In form Newton to keep winning
We have reached judgement night in the 2013 Premier League as two men will become the first ever to be relegated from the competition and there is no doubt that is a fate that everyone wants to avoid.
There are four men who can suffer the ignominy of being the first to be relegated from the Premier League and before the tournament started, few would have expected these to be Adrian Lewis, Simon Whitlock, Wes Newton and Gary Anderson, however, the inconsistent form of all of them sees the quartet in danger of the drop.
The first who has a chance to save his skin is Anderson who knows that a loss against James Wade in the first match of the night will see him out of contention at the earliest juncture. The Scot has been very disappointing thus far, winning just two of his eight matches although one of these was against Phil Taylor somewhat perversely. His inconsistency sees him propping up the table and he has left himself with an awful lot to do against the in-form Wade.
Wade has little to worry about in terms of the table but he has been playing brilliantly and has proved to be as difficult to beat as anyone with just two losses so far and is one of the four men on 10 points at the top of the table. The Machine may not have quite the motivation that Anderson has on Thursday night but his far superior form could spell the end for the Flying Scotsman.
Anderson could just pinch it but he will be very nervy and Wade is not one to come out and take pleasure in relegating his adversary. It could well be a low quality contest and with both players averaging less than three maximums per match as it is, the 6/5 on under 5.5 180s with Coral looks a good price.
The second contest of the night is the only one that has no bearing on the relegation battle as the league leader Phil Taylor plays a man in the form of his life in Robert Thornton.
The Thorn was favourite to be bottom of the table by this point but has made many look pretty stupid by putting in some incredible performances including last week when he hammered Simon Whitlock 7-1 with a near 108 average; this not even being his best scoring contest as he clocked a 109.33 when he beat Anderson.
If anyone will not be afraid of facing the Power it would be Thornton who twice knocked the world number one out of major events last year. Taylor got some revenge by knocking the Scot out of the World Championship but there will certainly be no fear surrounding the game for Thornton.
Taylor looks to be back in form though with consecutive ton-plus averages in his victories over Wes Newton and Raymond van Barneveld which will make him very hard to beat indeed. He will not be worried about the relegation issues and will know that a win over Thornton will see his chances of securing a semi-final spot significantly improved so his focus will not be affected.
Unsurprisingly it is Taylor who is the strong favourite but Thornton will give a good account of himself as he has throughout the tournament. Only once this campaign has the Thorn managed less than four legs and for there to be over 10.5 legs in his bout with Taylor is 5/4 with Bet365 which is very likely indeed.
The real pressure is back on in the next match between Wes Newton and Andy Hamilton with Newton, like Anderson, knowing a loss will mean curtains for him. Newton kept his hopes of survival alive with a win last week over Anderson and he has followed that up with an impressive win at the European Darts Trophy where he scooped the £20,000 winner’s cheque. With this in mind his confidence will be sky high and will go into the bout with Hamilton with a significant tailwind.
Hamilton, in contrast, is coming off a disappointing loss to Adrian Lewis last week and went out early in Germany losing to Mark Webster in the second round. The Hammer will not consciously dip in effort but with his place in the second half of the campaign secured he may not have the incentive to keep up with Newton if he makes a real surge.
The Hammer is favourite for this one but I can see Newton going a long way to keeping his Premier League campaign alive with a win. The Warrior is a best price of 2/1 with Sporting Bet and that looks a great price on a man coming off a big tournament win and with all the motivation in the world to secure another victory.
James Wade v Gary Anderson under 5.5 180s @ 6/5 with Coral
Phil Taylor v Robert Thornton over 10.5 legs @ 5/4 with Bet365
• Whitlock great value against Wade
• Barney could batter Lewis
• Sorry Lewis set for fourth straight defeat
• Wade the value bet against Barney
• Taylor must beat Hamilton
• Whitlock is back in form
• MVG can hurt Taylor semi-final chances
• Hammer and Barney set for another tight one
• Whitlock and MVG value for big finish