The Unibet Premier League Darts continues on Tuesday night so check out Carl Fletcher’s match-by-match predictions, best bets and a suggested acca.
A solitary win last night for Nathan Aspinall over Glen Durrant sees him top the table at this very early stage after the other four matches ended all square. It was a great nights action whereby all three debutants and late replacement James Wade all produced steady performances to kick of their respective Premier League campaigns.
The in-form Jonny Clayton set the bar on the opening night with the highest average in what was arguably the match of the night against Peter Wright.
These two have never met and they can’t be split in the betting market. On the opening night De Sousa failed to get over the line having led 6-4 as he drew with Rob Cross. The Flying Scotsman however needed a 156 checkout in the final leg to salvage a point against James Wade.
Assessing last nights action only, The Special One didn’t really hit the heights we know he’s capable of as he averaged just 91.66. Anderson on the other hand performed fairly well averaging 98.13 and admitted himself afterwards that he scored very well only to be let down by his doubles. You can’t really argue with that assessment as he had the lowest doubles percentage on the night at 30%.
On 2021 data it’s the Portuguese star who holds the slight edge. He’s had better results overall despite not making it into the winners enclosure. We already know he’s the biggest 180 hitter in this years field (0.36 per leg) but his seasonal average is also much higher at 97.69 compared to the Scotsman’s 94.58.
This match is difficult to call and I’m going to sit on the fence here. From a betting angle however. Despite appearing to fall below his expected standard, De Sousa still managed to hit four maximums last night and I think with a better and perhaps a more settled performance after getting his debut in the Premier League out the way, this tally could be improved and there’s some mileage, at decent value on him bettering yesterdays figure.
There couldn’t be a starker contrast in confidence between these two players. The defending champion opened up his Premier League campaign with a 3-7 defeat to Nathan Aspinall with an average of 87.99 and despite glimpses here and there from Duzza, Aspinall never looked like relinquishing his lead.
On the other hand the star performer of 2021 so far served up a classic against Peter Wright. He produced the highest average on the night at 105.56 and it took some terrific finishing and 100% doubling from ‘Snakebite’ to keep ‘The Ferret’ at arms length.
The confidence levels of both players going to the first nights action will not have altered much going into this second nights action and it’s hard to look past the Welshman coming out the victor here.
Clayton is averaging 99.78 for the season and comes into this match on the back of five consecutive ton plus averages. Durrant on the other hand near enough ten points lower at 89.94 on seasonal data and on the back of four straight defeats with his latest three averages all below the 90 mark too.
It’s foolish to write off a player as tenacious as Durrant who will surely re-find his form sooner or later and his finishing is still very respectable but everything points to a Clayton win.
On the 180 per leg ratio this year Clayton also reigns supreme at 0.29 per leg compared to 0.11 per leg from ‘Duzza’.
Nathan Aspinall was the real winner on the opening night as he was the only player to claim maximum points and a victory as he defeated Glen Durrant in the first match of the 2021 Premier League.
On his full Premier League debut his Belgian opponent looked his usual composed self as he drew with Michael Van Gerwen, in a game which required MVG to produce a 12 dart break of throw in the final leg to nick a point with Dimi sat on just 64.
In their opening games both produced a decent performance that they’ll be pleased with and ‘The Asp’ fired in an impressive five 180’s as he comfortably registered a victory whereas Van Den Bergh produced the highest checkout of the night with a 164.
Aspinall started 2021 in decent enough form with a Quarter Final in the Masters backed up with two consecutive Semi-Finals in the first two Players Championship events but since then hasn’t done a great deal and at one point lost six successive matches. He is averaging 93.69 for the season with a 180 per leg ratio of 0.26.
Van Den Bergh has also struggled in 2021 results wise with just three wins to his name. His stats however are very good. His seasonal average is 96.09 and is 180 per leg ratio is 0.28 both higher than that of his opponent. Interesting to note however is that of the 10 participants in this years field his opponents seasonal average of 96.69 and 180 per leg ratio of 0.29 are the highest faced by anyone so far in 2021.
Since the start of 2020 all three matches between this pair have gone the way of ‘The Dreammaker’ and all were on TV. As everyone knows who follows darts regularly Van Den Bergh seems to relish the big TV stage and I’m going for him to continue this trend and defeat a dogged Aspinall.
There was once a massive dominance in this encounter between these two players in favour of MVG but that doesn’t appear to the case any longer in what is the mouth-watering clash of night two.
Currently Peter Wright is the player in form having won the most recent event, Players Championship 8 whereby he won all 7 games on the day by claiming the match treble then stating afterwards that MVG won’t win a TV tournament this year afterwards. Of course ‘Snakebite’ likes to psychologically get in the head of other players but it was an early shot at the former long-time World Number One.
Having said that Peter Wright will be more pleased with their respective performances on the opening night as he draw with Jonny Clayton in a high quality encounter as he notched up another 100+ average and registered 100% efficiency on his doubles.
MVG wasn’t too shabby either as he also averaged 100+ as he drew with Dimitri Van Den Bergh in the final match of the evening producing a stunning final leg against the throw to do so. ‘Mighty Mike’ skipped the second set of Super Series fixtures to be fresh for this years Premier League on the back of two Semi-Final runs in Players Championship Four then the UK Open.
The Dutch Ace is averaging 99.51 for the season, with a 180 per leg ratio of 0.21 and has won 12.88% of his legs with a ton plus outshot. He is currently on a run of three 100+ match averages and eight in his last twelve.
‘Snakebite’ in comparison is averaging 98.48, has a 180 per leg ratio of 0.30 and has won 15.59% of his legs with a ton plus outshot. Similarly he is on a run of four 100+ match averages with ten in his last thirteen.
There’s not much to choose between them at all but I think Wright does think he’s the better player at present and I’m going for him to nick this and notch up the match treble at the same time in a very high quality affair.
Late replacement James Wade produced the steady performance that we’ve come to expect from him as he opened his unexpected Premier League campaign with a draw against Gary Anderson. Rob Cross also got underway with a share of the spoils as he won the last two legs to nick a draw with Jose De Sousa. One observation however from his performance was his action looked very good, arguably the best I’ve seen from him in recent times.
The pair have won an equal amount matches from previous head to head data but it’s ‘Voltage’ who boasts the better record on TV.
They both produced similar averages last night, both hit 50% of their doubles, both notched up six 180’s and produced similar high checkouts. Based on that action alone there isn’t much between them at all.
On seasonal performances however it’s ‘The Machine’ who holds the edge. A recent winner of the UK Open, he also made the final of Players Championship Seven and has reached the Quarter Finals of The Masters and Players Championship events One and Six. Rob Cross on the other hand has just one Quarter Final at Players Championship One and was fairly comfortably beaten by Wade in the UK Open despite an average of 101.75.
The seasonal averages also suggest James Wade has a slight advantage. He’s averaging 96.74 compared to Cross’s 94.97, although Cross is slightly better on the 180 per leg ratio at 0.25 compared to the 0.24 of Wade and Cross is also most likely to win a leg with a 100+ outshot, winning 17.39% of his legs this year via that method, compared to 11.07% for Wade.