At the end of a fantastic season, Jaymes Monte picks out his best bet on Premier League finals night...
Whitlock has some substantial mental obstacles to overcome at the O2.
Modern-day sport, and particularly darts, is drenched in hyperbole. Every game is billed as the biggest of the season, every match a must-win for someone or other. But, much like the proclamations that Manchester City's title win was one of the most dramatic ever, few could argue that this has not been the most exciting Premier League darts season in its short history.
Sure Phil Taylor pulled away and cruised to top position in the league table, but even that had something majestic about it as he broke record three-dart averages and hit nine-darters along the way. But the real drama took place beneath The Power in the league table as an almighty battle for play-off places developed.
Such was the competitiveness of this year's Premier League that the defending champion finished bottom of the table and the reigning World Champion couldn't qualify for the semis. Raymond van Barneveld, a five-time world champion, was also unable to make the knockout stages.
The most unpredictable of semi-finalists is Premier League debutant Andy Hamilton. The Hammer has been matched at a high of 100.0099/1 in the outright winner market, and goes into this Thursday evening as the 16.015/1 rank outsider of the quartet. Yet it is with The Hammer where I believe our money should be resting.
The Englishman takes on a familiar opponent in Simon Whitlock at the semi-finals stage. The pair have met twice in the latter stages of major tournaments over the past 12 months with Hamilton emerging victorious in dramatic fashion at both the World Matchplay and the World Championships. While the Stoke flinger also took three points from their two group stage matches in this competition. Whitlock has some substantial mental obstacles to overcome at the O2.
Of course, if Hamilton does beat the Aussie then he could be face Phil Taylor, or James Wade. But there are also a couple of pointers in Hamilton's favour here.
Taylor has lost at the semi-final stages of this tournament twice in the last three years and, on each occasion, the player who has beaten him has failed to lift the title. Wade has a good opportunity to beat The Power but, if he does, he would still have it all to do in order to win a second Premier League crown.
My advice is to back Hamilton at 16.015/1 and, if he progresses to the final, lay off your stake at around 8.007/1 if he is up against Taylor. Let the bet ride if he faces Wade.
Back Andy Hamilton to win the Premier League @ 16.015/1