The penultimate week of the Unibet Premier League Darts regular season is staged in Sheffield and we have match-by-match predictions, best bets, stats and suggested accas.
Two more rounds of fixtures and six of the eight players are still in the race for the play-offs, although the leading two are almost assured of their spots at Finals Night.
Rob Cross and Michael van Gerwen can rubber stamp their qualification with a round to spare in Sheffield while James Wade, Mensur Suljovic, Gerwyn Price and Daryl Gurney are all gearing up for pivotal nights in their season.
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 15: Thursday May 9
Click on the odds for more Sky Bet match markets
- TV Coverage: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)
- Format: Maximum of 14 legs
Treble: Smith, Suljovic and Gurney at 21/1
Four Fold: Smith, Suljovic, Gurney and MVG at 28/1
Draw no bet accas: The above two accas at 10/1 and 11/1 respectively
Tournament Average: 96.92 - 98.48
Best Average: 101.25 - 109.59
Tournament 180s: 49 - 40
Checkout %: 37.10% (69/186) - 46.84% (89/190)
High Checkout: 170 - 158
Meetings since start of 2018: 0-8
PDC Titles Since Start of 2018: 3-5
Career Titles: 11-33
As James Wade's stock continues to rise to his old levels, Michael Smith's season continues to frustrate him and it's pretty hard to see a bucking of trends on Thursday night.
The Machine's triumph over Gerwyn Price last week, albeit overshadowed slightly by his opponent's refusal to shake his hand, saw him move ever closer to securing a play-off spot for the first time since 2013 while he also enjoyed a good run at the weekend's Austrian Darts Open, reaching the semi-finals.
Wade has of course claimed three PDC titles this season and in all of them he defeated Smith, including in two finals, while his winning streak over Bully Boy is now nine matches dating back to 2017.
However, several of those encounters have been pretty close - not least that incredible climax to the World Series of Darts Finals when Smith agonisingly spurned five match darts for the title - so this bad run has surely got to end soon.
It's not as if Smith has been playing dreadfully this season. Although the St Helens man hasn't helped himself with periods of slack finishing, he's suffered a lot of bad luck and has often simply run into the wrong opponents at the wrong time.
He's been averaging around 100 for the past six Premier League nights but has only picked up two draws in this time while a player like Mensur Suljovic has won four matches in the past seven weeks by averaged in the low 90s or high 80s, benefitting from playing the right opponents on their off days.
It may well be far too little too late, but I'm going to take a chance on Smith claiming a consolation win while also throwing most 180s at 3/1.
Scoreline Prediction: 7-5
Suggested Bet: Michael Smith to win and hit most 180s at 3/1
Tournament Average: 95.53 - 100.00
Best Average: 101.38 - 104.71
Tournament 180s: 37 - 44
Checkout %: 39.17% (85/217) - 45.36% (88/194)
High Checkout: 144 - 164
Meetings since start of 2018: 6-2
PDC Titles Since Start of 2018: 2-2
Career Titles: 5-7
As well as Rob Cross has been playing this season, I think we could see a mini upset as Mensur Suljovic bids to claim a crucial point or two in the race for the play-offs.
Voltage is deservedly top of the standings and last week thrashed Michael Smith 8-1 with his ninth 100+ average of the season, while his finishing was once again exceptional.
Cross was particularly lethal in closing out seven of the eight legs he won in no more than six darts from the 200+ range and in each of the last three he followed up 180s with checkouts in the 40s to complete 11-darters.
Quite how he's not managed to win any titles away from the Premier League this season is quite a mystery considering how consistent he's been although it would help if he can translate this kind of form into his meetings with Michael van Gerwen - or indeed just turn up!
Another player he's had difficulty with in recent times is Suljovic having lost five of their last six meetings.
He did just about win their previous encounter at the German Darts Grand Prix but the Austrian got the better of him in their Premier League clash in Rotterdam despite trailing 4-0 and 5-1 and averaging just 88.
Despite sitting pretty at the summit, this is an awkward test for Cross, who suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Steve Beaton in Austria at the weekend, and at 9/4 just to win I feel there's value with Suljovic.
If you want to be even bolder then how about the 4/1 in Sky Bet's Player Performance market on Suljovic winning, scoring over 2.5 180s and having a checkout of over 81.5 (Sky Bet).
