DARTS expert expert Kyle Brown (@Kyleianbrown) talks us through the semi-finals of the Premier League play-offs, picking out his favourite fancies.
Semi-Finals – Thursday 23rd May 2019 | London | Sky Sports
- Michael van Gerwen (2/9 Betfair) v Daryl Gurney (7/2 William Hill)
- Rob Cross (4/6 Coral) v James Wade (27/20 Betfair)
*Predicted winners in bold, neither indicates draw.
- Michael van Gerwen (101.94)
- Rob Cross (99.69)
- James Wade (97.87)
- Daryl Gurney (96.72)
- Rob Cross (54 / 3.38 per night)
- Daryl Gurney (45 / 2.81 per night)
- James Wade (44 / 2.75 per night)
- Michael van Gerwen (41 / 2.56 per night)
- Michael van Gerwen (49.08%)
- Rob Cross (44.16%)
- James Wade (43.70%)
- Daryl Gurney (40.26%)
High Checkout Average:
- Rob Cross (110.68)
- James Wade (110.38)
- Michael van Gerwen (102.44)
- Daryl Gurney (89.44)
- James Wade (W-D-W-D-W)
- Daryl Gurney (W-D-W-W-L)
- Michael van Gerwen (W-W-L-D-W)
- Rob Cross (L-W-W-D-L)
Michael van Gerwen v Daryl Gurney | Thursday 23rd May 2019, 19:15 | Sky Sports
The finals night opener kicks-off with tournament favourite and four-time defending champion, Michael van Gerwen, taking on Daryl “SuperChin” Gurney. The bookmakers have van Gerwen as a heavy favourite and the stats don’t hint to anything other than a win for the Dutchman.
There is no value in backing van Gerwen at 2/9, and it’s worth remembering that Gurney beat van Gerwen in both occasions in this year's Premier League. However, the record stands at W8-D1-L3 (in van Gerwen’s favour) since the start of 2018.
Personally, I believe the value in the match is in the Match Treble market. Van Gerwen is currently priced at 5/2 on Sky Bet to win the match, hit the most 180’s and hit the highest checkout.
Through 16 weeks of the season, van Gerwen has outperformed Gurney in all major darting stats with the exception of total 180’s. It is worth noting that MVG played in five fewer legs, however.
That said, given the occasion, and given that van Gerwen plays in high importance, late tournament matches with relative frequency, I don’t anticipate him to be phased at all by the pressure – he should be able to play his natural game and improve on his 180 average while taking the win.
Gurney is making his Premier League play-off debut, and while he has proven he can handle his own against the Dutchman, he has yet to beat him in a match of this magnitude. I expect a few slip ups here and there, and for van Gerwen to pounce.
A market that also looks appealing is the Highest Checkout, with the over/under set at 129.5 on Bet365. Priced at 5/6, I quite fancy the under coming in. MVG's highest checkout across the 16 weeks is quite remarkably only 132 – the lowest of the final nine players. His opponent, Gurney, is only hitting doubles 40.26% of the time – only Mensur Suljovic and Michael Smith were worse through 18 weeks.
I’ll predict a final score of 10-5 to the reigning champion, van Gerwen. The correct score is best priced on Betfair at 13/2, and you can grab the -4.5 handicap on various sites, including SkyBet and Bet365.
Rob Cross v James Wade | Thursday 23rd May 2019, 20:45 | Sky Sports
The second, more evenly matched game involves Rob Cross and James Wade. They met last week in the league's final match with Cross needing a win to finish top of the league but Wade just edged him, 8-6.
I don’t think I could pick a winner out of this game if there was a gun to my head. Both players have been consistently good throughout the season and are very worthy second and third seeds.
Instead, I anticipate this match will go down to the wire, so the value may be in the Total Legs market. Over 17.5 legs is at 7/4 on SkyBet, and given how evenly matched the pair are, I wouldn’t be shocked to see all 19 possible legs being played. You can find that on Bet365 priced at 7/2.
Given how good these two have been on checkouts this year, I wouldn’t be shocked to see some scoring finishes. If both players are at their best, they will likely be needing to take out the 3-dart finishes (101+) to hold throw, or at least prevent the other having a chance to steal the leg.
You can find some good value in SkyBet’s Request-A-Bet markets: 4 Or More 100+ Checkouts is priced at 7/2, and 2+ legs to be finished on the bull is 5/1, both have a very realistic chance of coming in.
If I have to pick a final score, I’ll (reluctantly say) 10-8 to Cross, however if Wade wins I would not be overly surprised either. 10-8 (to Cross) is 7/1 and 10-8 (to Wade) is 8/1, both on Betfair.
Michael van Gerwen v Gurney – Michael Van Gerwen match treble (5/2 Sky Bet)
Michael van Gerwen v Gurney – Highest Checkout: Under 129.5 (5/6 Bet365)
Rob Cross v James Wade – Total Legs: Over 17.5 (7/4 Sky Bet)
Rob Cross v James Wade – 4 Or More 100+ Checkouts (7/2 Sky Bet)
Premier League – Michael van Gerwen to win outright (4/7 Betfair)