View from the trading floor ahead of the new season.
Hold onto your tungsten because Premier League Darts is back! The 2019 competition gets underway from Newcastle on Thursday featuring plenty of familiar names and faces – but with a twist.
Two-time world champion Gary Anderson will be absent for the season as a result of a recurring back injury. The PDC will replace the Scotsman with a ‘contender’ from the host city each week.
Michael van Gerwen remains the 1/2 outright favourite. And our man on the trading floor Alan Vye has given his thoughts on the tournament, week one and some of his best bets for Newcastle.
Coral News: So Alan, the Premier League kicks back into gear on Thursday. Before we get started on week one, who do you think can outrun their outright odds? And is there any way of stopping Michael van Gerwen?
Alan Vye: MVG has topped the league phase every year since 2013. I think it’s highly unlikely that anyone will be able to produce the consistency needed to stop him during the regular season. Come finals night, however, any of the field are capable of upsetting him.
I think that Mensur Suljovic [20/1 to win the competition] will benefit greatly from the experience he gained last year.
CN: With that in mind, how big a season is it for the likes of Michael Smith and Rob Cross? Is it time for them to emerge as serious challengers on a consistent basis?
AV: It's a huge season for both. Smith really needs to fulfil his potential and get over the line in a big TV major. Cross could find himself tumbling down the rankings now he has money to defend on the PDC Order of Merit.
CN: Newcastle gives us a couple of tasty ties, including a rematch of the World Championship Final between the aforementioned van Gerwen and Smith. How do you see that one playing out?
AV: Smith's game looked out of shape at the Masters over the weekend and he may need a few weeks to find his best form again. I think MVG will take care of him fairly comfortably. [An MVG 7-0 win is priced at 20/1, with 7-1 available at 10/1]
CN: There’s been plenty of talk over Raymond van Barneveld’s inclusion. How are you expecting him to get on overall and in week one against James Wade?
AV: I reckon this will be a dour contest. I think Barney will struggle throughout the campaign and Wade will probably just do enough as he often seems to do. [Wade 7-5 is 15/2; Wade 7-4 is 5/1]
CN: Elsewhere, Gerwyn Price takes on Daryl Gurney. Could we be set for a first draw of the season at 3/1 here?
AV: Possibly! The problem Price has now is how best to channel the aggression that has landed him in so much hot water recently – and given him a £21,500 fine to deal with.
Without the aggression he isn't the same player. This could be tasty this one as I’m sure Gurney will try his best to get under Price’s skin.
CN: And what about the first ‘contender’ of the Premier League season? Can Chris Dobey surprise Mensur Suljovic?
AV: If Dobey plays anything like he did during the worlds then, yes, a shock could definitely be on the cards. I think he’ll thrive in the hometown environment.
The only concern I have for him is a lack of competitive action since the worlds and the short notice he has been given for this.
CN: To round things off, can you give us your three best bets for Thursday night?
AV: MVG -2.5 legs v Smith @ 8/11 – Van Gerwen came back from the break to win his fifth straight Masters title last week, while Smith remains a little rusty.
Dobey or Draw Double Chance v Suljovic @ 11/10 – I think Mensur will grow into the tournament but he’ll have to deal with a lively crowd here and Dobey might sneak something.
Wade to beat van Barneveld @ 11/10 – I remains to be seen whether Barney’s impending retirement fires him up. But Wade keeps winning poor, close matches and I think he’ll do the same here.
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