Premier League Darts Week Four Tips: Exeter promises drama as Smith plays through pain

Michael Smith Premier League darts
Michael Smith plays on after undergoing surgery on Monday

The Premier League heads to Exeter this week with the players building up to the UK Open at the weekend. James Buttler finds the best bets...

"Both Gurney and Cross will fancy their chances of going all the way in the Premier League this time around. This match promises to be close again and will go a long way to deciding their respective fates this season."

Humphries could be first winning contender

Luke Humphries v Gerwyn Price
Thursday, 19:10
Live on Sky Sports Darts

Luke Humphries is the contender this week in Exeter and could be the first of the Gary Anderson replacements to take a win. He took down Rob Cross on his way to the quarter-finals of the World Darts Championship in December. Humphries may not have followed that Ally Pally success up with much form to speak of since, but he raises him game on the big stage and has the amunition to rattle Gerwyn Price in the first match of the night.

Taking Humphries is a complete gut punt because Price had been in superb form over the last few weeks. He beat Daryl Gurney and has two other draws so far in this competition. He also romped to both PDC Pro Tour events last weekend, but he's flakey and has a bad game in him. If Humpgries starts well he can certainly put the Welshman under pressure.

I'm stopping short of backing world number 56 Humphries to win, instead taking him on the Handicap markets. Give him a couple of legs and he has every chance. He is certainly a player to watch of the next couple of years.

Best Bet: Back Luke Humphries +1.5 handicap against Gerwyn Price @ 11/10 (1 unit)

Match of the night could be a close one

Daryl Gurney v Rob Cross
Thursday, 19:50
Live on Sky Sports Darts

It's a tantalising matchup between world number two, Rob Cross, and Daryl Gurney, ranked three places lower. Head-to-head, they have shared the six matches they have played. They met twice in the Premier League last season and Cross won one match 7-4, Gurney took the other 7-5. It's a close one.

In this season's competition, Gurney lost his opener against Gerwyn Price and then beat Glen Durrant and Michael Smith. The Northern Irishmnan is in second place behind MVG and would put another toe in the semi-finals with victory this week.

Cross is still smarting after being trounced 7-2 by Michael van Gerwen last week, but did imopress in the 6-6 draw with Peter Wright and his win over James Wade.

Both Gurney and Cross will fancy their chances of going all the way in the Premier League this time around. This match promises to be close again and will go a long way to deciding their respective fates this season. Cross leads the 180s tally this year by 8-6 and could be worth a punt in that market, but as this could be the game of the night I'm looking for plenty of maximums from both men.

Best Bet: Back both players to throw four or more 180s @ 4/1 (2 units)

Has Smith got the legs to keep Barney at bay?

Michael Smith v Raymond van Barneveld
Thursday, 21:50
Live on Sky Sports Darts

Michael Smith was tweeting earlier this week that he was having leg problems. After describing his symptoms the many swift replies urged him to seek urgent medical attention. It turned out Smith's fans were right, an abscess on his groin led to him requiring surgery

"I will be playing on this week in Exeter and then Minehead," Smith said. "I'm not sure how I will be but I'm going whatever happens - I can't afford to take the time off." How all of this affects his arras remains to be seen. He's has been out of sorts in this year's Premier League in any case and sits bottom of the table. It's been a disappointing return for the beaten finalst at the World Darts Championship.

Bully Boy's average of 95.34 and 38.10% checkouts are far less that his form in last year's event and the pressure is on. If he is going to feature in the latter stages a win over Raymond van Barneveld is a must, but he is tough to back at the prices.

Barney is yet to win a match, but the pesky Dutchman keeps doing just enough to scupper my bets against him. He remains my favourite to finish bottom of the pile, but if he is ever going to worry Smith, this is surely the week to do it. Barney had been averaging around the 90-mark in the two draws he picked up against Price and Mensur Suljovic - not stats that will have the big boys laying awake at night.

The question is - can you trust Smith to deliver the goods at a short price? The answer has to be no. The pair played out a 6-6 draw in last season's Premier League and Barney's stickabilty makes that a decent punt on Week 4. He should be nicknamed the Barnacle as he's clinging on.

Best Bet: Back 6-6 draw between Smith and van Barneveld @ 7/2 (1 unit)

Week Four Fixtures

Luke Humphries v Gerwyn Price
Daryl Gurney v Rob Cross
Mensur Suljovic v Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
Michael Smith v Raymond van Barneveld

James Buttler at PDC World Darts 2019

Total Staked: 12 units
Total Won: 6.5 units
Profit / Loss: -5.5 units

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