John Part previews Thursday night's Premier League Darts action in Birmingham, including Rob Cross v Michael van Gerwen, plus his treble.
The race for the play-offs could all be decided with a week of the regular season to spare depending on the results Thursday's matches in Birmingham, as looks to keep h
Fifth-placed Daryl Gurney must be Michael Smith to keep his slim hopes alive but even if he does, Rob Cross and Gary Anderson have destiny in their own hands as they face MVG and Raymond van Barneveld respectively.
Here's three-time world champion John Part's preview and tips of every match while there's also player statistics, head-to-head records and the latest table...
John Part's selections & treble
Scroll down for his full rundown of each match, helpful stats, bet explanation & latest table
John Part's treble: Gurney, Anderson & MVG all to win (click here to back it at 5/1 with Sky Bet)
- Wright v Whitlock - Match to have over 10.5 legs, highest checkout to be over 120.5 and over 5.5 total 180s - Click to back at 7/2 with Sky Bet
- Daryl Gurney to beat Smith, score over 2.5 180s and checkout over 81.5 - Click to back at 5/2 with Sky Bet
- Michael van Gerwen to beat Rob Cross, score over 3.5 180s and checkout over 110.5 - Click to back at 4/1 with Sky Bet
- Anderson to beat van Barneveld, hit highest checkout & score more 180's than van Barneveld - Click to back at 7/4 with Sky Bet
- (Click here to bet on tonight's darts)
- Head-to-head: 10-7
PL Darts 2018 stats
- 3-dart Average: 96.32 - 93.33
- 180s: 27 - 38
- 100+ checkouts: 8 - 7
- Highest checkout: 132 - 164
- Checkout %: 39.61 %61 / 154 - 38.79 %64 / 165
Both players can still claim fifth, even for Peter, so it would be significantly more prize money. So there is more than pride on the line.
This is a tough match to read and I don’t fancy siding with either to win the game.
Simon had that surprise win over Gary Anderson last week and he could well upset the odds again if the bad Peter turns up.
That said I think Peter was made to look bad by Michael Smith last week – smothered early on and was subject of a great Bully Boy job.
While I’m not going to pick a winner, I do feel it will be competitive because they’ll both be keen to win despite not being able to make the play-offs.
I like the Match Action bet which needs over 10.5 legs, a checkout over 120.5 and more than 5.5 180s for 7/2.
If they’re both playing to their average level then these targets are more than doable. Don’t forget – the pressure is off and sometimes that allows you to play better.
- Head-to-head: 3-6
PL Darts 2018 stats
- 3-dart Average: 97.34 - 95
- 180s: 57 - 36
- 100+ checkouts: 10 - 8
- Highest checkout: 156 - 160
- Checkout %: 38.31% (77/201) - 41.71% (78/187)
Although Michael Smith is as good as qualified, he mathematically needs three more legs to confirm his spot. But he shouldn’t be thinking about that.
It’s more likely that he’s thinking about winning to help his mate Gary Anderson out by beating Gurney! That would save Gary having to worry late on in the night.
Gurney, who has been playing very well and pretty consistent, will obviously be focused on what he has to do and that’s win. It’s the only way he can keep his play-off hopes alive.
Michael’s 7-1 defeat to MVG last week could have knocked the stuffing out of him a little because of the hype that went before it and I think Gurney has a good chance here.
I like the low Player Performance bet for Gurney to win, score over 2.5 180s and a checkout of over 81.5 at 5/2.
Scroll down for more predictions
- Head-to-head: 2-9
PL Darts 2018 stats
- 3-dart Average: 97.76 - 103.37
- 180s: 48 - 52
- 100+ checkouts: 10 - 17
- Highest checkout: 144 - 170
- Checkout %: 46.20% (79/171) - 45.73% (91/199)
Rob Cross is safer than Gary Anderson but he could still have things go wrong for him.
He needs a point to make sure of his play-off spot assuming Gurney won earlier.
Cross wasn’t inconsistent during the weekend’s Players Championship events, beating Martin Schindler 6-0 on one day and then losing to him by the same scoreline on the other! He also exchanged wins with Jonny Clayton who’s in great form right now.
What I find staggering is the last time they played each other was the first week of the Premier League – despite taking part in all these competitions on tour which they both go deep into. It’s amazing their paths haven’t crossed again at least once over three months.
Maybe there will be a bit of extra tension because of that and it’s perhaps more meaningful for the both of them.
Michael van Gerwen wants to prove he’s world number one at that the world championship was just a blip on his radar while Rob Cross wants revenge over that Premier League defeat.
There will be a lot of focus but the bottom line is that Cross has only beaten MVG twice and lost the other nine.
Michael has his number and doesn’t have to worry about the pressure of making the play-offs having already bounced back from his Rotterdam disaster.
The ½ on MVG is pretty good but if you want better odds go for the medium Player Performance bet which is for him to win, score over 3.5 180s and have a checkout over 110.5 at 4/1.
- Head-to-head: 21-17 (3 draws)
PL Darts 2018 stats
- 3-dart Average: 99.33 - 94.50
- 180s: 52 - 36
- 100+ checkouts: 15 - 7
- Highest checkout: 170 - 167
- Checkout %: 43.81% (85/194) - 37.64% (67/178)
Gary Anderson will need to win this game to seal his play-off spot tonight if Gurney has defeated Smith earlier in the night.
He plays MVG next week whereas Gurney plays Whitlock. So if it gets to that point, Gary is going to be really concerned.
It goes from a long odds-on shot that he qualifies to something of a real possibility that he goes out.
This is therefore the week Gary will want to seal the deal – not only does Gurney have a very tough match but he has a much more winnable match against an inconsistent player who isn’t in the top four. Unlike what next week is going to be!
Last Thursday was a blip for Gary after playing so well recently and he rediscovered some form during the weekend events.
I think he’ll be fine on Thursday and realise the full situation although the only problem for him is that Barney seems to be revelling in being the spoiler.
We saw that in Rotterdam – even though he wasn’t technically out at that point – and then made life difficult for Rob Cross last week, taking a point.
Raymond is enjoying his darts and if he throws a few good things then life good start to get uncomfortable for Gary.
That said I think Gary will handle the job and get it done. The regular treble where he wins, hits the most 180s and have the highest checkout works for me at 11/4.
Premier League Darts Table
- MVG P 14 W 10 D 1 L 3 LegD +40 Pts 21
- Smith P 14 W 9 D 0 L 5 LegD +24 Pts 18
- Cross P 14 W 8 D 2 L 4 LegD +10 Pts 18
- Anderson P 14 W 7 D 3 L 4 LegD +17 Pts 17
- Gurney P 14 W 4 D 6 L 4 LegD +1 Pts 14
- Barney P 14 W 5 D 3 L 6 LegD -12 Pts 13
- Whitlock P 14 W 5 D 2 L 7 LegD -15 Pts 12
- Wright P 14 W 3 D 5 L 6 LegD -23 Pts 11
- Suljovic P 9 W 2 D 0 L 7 LegD -13 Pts 4
- Price P 9 W 0 D 2 L 7 LegD -29 Pts 2
* Players level on points split by leg difference, legs won against throw and then, if necessary tournament average
Suljovic and Price were eliminated after Judgement Night