Taylor and Van Gerwen set for Premier League final
After 14 weeks of intense competition the Premier League comes to a close on Thursday night in London, and we are set for what could be the greatest finals night in the history of the competition.
We’ve had epic conclusions to the tournament before that have seen huge upsets (Mervyn King knocking out Phil Taylor in ’09), moments of perfection (Taylor’s two 9-darters in 2010) and shows of dominance (Gary Anderson hammering Adrian Lewis 10-4 in 2011). In the three matches we are set for at the O2 on Thursday, we could have all three of those things again in the same evening.
The two semi-finals are an exact replica of the World Championship final four as Michael van Gerwen takes on James Wade and Phil Taylor faces his old foe Raymond van Barneveld. We all know that it was Van Gerwen and Taylor that reached the final at the Alexandra Palace and the bookies fully expect the same thing to happen five months later.
It is MVG and Wade that will be first on and given the form of the Dutchman it is no surprise that he is heavy odds-on favourite for this one. He has become the first man to ever stop Taylor topping the Premier League table and he is now the favourite to become the fourth man to ever win the title.
Mighty Mike has won seven of his last eight games in the Premier League and having incredibly won six floor events already this year (there have only been 10) he is certainly the most feared player in the game at the moment.
Wade has been nowhere near as consistent but did perform well last week to pick up a point against The Power to guarantee his spot in the final four for the fifth time out of the six editions of the tournament he has played in. He also has a reasonably encouraging record against MVG having beaten him twice this year, once in this tournament and once in the UK Masters, which few can say.
In fact, the pair have always enjoyed very tight battles. Even at the World Championship which will be remembered for MVG’s near back-to-back 9-darters Wade was very much in the game and only went down 6-4 in sets.
Mighty Mike will most probably win this one but Wade will push him all the way and it will be closer than some are expecting. Over 12.5 legs sounds good but at 5/6 it won’t be making us much money. A bet more in our favour is on the 180s market of which there should be plenty in a match likely to go to at least 13 legs. Over 7.5 is at 13/10 with Bwin and that could well prove profitable.
The second semi-final needs no introduction as it is one of the greatest rivalries in sport over the last decade, albeit a fairly one-sided one in terms of results. It looked like Barney was going to finally chalk up that first Premier League win over Taylor when they met last month but in truth he bottled it and could only come away with a draw and with that in mind it is hard to back him even given his sensational recent form.
RVB responded to the disappointing draw with Taylor by winning his remaining four league games and comes into the play-offs in arguably as good form as anyone and certainly as good as Taylor’s.
That draw in Dublin has just cemented the feeling that Barney cannot do for Taylor in the big ones anymore though. He hasn’t beaten the world number one on a big stage since the final of the UK Open in 2008 and they have played in near enough every major competition since then.
That said there are plenty who will be more than happy to back the big man at a best price of 9/4 with Boyle Sports because on the face of it, it does look like a great price. However, history can’t be ignored and the sensible betting is going to be on Taylor. In a race to eight Taylor should win this one by three and with a -2.5 handicap he is available at 11/10 with Paddy Power when he is odds-on elsewhere.
Michael van Gerwen v James Wade Over 7.5 180s @ 13/10 with Bwin
Phil Taylor (-2.5) to win @ 11/10 with Paddy Power