Darts guru Ben Levene (@benlevene96) looks ahead to week ten of the Premier League of Darts.
Raymond Van Barneveld v Daryl Gurney| Thursday 12th April 2018, 19:15 | Sky Sports
The plan originally was to be with Rob Cross, however the World Champion withdrew from Sunday’s Players Championship in Barnsley through illness. After a shaky period when adjusting to life as World Champ, Cross has played well over the last six-weeks or so and that’s testament to the work he puts in.
When going through the poor spell he admitted he’d let his practice slip. Given he was unwell on Sunday, preparation may not have been ideal. We’ve seen the difference in performance level with and without proper preparation, so it probably makes since to steer clear this week.
The next best thing could well be in Thursday’s opening match.
Daryl Gurney has hit more 180’s in this years Premier League than any other player. His 42 maximums have come across 102 legs, yielding a rate of a maximum every 2.42 legs. He’s hit at least three in eight of his nine matches, including at least five in each of his last three.
He’s a relentless scorer and arguably the best maximum hitter on the tour. To put it into context, it makes sense to put Gurney’s numbers up against Van Barneveld.
The Dutchman has hit 23 across 93 legs in the Premier League this season, averaging a maximum every 4.04 legs.
In Barnsley on Saturday, 7.7% of Gurney’s turns saw a 180, the highest proportion of any player to play more than the single game. On Sunday that figure stood at 4.3%. On the other hand, Barney didn’t hit a 180 on Saturday and in his run to the last 16 on Sunday he did so in just 2.2% of his throws.
At the UK Open qualifiers earlier this year, 8.5% of Gurney’s throws resulted in a maximum (the highest of the 270-man field) in comparison to Barney’s 5.4%.
More generally, across the eight Players Championship floor events so far in 2018, 6.5% of Gurney’s turns have seen a maximum compared to 3.2% of Van Barneveld.
Only MVG, Gary Anderson and Peter Wright hit more 180’s than Gurney in 2017. That’s impressive when you consider that trio played in the Premier League and all World Series events, so naturally threw more darts.
Gurney’s finishing hasn’t been at its best this campaign, but there have been signs of an upturn as his confidence has grown. He’s finished at a rate of 50% in two of last three Premier League matches, something which he had failed to achieve in the opening five.
Superchin has adapted to life in front of the cameras on Thursday nights averaging 99, 98 98 and 98 in his last four. He’s beginning to produce the numbers that saw him climb the rankings in 2017 and should he continue to do so, then he could be set for a run to the play-off’s.
Barney is probably the hardest man to predict in darts. On his day he’s still a top-five player and that’s evidenced in the performance we see every year at the World’s and in the Premier League.
He’s lost two consecutive Premier League matches and has averaged under 99 in six of his last seven. He has two games tonight and is clearly searching for some form, which is why he turned up in Barnsley at the weekend. He lost 7-0 to Michael Smith last Thursday.
Questions marks over Daryl’s doubling coupled with the uncertainty over Barney mean that it makes sense to stick to the 180 markets.
Gurney is significantly outperforming Raymond in terms of 180’s, so the -1 180 handicap at 6/5 looks the best shout.
If we use their rates in the tournament so far, we can expect 3-4 maximums from Gurney and 1-2 from Barney should the game see just 7 or 8 legs. If we go all 12, then there’s more room for ability to show.
When staking we must bare in mind that a maximum of 12-legs is quite a condensed format, so there is scope for shocks.
The pair drew 6-6 in the reverse Premier League game with Gurney winning the 180 count 6-5, while Barney won 11-10 in Perth last August with Gurney winning the 180 count 6-0.
Raymond Van Barneveld v Daryl Gurney – Daryl Gurney -1 180 Handicap (6/5 Betfair)