Scoreline Prediction: 7-4
Suggested Bet: Mensur Suljovic to win at 9/4 (Bolder choice would be Suljovic to win, scoring over 2.5 180s and have a checkout of over 81.5 at 4/1 (Sky Bet))
Tournament Average: 96.50 - 95.93
Best Average: 104.05 - 104.11
Tournament 180s: 38 - 45
Checkout %: 38.42% (78/203) - 42.00% (84/200)
High Checkout: 140 - 170
Head-to-head: 2-8 (1 draw)
Meetings since start of 2018: 1-3 (1 draw)
PDC Titles Since Start of 2018: 2-4
Career Titles: 4-6
This crucial clash is a tough one to call and I'm not surprised to see both players priced up at 11/8.
Only one point separates the pair and whoever loses could feasibly be out of the running to reach the play-offs if James Wade and Mensur Suljovic both win earlier in the night. In that scenario, a draw wouldn't be enough for sixth-placed Price to stay alive but Gurney would hang in there.
So who is going to cope better with the pressure?
Although Price does have the mental edge in terms of a superior head-to-head record, losing just one of their last six which included a draw in last year's Premier League, I think it's fair to say Gurney has the advantage of momentum.
The Northern Irishman held his nerve fantastically seven days ago to complete a Premier League double over Michael van Gerwen in a match he desperately needed to win and if he can excel in those circumstances, then there's no reason to think he can't cope in this next battle.
And it will no doubt be a battle against a pumped up Price, who was perhaps guilty of letting his emotions get the better of him last week when being soundly beaten by James Wade.
The Welshman was unable to get revenge over the Machine at the Austrian Darts Open at the weekend and you just wonder if his frustrations stem from his agonising draws against Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross in recent weeks - both of whom he blew a host of chance to finish off.
Price may feel as if a play-off place has slipped out of his hands and playing catch-up at this stage of the season is not where he wanted to be.
I'll play it simple here and go with Gurney at 11/8 but his Player Performance targets of winning, scoring over 2.5 180s and having a checkout of over 85.5 seem reasonable at 5/2.
Scoreline Prediction: 8-6
Suggested Bet: Daryl Gurney to win at 11/8
Tournament Average: 101.60 - 95.03
Best Average: 109.11 - 106.64
Tournament 180s: 38 - 37
Checkout %: 47.40% (91/192) - 42.11% (72/171)
High Checkout: 132 - 160
Head-to-head: 55-15 (2 draws)
Meetings since start of 2018: 8-4
PDC Titles Since Start of 2018: 26-2
Career Titles: 124-22
When I update the above stats ahead of each match from week to week, the only player who is troubling me in regards to 'PDC Titles since the start of 2018' is Michael van Gerwen. Well, by 'troubling' I mean adding another one each week.
On Sunday the world number one picked up his seventh title of the season - and his third out of four European Tour events - by edging a last-leg decider against Ian White in the Austrian Darts Open, which also won him a commemorative - and fetching - green jacket.
He'd also scraped past Peter Wright 6-5 earlier in the day which now means he's won 25 successive last-leg deciders that he's played, proving once more how his mental strength appears to have an adverse effect on many of his rivals.
Van Gerwen also nailed 170 and 164 checkouts over Daryl Gurney, who had become only the second man to complete a Premier League double over him last Thursday, and the weekend as a whole was the perfect response to losing his grip on top spot.
Without wanting to blow my own trumpet, I did actually predict a Gurney win last Thursday as I still feel there's value opposing MVG given he's not firing on all cylinders performance-wise, despite his trophy haul.
Nevertheless, after averaging just 89 against Wright on Sunday, he recorded marks of 100+ in his wins over Gurney and White thanks largely to his lethal finishing.
With Snakebite having nothing to play for apart from a little pride, I can't really see another upset but there is a tempting price of 4/1 available on MVG to hit two or more 180s and at least two 100+ checkouts.
Scoreline Prediction: 7-4
Suggested Bet: Michael van Gerwen to hit 2+ 180s and 2+ 100+ checkouts at 4/1 (Sky Bet)
2019 Premier League Darts Table
- Cross P 14 W 9 D 2 L 3 LegD +24 Pts 20
- Van Gerwen P 14 W 8 D 3 L 3 LegD +30 Pts 19
- Wade P 14 W 6 D 5 L 3 LegD +18 Pts 17
- Suljovic P 14 W 7 D 3 L 4 LegD +6 Pts 17
- Gurney P 14 W 7 D 2 L 5 LegD +2 Pts 16
- Price P 14 W 5 D 5 L 4 LegD +1 Pts 15
- Wright P 14 W 2 D 5 L 7 LegD -20 Pts 9
- Smith P 14 W 3 D 3 L 8 LegD -21 Pts 9
- Relegated: Van Barneveld P 9 W 1 D 2 L 6 LegD -22 Pts 4