Peter made of the Wright stuff

  • By: Carl Longhawn
  • Last Updated: February 6 2014, 20:13 GMT

Premier League Darts returns on Thursday and Carl Longhawn is backing Peter Wright to reach the semi-finals.

Peter Wright: Can join the big three in the last four
Peter Wright: Can join the big three in the last four

Premier League Darts returns this week and fans will hope the next fifteen Thursdays will be filled with an abundance of quality arrows.

Defending his title is newly crowned world champion Michael Van Gerwen he's alongside six-time winner Phil Taylor at the head of the outright market. Adrian Lewis is 5/1 third favourite and it is 20/1 or bigger the remaining seven in the field.

As the odds suggest, it would be a big surprise if one of the top three didn't claim the spoils at the end of it all, but all three are priced accordingly and I feel there are better bets to be had elsewhere.

The first of which is the aforementioned Lewis to score the most 180s over the course of the event. The 29-year-old had a campaign to forget last year but bounced back in the second part of 2013 and hit more 180s in TV competitions than anyone else despite being 50 in arrears of Van Gerwen by the end of June.

Although he is third favourite, there is not the level of expectation around Lewis as there is Taylor and MVG and this will allow him to play with more freedom and he is taken at 5/2 to top the charts in hitting maximums.

Dave Chisnall looks set to struggle to avoid relegation having endured a torrid time since reaching the final of Grand Prix in October. He has not won on TV since then, and some of losses have come from winning positions and to players who had lower averages.

More worryingly for Chisnall is that his confidence looks brittle and he seems to divert from his natural rhythm at pressure moments which is not working for him. I think 5/1 about him finishing bottom is very generous when you consider all of the above and the added influence of a boisterous crowd jeering missing doubles, an area of particular struggle for him.

My final selection is from the top-four market which, as the outright market suggests, has MVG, Taylor and Lewis as heavy odds-on to make it to finals night - but there is no clear favourite to join them.

I think this is an oversight by the layers and they are underestimating the chances of Peter Wright who looks good value at 2/1.

Wright's World Championship performance is by no means a fluke; he had been consistently performing without reward on TV throughout 2013. He is tough to break on his own throw and his heavy scoring will suit the format - he averaged more scores of 140 per leg than anyone in the World Championship.

I will be providing weekly previews of the matches but this week's set of fixtures offer up little in terms of value and it is prudent to use this week as a watching brief with the next fourteen weeks in mind.

  • Posted at 1340 GMT on 04/02/2014.