There's five more matches in the Unibet Premier League Darts on Wednesday night and our Chris Hammer previews them all with best bets and a suggested acca.
There's an old familiar sight to the Premier League table after just two nights as Michael van Gerwen looks down on the rest while last year's champion Glen Durrant is the only player without a point to his name.
Here's our preview of tonight's action, including a mouthwatering clash between Peter Wright and Gary Anderson...
I know it’s very, very early days but my bold each-way tip for Rob Cross to win the Premier League doesn’t quite look as daft as it did before a dart was thrown.
Voltage, who is probably still expected to be relegated by most fans and pundits, opened up with a creditable 6-6 draw with Jose de Sousa thanks to a cool 12-darter in the deciding leg – which he finished on the bullseye – and followed it up with a sound 7-3 victory over James Wade.
Averages of 96.53 and 94.34 will hardly strike fear into anyone yet and he was helped by Wade’s poor performance, but his confidence is clearly returning as well as a winning mentality. That can only help his stats go in the right direction too.
Michael van Gerwen also heads into this clash with three points after his opponent last night – Peter Wright – effectively went AWOL with an average of 88 in a surprising 7-2 thrashing.
As satisfying as the scoreline must have been, MVG admitted: "Peter played crap. I can have a big mouth now but with a 92 average, you need to shut your mouth and make sure you get back to the practice board.”
Unless MVG improves on his previous two nights, Cross can keep this one closer than most would expect so the Match Action targets below seem pretty reasonable at 15/8. I’ll tentatively go for the Voltage win at 3/1 but siding with him in the handicap at 11/8 with a 1.5 leg headstart is the safer call.
Like most darts fans I was starting to really fear for Glen Durrant when he trailed Jonny Clayton 5-0 last night and had yet to even take aim at a double.
It’s sad to see how a player crowned Premier League champion as recently as October can look so vulnerable and downbeat on the oche to the point you wonder where his next leg is coming from.
Duzza has come through many mental battles in his time and emerging from this campaign with respectability will be up there with one of his biggest challenges yet – but there were suddenly signs of hope when winning three of the next five legs. Had he hit bullseye for a 127 checkout in the last leg then Clayton would have felt genuine pressure.
Although this would be scant consolation in normal times, it is at least something positive for him to cling onto ahead of his clash with Dimitri Van den Bergh, who is a very warm favourite after drawing with MVG on opening night with an average of 99.52 before averaging 103.7 in an entertaining comeback win over Nathan Aspinall.
That would have been much higher had he not missed 19 of his 26 darts at doubles so more scoring like he produced last night will put Durrant under the cosh once again.
Van den Bergh to win with most 180s is worth putting into your accas at 10/11 considering he’s hit eight compared to Duzza’s one but the Player Performance market is where I’m going, with the Belgian needing to win, score over 2.5 maximums and have a checkout over 84.5 at 7/4 in a match I think might push him harder than most will think.
The only way is up for Peter Wright as far as the stats are concerned, but he’ll have to significantly raise his game to get anything out of his clash with Gary Anderson.
I did tip Snakebite for this title in my pre-tournament preview but I did acknowledge he has the frustrating tendency to throw in the occasional stinker from time to time. Hopefully he’s merely used one of those performances up against a player who is capable of beating him on one of his best days.
In short, better he does it against MVG than Glen Durrant, for example.
His average of 102.2 the previous night against Jonny Clayton was good enough for just a point although he did need to hit all six of his attempts at double to live with the red-hot Ferret, who averaged 105.56.
Anderson is bubbling away nicely on three points after a 156 checkout snatched a 6-6 draw with James Wade on opening night before two more 100+ checkouts of 112 and 145 in the next three legs of his clash put him in early control of his clash with Jose de Sousa, who would end up missing three darts at a double in a deciding leg to lose 7-5.
He’s averaged around 98/99 on both occasions so if Wright quickly bounces back to proper form then this is could be a very tough one to call.
However, I’m not backing against Wright just because of one sloppy show we know is always around the corner and the 2/1 available for his Player Performance targets look pretty tame by his standards if he’s to win this. Especially if we see at least 11 legs.
Nathan Aspinall will be kicking himself that he’s not sitting pretty at the top of the table with maximum points but he can take consolation from the fact he’s certainly looking much more like his old self after a rotten few months.
The Asp, who soundly beat Glen Durrant with an average of 97.62 in a repeat of last October’s final on opening night, led Dimitri Van den Bergh 5-3 but crucially missed a dart at double 16 for a guaranteed point when 5-4 up.
He paid the price and lost 7-5 in a very good match and hopefully he can keep his head high and not dwell on the result too much ahead of his clash with James Wade, who looked really out of sorts in his 7-3 defeat to Rob Cross.
The Machine averaged 10 points less than he did against Gary Anderson with a mark of 88.78 and threw five fewer 180s by landing just one.
Aspinall isn’t regarded as the biggest maximum hitter in the field by any means but his tally now stands at 10 after managing five in each of his two matches, so it might be worth going higher on the 180s markets in this clash.
After all, Wade did fire in six against the Flying Scotsman in a 6-6 draw and this clash could also see plenty of legs.
That’s what puts me off going for the Aspinall to win and hit most 180s double of 7/2, but the Player Performance market has him at 4/1 to win, hit over 2.5 180s and make a checkout of over 76.5.
Jose de Sousa and Jonny Clayton have strangely never played each other before but the in-form Welshman is expected to win their first ever meeting after his blockbuster start to the whole season.
Clayton, who has won three titles this year including the televised Masters, is so far living up to his hype in his maiden Premier League campaign, averaging 105.56 in a 6-6 draw with Peter Wright before soundly brushing Glen Durrant aside last night - although he almost suffered a late wobble from 5-0 up before ending up with an average of 98.61.
De Sousa hasn't looked quite the force as he did last year in winning the Grand Slam of Darts - but only when it comes to landing titles - and looked a little jittery on his debut when averaging just 91.66 in a 6-6 draw with Rob Cross.
The Special One was much improved against Gary Anderson and really should have snatched another point but those missed three darts at doubles in the deciding leg cost him dear. That said, he seems to be settling into the Premier League experience and I expect an upward curve in performance that could put Clayton under a lot more pressure than last night.
I think the odds are a bit of an overreaction when you consider De Sousa's season average of 98.30 on the Pro Tour is in the top five and just .25 behind Clayton while he could have gone on a lengthy UK Open run had he not suffered an agonising 10-9 defeat to Michael van Gerwen.
I'm keeping this one simple and will go for the underdog win at 9/4.