The Premier League Darts season rolls into Birmingham on Thursday and we have match-by-match predictions, best bets, stats and suggested accas.
Michael van Gerwen heads to Birmingham on the back of claiming yet another title and now faces James Wade in a bid to strengthan his grip on top spot in the Premier League.
Elsewhere Michael Smith throws in last chance saloon against Mensur Suljovic while Rob Cross is up against Gerwen Price and Daryl Gurney plays Peter Wright, who desperately needs a win to keep his very faint play-off hopes flickering.
As ever, I'lI run through all five fixtures, complete with head-to-head records, season stats so far, match verdicts, suggested bets and accas - plus a reminder of how the table looks.
Premier League Night 13: Thursday April 25
Click on the odds for more Sky Bet match markets
- TV Coverage: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)
- Format: Maximum of 14 legs
Treble: Smith, Cross and Wright at 9/1
Four Fold: Smith, Cross, Wright and Wade at 56/1
Draw no bet accas: The above two accas at 5/1 and 27/1 respectively
Tournament Average: 95.29 - 96.49
Best Average: 101.38 - 100.78
Tournament 180s: 31 - 41
Checkout %: 39.77% (70/176) - 38.13% (61/160)
High Checkout: 136 - 170
Meetings since start of 2018: 2-1
PDC Titles Since Start of 2018: 2-3
Career Titles: 5-11
The final nail in an incredibly frustrating season for Michael Smith could be hammered in tonight but even a win may only serve to prolong false hope.
Bully Boy has averaged between 99 and 101 in his last four Premier League games but he's only earned a point with a legs difference of -11 and that pretty much sums up his campaign.
Smith has managed to reach two finals on the Pro Tour as well as the last four of the UK Open so he's certainly enjoyed some decent momentum at times but at the German Darts Grand Prix this past weekend his confidence took a knock with a 6-0 hiding at the hands of Ricky Evans when averaging just 84.
Mensur Suljovic, by contrast, is one of the three players level on 14 points in the race to reach the play-offs although he's done so by averaging 100+ just once in his last seven games. In fact the Austrian has recorded marks in the low 90s and high 80s in many of these encounters so is hardly producing stunning darts right now.
That's why it's hardly surprising to see Smith priced up as favourites despite being six points behind in the table and I too feel this might be a result to upset the form guide.
Scoreline Prediction: 5-8
Suggested Bet: Smith to win and hit the most 180s at 2/1
Tournament Average: 99.97 - 96.07
Best Average: 104.71 - 104.11
Tournament 180s: 36 - 41
Checkout %: 43.45% (73/168) - 42.20% (73/173)
High Checkout: 164 - 170
Meetings since start of 2018: 3-1
PDC Titles Since Start of 2018: 2-4
Career Titles: 7-6
Rob Cross is playing better than anyone this season - except when he comes up against Michael van Gerwen.
A three-match winning run in the Premier League, in which he added two more 100+ averages to his collection of eight in the competition, was brought to a shuddering halt when suffering a heavy 8-2 defeat in their top of the table clash last Thursday in Cardiff.
Then on Monday he was storming towards a first PDC title of the season and maiden triumph on the European Tour when averaging 110 and 105 in stunning victories over Daryl Gurney and Mensur Suljovic respectively to reach the semi-finals.
Next up came you know who and he was battered 7-1, frustratingly averaging 89 when MVG managed a mark of just 93 himself.
Anyway, the point is we can expect Voltage to crank up the heat again and he should melt the Iceman for the second time this season, having previously done so in an entertaining clash in Berlin.
Price did light up Cardiff last Thursday to keep himself well in the hunt for a play-off spot and the way he's been playing, there's no reason why he won't contribute to another thriller.
If it goes far and the Welshman pushes Cross hard then the former world champion should be able to hit reasonable Player Performance targets of over 3.5 180s and a checkout of more than 86.5 - as well as the victory of course.
