Glen Durrant has lost his form since beating Nathan Aspinall to win the Premier League final last year and Dan Fitch is expecting 'The Asp' to take revenge, as the 2021 Premier League begins...
"Durrant in particular is really struggling. He caught Covid a week after winning the Premier League and his game has not been the same since."
Premier League Darts - Night 1
Monday 5 April
Live on Sky Sports Action
Monday night sees the return of Premier League Darts, in what will be the first of five consecutive nights of action.
Michael van Gerwen's stellar record in the Premier League sees him start as the favourite to win at 3.55/2, but the current World Champion and world number one Gerwyn Price is not far behind him at 3.711/4. Three debutants feature in this season's Premier League, with Jonny Clayton, Jose De Sousa and Dimitri van den Bergh all being rewarded for big tournament wins over the last year.
Aspinall will have revenge
Nathan Aspinall 2.111/10 v Glen Durrant 2.915/8; The Draw 4.3100/30
Start time, 19:10
The night starts with a repeat of last year's final, with neither player at their best right now. Durrant in particular is really struggling. He caught Covid a week after winning the Premier League and his game has not been the same since.
Durrant's steady consistency saw him excel last year, but with the new format, a bad week could be really costly. Back Aspinall to exact some revenge with a win at 2.111/10.
Debut win for De Sousa
Rob Cross 3.185/40 v Jose De Sousa 2.01/1; The Draw 4.3100/30
Start time, 19:50
Along with Durrant, it's Cross that is expected to be in most danger of elimination. Judged by the high standards he's set himself since joining the PDC, Cross had a poor 2020 and can count himself fortunate to have a place in this year's Premier League, which he earned automatically due to his top four ranking back in January.
De Sousa earned his placed by winning the Grand Slam of Darts and while he hasn't added more titles since then, he's playing well. He should claim his first Premier League win at odds of 2.01/1.
Cautiously back in-form Clayton
Peter Wright 2.26/5 v Jonny Clayton 2.727/4; The Draw 4.57/2
Start time, 20:30
This could be the game of the night. No one is playing better than Clayton right now, with the Welshman having won the Masters and reached the final of four of the eight Players Championship events, winning two.
Wright is also in good shape, winning the most recent Players Championship tournament, but with these odds the value could be with Clayton. When these two met in the semi-finals of the Masters, Clayton won 11-10 and you can back 'The Ferret' in the Draw No Bet market at 2.111/10.
Repeat of World Championship final
Gerwyn Price 1.9110/11 v Gary Anderson 3.185/40; The Draw 4.3100/30
Start time 21:10
Price has never performed as well as you'd expect in the Premier League, failing to make the Play-offs at three attempts. Having beaten Anderson to win the World Championship in January, Price immediately named the Premier League as one of his major targets.
It's hard to write off Anderson, who proved himself to still be one of the world's top performers and finished fourth in last season's Premier League, a place ahead of Price. He might not win the game, but Anderson is decent value at 2.35/4 to score the most 180s.
180s total will be met
Van den Bergh has not been playing well this year and one wonders how much his form has been hampered by his longstanding knee injury. The Belgian had surgery in February and is set to play for the first time without a knee brace, since he won the World Matchplay last year.
Van Gerwen is the rightful favourite, but Van den Bergh always seems to raise his game on big occasions and the Premier League could suit that tendency. Over 5.5 total 180s looks a safe bet at 1.9110/11.