Dan Fitch previews Thursday's Premier League Darts matches and fancies Michael Smith to match the scoring of Michael van Gerwen...
"Smith should be confident after his nine-dart finish last week and a 6-5 win over MVG at the Belgian Darts Championship at the weekend."
Premier League Darts
Thursday 5 March
Live on Sky Sports Action
This week the Premier League moves to the Westpoint Arena in Exeter. Michael van Gerwen is back on top of the table, having defeated the spirited challenger William O'Connor in Dublin.
MVG remains the favourite to win the competition at [2.02]. Nathan Aspinall is up to second after another win and is now priced at [11.0], while Michael Smith produced a nine-dart finish in his victory over Daryl Gurney and is rated at [15.0] to lift the Premier League.
Premier League strugglers meet
Rob Cross [2.28] v Daryl Gurney [2.66]; The Draw [4.5]
Expected start 19:15
Both Rob Cross and Gurney are struggling. Cross is seventh in the table and lost to Gary Anderson is his last match, while Gurney's latest defeat leaves him with just one point after four games.
This is a tough match to predict, with neither player at their best so far. Ignoring the result there could be value in both players scoring three 180s or more at [2.5]. Cross has done so in three of his four matches and this game could go long.
Price will outscore Durrant
Gerwyn Price [1.9] v Glen Durrant [3.5]; The Draw [4.5]
Expected start 19:55
After four games Gerwyn Price is the only player still undefeated in the Premier League (W1 D3), having unexpectedly thrashed Peter Wright 7-1 last week.
Glen Durrant lost his first game of the season with a 7-5 defeat to Aspinall. His finishing his swung between being clinical and wasteful, with it being a case of the latter last week. One area in which Price looks sure to better him is with the number of 180s. Durrant has only hit five in four matches and you can back Price to score more 180s at [2.0].
Value lies with Aspinall
Nathan Aspinall [2.74] v Peter Wright [2.26]; The Draw [4.4]
Expected start 20:35
Wright was in dreadful form last week. His average of 83.59 was the lowest amount scored by any of the Premier League's nine permanent participants this season.
We all know that 'Snakebite' has the ability to bounce back, but with wins over Van Gerwen and Durrant in his last two weeks, the value is surely with Aspinall here. He's [2.1] in the Draw No Bet market.
Humphries has the pedigree to test Anderson
Gary Anderson [1.83] v Luke Humphries [3.6]; The Draw [4.7]
Expected start 21:15
Anderson enjoyed a good win over Cross last week and is now in a pretty strong position after four games (W2 D1 L1).
He may well need to be at his best against the challenger Luke Humphries. The 25-year old has reached the quarter-finals of the World Championship in each of the last two years and drew with Price in the Premier League last season, recording an average of 101.30 in the process. This should be a high quality match and Humphries should be well capable of scoring an average of over 94.5 at [1.83].
Heavy hitters clash
Michael Smith [4.7] v Michael van Gerwen [1.63]; The Draw [4.8]
Expected start 21:55
Van Gerwen has the highest average in this season's Premier League, with Smith having the second highest. This game therefore promises to see some heavy scoring.
Smith should be confident after his nine-dart finish last week and a 6-5 win over MVG at the Belgian Darts Championship at the weekend. That makes Smith tempting at a price of [4.7], but his inconsistency and the fact that Van Gerwen will be looking for revenge, casts doubts. The safe bet looks to be to back both players to hit three or more 180s at [2.1].
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Back Cross and Gurney to both hit three or more 180s at [2.5]
Back Price to score more 180s than Durrant at [2.0]
Back Aspinall draw no bet against Wright at [2.1]
Back Humphries to average over 94.5 against Anderson at [1.83]
Back Smith and Van Gerwen to both hit three or more 180s at [2.1]