Expect a Taylor backlash
Raymond van Barneveld’s return to form in recent months has been a beautiful thing to behold and the resurgence has taken him to the top of the Premier League table after five weeks of the event, something few expected with the Taylor-Van Gerwen axis expected to dominate.
Barney hasn’t really grabbed the headlines each week but has been consistently brilliant with a hat-trick of three figure averages in his first five games, something only James Wade can match. He takes on a man in Manchester who has also been performing at the top of his game though in Robert Thornton.
The Thorn suffered his first loss of the campaign last week against a rampant James Wade but with a tournament average to date of 99.49, it shows that the loss did little to dent his brilliant consistency so far.
The Dutchman is unsurprisingly the strong favourite for the match at 8/11 with Sky Bet whilst the Scot is out at 3/1. It is not an easy one to find much value in though as Thornton will not get a thrashing too often as he did last week and is likely to push Barney most of if not all the way. What looks a safe bet, if not a massive profit-maker is Barney’s average being over 98.5. He has only dropped below this once in five games and that was against a thoroughly impressive Michael van Gerwen who really took the game away from him. BetVictor are offering 4/5 on this market which is pretty slim but has a very good chance of providing a small but tidy profit.
The final match of the evening sees Phil Taylor in the rare situation of having to recover from a loss last week and the even more obscure situation of facing a man that has beaten him since last Thursday.
Taylor suffered his first loss of the Premier League campaign last week to Gary Anderson and then followed this up with a quarter-final exit at the UK Masters at the hands of Andy Hamilton who he meets on Thursday in Manchester.
Hamilton played brilliantly to beat the Power 6-3 in Minehead but it is safe to say that the bookies do not expect him to repeat the achievement with Taylor priced at a miniscule 4/11 for the win with the Hammer out at 5/1 across the board.
It is hard to argue with this despite Taylor coming off two defeats in a week as he tends to respond to failure as well as anyone ever has in any sport and you do not want to be on the wrong end of a Power backlash. I can see Taylor handing out something of a battering in Manchester, he beat Hamilton 8-3 in their first contest in the Premier League last year and for him to win with a -3.5 handicap this week is 11/10 with Blue Square whilst it is evens elsewhere so this looks a good price.
Raymond van Barneveld three dart average over 98.5 @ 4/5 with Bet Victor
Phil Taylor (-3.5) to win @ 11/10 with Blue Square
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