The 2019 Premier League reaches its finale at The O2 as the leading four players go for glory and the £250,000 prize. James Buttler previews the action...
"Don't get me wrong, only a fool would write MVG off. In the betting world however we look for value prices. The value in this semi-final comes on Gurney's side of the ledger. Call me a fool then!
And, if you are backing Gurney to win this match you really should not settle for the 7/2 outright price."
Superchin can take MVG down for a third time
Michael van Gerwen v Daryl Gurney
Live on Sky Sports Darts
Some might say that Daryl Gurney has drawn the short straw on his Play-Offs debut. He takes on Michael van Gerwen who leads 19-5 on their head-to-heads and rightly goes in as hot favourite. But there are reasons to be cheerful if you are on Superchin's side. At the Players Championship in November Gurney showed his fighting qualities to beat MVG 11-9 in the final and since then he's beaten the Dutchman twice in the Premier League this season. Can he make it four TV successes on the bounce?
MVG is the best player in the world and has been for a while but his cloak of invincibility is not as strong as it once was. He still wins more than he loses and lifts plenty of trophies yet defeats are coming on a regular basis too. That said, this is a tournament that the 'Green Machine' has made his own. He has now topped the league stage in all seven of his campaigns and he has never lost in the semi-finals. He has gone on to win the title on four previous occasions, so it would be madness to back against him, wouldn't it? I'm not so sure.
Gurney knows he can now beat MVG and that has to play a huge psychological factor ahead of their London showdown. MVG will be fired up and keen to stamp his authority on the evening. His ability to bully opponents and sweep them aside has diminished and often the irritability he used to fire himself up is now his undoing.
Many suggested that MVG would come out for revenge after losing to Gurney in the Premier League, yet Gurney beat him again. The chasing pack is now on MVG's shoulder and they have belief they can take him down.
Don't get me wrong, only a fool would write MVG off. In the betting world however we look for value prices. The value in this semi-final comes on Gurney's side of the ledger. Call me a fool then!
And, if you are backing Gurney to win this match you really should not settle for the 7/2 outright price. Gurney has thrown 45 x 180s during the league stage to MVG's 41. If the Northern Irishman wins this match he is very likely to hurl in the most maximums and that's the way to play this semi-final to grab an even bigger price.
Cross and Wade heading for close encounter
Rob Cross v James Wade
Live on Sky Sports Darts
This is a repeat of last week's match-up where Rob Cross lost 8-6 to James Wade and missed out on finishing top of the pile and ending MVG's stranglehold on the Premier League's top spot. Cross has played sublime and consistent darts and will have been hugely disappointed not to have ended MVG's dominance.
This promises to be a great match with little to choose between these two. Their head-to-head record stands at 6-6. Cross has averaged 99.48 to Wade's 97.13 and this really is a case of whoever brings their A-game. It may be wise to look for markets away from the outrights, although Wade would be my pick if forced. The European Champion did not suffer a defeat in the last six rounds to ensure he made The O2 for the first time since 2013. It's hard to believe it's 10 years since he won his only Premier League title to date.
'Voltage' appeared nervy against Wade last week when a win would have cemented top spot. Wade was quick to pounce on that weakness. Wade is a matchplayer and brings tremendous form to The O2. He's banged in 44 x 180s during this tournament and is 10/1 to throw over 6.5 maximums. Remember the semi-finals are first to 10 legs and this match has every chance of going deep, so that has to be worth a nibble.
And the winner is...
After 16 weeks of superb darts we will crown the winner of the 2019 event on Thursday evening and you can make valid arguments for all four men to succeed at The O2 Arena.
MVG has won the trophy on five of his previous six Premier League campaigns and it is no surprise he is 4/7 favourite to repeat the dose, but he's showing signs of vulnerability. Rob Cross finished second in the table and has thrown consistently well all season and provides considerable interest at 9/2. James Wade at 15/2 looks in fine form and won't be scared of the big stage and Daryl Gurney knows how to beat MVG and win major trophies and is a big price at 10/1.
This event could not be any more tantalisingly poised. If you follow my semi-final bets you can give yourself a bit of cover my backing MVG to do what he always has before and win the thing. But I don't see this being a simple evening and therefore 11/8 on The Field to take down the Dutchman is my Nap of the night.
James Buttler at Premier League Darts 2019
Total Staked: 72.50 units
Total Won: 92.83 units
Profit / Loss: +20.33 units