Scoreline Prediction: 8-6
Suggested Bet: Rob Cross to win the match, score over 3.5 180s and checkout over 86.5 at 3/1
Tournament Average: 96.33 - 95.40
Best Average: 104.05 - 106.64
Tournament 180s: 31 - 34
Checkout %: 36.47% (62/170) - 41.06% (62/151)
High Checkout: 140 - 160
Head-to-head: 7-14 (3 draws)
Meetings since start of 2018: 3-1 (3 draws)
PDC Titles Since Start of 2018: 2-2
Career Titles: 4-22
Like Michael Smith, Peter Wright is pretty much throwing in last chance saloon as he looks to save his season.
There's been precious little for Snakebite fans to cheer about in 2019 but one of his better performances did come against Daryl Gurney when he averaged 103 but he somehow squandered a 6-3 lead to drop a crucial point.
While that result was the moment Gurney's campaign changed for the better after miserable run of form, shooting up the table and also claiming his maiden European Tour title, Wright has struggled ever since both on the stage and the floor events.
In the Premier League he's picked up just two draws and lost the other four, with last week's 8-2 hammering against James Wade a new low as he averaged just 85.
Gurney, though, has gone off the boil somewhat having picked up just one point from his last three games and you could argue there will be more pressure on his shoulders in Birmingham given how tantalisingly close the race for the top four is.
Should Wright sneak what should be a close battle then his Player Performance targets of scoring over 2.5 180s and having a checkout of over 82.5 seem very tame.
Scoreline Prediction: 6-8
Suggested Bet: Peter Wright to win the match, score over 2.5 180s and checkout over 82.5 at 11/4
Tournament Average: 98.39 - 101.70
Best Average: 109.59 - 109.11
Tournament 180s: 37 - 33
Checkout %: 45.68% (74/162) - 45.93% (79/172)
High Checkout: 158 - 132
Meetings since start of 2018: 2-9
PDC Titles Since Start of 2018: 5-24
Career Titles: 33-122
James Wade has the opportunity of inflicting a rare Premier League double over Michael van Gerwen and I feel he's well worth a flutter to do just that.
Peter Wright became the first player to achieve the feat last season so there's no weight of history to worry about and, most importantly, the Machine is enjoying a great run of form and fears nobody.
Wade claimed a surprisingly easy 7-3 victory over MVG in Exeter back in February - which was quite frustrating in the sense I'd 'only' tipped him on the handicap - and since then he's gone on to maintain his momentum in the Premier League and also collect three PDC titles in Players Championship tournaments.
If you go back to when he ended a near five-year drought for a big TV title at last October's European Championship - which he followed up a week later with the World Series of Darts crown - he's won five of the last 22 tournaments - just one fewer than MVG in that time.
Of course van Gerwen, who triumphed at the weekend's German Darts Grand Prix, didn't compete in any of the last eight Players Championship events but nevertheless this showdown on Thursday brings together two of the circuits most in-form stars.
However, while MVG has certainly upped his game in recent Premier League outings with five successive 100+ averages, including 109 and 108 in the last two weeks, he's shown enough signs of vulnerability to give Wade backers hope.
He destroyed Simon Whitlock to claim his 30th European Tour title on Monday evening but he survived a real scare against Ted Evetts in the quarter-finals and only averaged in the low 90s to beat a below-par Rob Cross in the last four.
Scoreline Prediction: 8-6
Suggested Bet: James Wade to beat MVG (draw no bet) at 4/1
2019 Premier League Darts Table
- Van Gerwen P 12 W 8 D 2 L 2 LegD +33 Pts 18
- Cross P 12 W 8 D 1 L 3 LegD +17 Pts 17
- Wade P 12 W 5 D 4 L 3 LegD +14 Pts 14
- Price P 12 W 5 D 4 L 3 LegD +5 Pts 14
- Suljovic P 12 W 6 D 2 L 4 LegD +4 Pts 14
- Gurney P 12 W 5 D 2 L 5 LegD -5 Pts 12
- Wright P 12 W 2 D 5 L 5 LegD -14 Pts 9
- Smith P 12 W 3 D 2 L 7 LegD -14 Pts 8
- Relegated: Van Barneveld P 9 W 1 D 2 L 6 LegD -22 Pts 4