Taylor than his opponent, and having been utterly dominant over van Barneveld it should pay to keep things simple and back the Power.
Gary Anderson v Wes Newton
Anderson was on the wrong end of an absolute thumping at the hands of van Gerwen last week but on paper this would look a fine chance for him to bounce back. Not only is the Scot playing in front of his own fans, but he's taking on a player who sits bottom of the table with just one victory to show for seven matches in his Premier League debut. However, this is clearly a drop in grade for Newton too having been outclassed by Taylor and at bigger than 2/1 I think he's worth backing. Last week's average of 93.07 might not look promising, but it's better than the one Anderson has produced both times he's taken to the stage in this competition in Glasgow. What's more, he's actually arrived in Glasgow with a very similar preparation in each of the last two seasons, losing 8-1 to Taylor before an 8-6 loss to Whitlock here last term and also finding Taylor too strong before being beaten 8-3 by Lewis in 2011, despite the fact that Lewis' average was well below 90. It seems clear to me that a player who is notoriously fragile finds life even tougher here despite a good record in Aberdeen, and Newton has produced enough flashes of quality to suggest he can get over the line this time. Anderson hit just one double from seven tries last week to exaggerate the advantage of van Gerwen and a similarly profligate display can see him beaten.
Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
A fascinating conclusion to what should be another pulsating evening and one in which van Gerwen is understandably favourite after last week's sensational display. Three 100-plus checkouts in the opening four legs started an annihilation of Anderson and van Gerwen begins the night top of the standings, a position from which he may be hard to dislodge. He's won four of his last five and is a worthy odds-on favourite, although Wade can take heart from his own performances and the fact that Lewis beat van Gerwen in Nottingham. Indeed, Wade beat the Dutch maestro when they met in March away from the TV cameras and holds a very good head-to-head record. With that in mind, there's real temptation to back him at 100/30 or indeed 5/2 in the draw-no-bet market, prices which perhaps don't give him the credit he deserves for a solid campaign so far. Perhaps more sensible would be a small bet on the draw at Sky Bet's 9/2, though. Wade has already shared the spoils with both van Barneveld and Taylor, and van Gerwen began his campaign with a pair of draws too. Obviously, if MVG produces the fireworks he did last week he should win, but Wade has been throwing with real purpose and can apply enough pressure to take a point which would probably suit both men.