Barney looks a bright bet
The final week of regular season action in Premier League Darts is upon us this week and Carl Longhawn is tipping wins for Dave Chisnall and Raymond van Barneveld.
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Three of the four matches in Brighton will have a bearing on the battle for the remaining two top four places, the exception being the night's opening contest between Dave Chisnall and Adrian Lewis.
For differing reasons, both men will look back on their campaigns with a degree of frustration; Lewis will feel he should have played with more consistency and Chisnall will be annoyed that his best performances have come in defeat.
There is an opportunity to end the campaign on a positive note for both men and build towards the summer tournaments.
When the two met earlier in the campaign they played at a quick pace with ten 180s and ton-plus checkouts from both, a repeat of which would be some feat. I fancy that Chisnall, who has a favourable head-to-head record against Lewis and will relish the swift pace of the match, can end his debut involvement with a win and is backed to do so at 5/2.
Michael van Gerwen has, in all likelihood, sealed his position as regular season winner by beating Raymond van Barneveld last week and a point in the night's closing encounter will confirm this.
The positioning of this match makes it a difficult one to call in regard to opponent Peter Wright's motivation as he could be out of the running for a top four place before he throws a dart, so as such I don't see a betting angle at this stage.
Similarly, the night's penultimate match between Phil Taylor and Robert Thornton offers up little value at prices, especially when you consider Thornton has won four of their last ten meetings. Taylor will be motivated to continue his unbeaten run in the event and pick up the victory which would confirm his place at the O2 and set up a tilt at a seventh Premier League title.
Instead, the second match onto the oche provides a final betting opportunity as Gary Anderson takes on Raymond van Barneveld knowing victory will seal his place in the top four.
Anderson's form over the first four months of 2014 has been phenomenal, with four wins on the Pro Tour and two further semi final appearances. In the main, he has transferred this to Thursday nights with eight wins, a figure which puts his win-ratio second only to that of MVG.
In Barney, though, he faces a stern test and a player in equally good form, the Dutch thrower having lost just twice during the past 14 weeks, the most recent of those defeats being his loss to a rampant MVG last time.
Barneveld does boast a superior head-to-head record against Anderson and beat him 7-2 in week one. I think he can repeat the dose at 6/4.