Sorry Lewis set for fourth straight defeat
With just three weeks remaining before finals night in the 2013 Premier League certain players are getting to the must win stage if they are to keep any hopes of reaching the final four alive, whilst others no that just one or two more wins will secure them a place at the O2.
With four players taking to the stage twice of an evening at this stage of the tournament though, a pair of wins in one night can turn your fortunes around pretty quickly. Phil Taylor did not quite manage that last week, but three points from two games took him from worryingly outside the top four to firmly back in it and he is looking to further cement his place there with two more contests this week in Birmingham.
He is first on against the one man who is really all but out of the competition in Adrian Lewis. Jackpot has had a pretty miserable campaign with just three wins from 11 matches and although he still could muster 17 points from the tournament there are no real signs that he can make a late surge.
Lewis does have an encouraging recent record against Taylor though in the Premier League managing a draw and a win last year and inflicting two heavy defeats on the Power in 2011, one of course in the semi-finals. The form he had then has evaporated now though and there is no one in the tournament you would confidently back him against, and certainly not the Power.
Taylor is rarely first on stage but proved it was to his liking last week when he averaged over 105 in beating Andy Hamilton. He could well pull out a similar ton-plus performance this week and although you never know quite what to expect from Jackpot there is little evidence to suggest he will produce much. Taylor won 7-3 in the second week of the tournament and something similar could happen this time around with a 6/5 from Bet Victor on a -3.5 handicap looking about right.
Next on is Simon Whitlock being the latest man to try and derail the runaway train that is Michael van Gerwen. The Dutchman didn’t have it quite all his own way in the opening weeks of the tournament but he is on a five match winning streak that doesn’t look like ending any time soon.
Whitlock’s performances have picked up of late as well, winning his last two but he will have to be on his very best form to get close to MVG. The Wizard was blown away last time they met and although he should put up more of a fight this time around it is hard to see Mighty Mike not making it six in a row. MVG with a -2.5 handicap is odds-on with most bookies but Paddy Power make it evens and that looks a solid enough bet.
Third on in Birmingham are two men that are well aware a loss will severely damage their chances of making the last four as Robert Thornton and Andy Hamilton square-off. The Hammer had a pretty disastrous week in Dublin last time out, losing twice which leaves him three points adrift with just four games left and he may well have to win all of them to stay in contention.
Thornton is in a better position with one point more than Hamilton and having played one game less so it is no great surprise that he is favourite going into this one. Both are probably in their worst spells of the competition so far but the Thorn has just been the much better player throughout the league, scoring and finishing better than the Hammer. With Thornton available at 11/10 with Bet365 it would seem silly not to back him.
Phil Taylor (-3.5) to win @ 6/5 with Bet Victor
Michael van Gerwen (-2.5) to win @ evens with Paddy Power
Robert Thornton to win @ 11/10 with Bet365
• Whitlock great value against Wade
• Barney could batter Lewis
• 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
• In form Newton to keep winning
• Whitlock and MVG value for big finish