Whitlock great value against Wade
The dreams of two men could be dashed on Thursday in Liverpool as both Andy Hamilton and Simon Whitlock could see their hopes of reaching consecutive semi-finals in the Premier League come to an end.
Hamilton has two matches on Merseyside and his first could not be any tougher as he takes on Michael van Gerwen in the first contest of the evening. MVG suffered a rare defeat last week against Whitlock but hardly played badly as he averaged over 101 and his form was not too bad at the weekend as well as he won his fifth UK Open Qualifier of the season, destroying Mervyn King in the final 6-0.
The Hammer has not been in such good touch, especially in the Premier League where he has lost four consecutive matches and has gone from having a decent chance of making the last four to having next to none. His performance against Robert Thornton last week was very unlike his usual battling self as he averaged 87 in a limp performance.
When they met earlier in the campaign Mighty Mike dished out a 7-2 battering without even having to be at his best and something similar could well happen in Liverpool. MVG is a tiny best price of 4/11 with Bet365 and to be honest it is difficult to find much value in this bout. Most bookmakers have van Gerwen (-3.5) at odds-on but Bet Victor have just edged it up to evens and that looks about the best we can get out of this one.
The other man that needs points to keep his hopes alive is on next as Whitlock takes on James Wade with only a win really giving him any chance of staying in the competition. The Australian had a mixed week last time out defeating MVG but then losing to Phil Taylor, although he played well in the process.
In contrast Wade didn’t play too well at all as he was battered by Raymond van Barneveld 7-2, a result that has put his place in the semi-finals in jeopardy when it had looked nailed-on a couple of weeks ago.
When these two men met in Manchester it was the Wizard who came out on top and the Aussie holds a winning record overall against the Machine. He goes into this one as second favourite though and at 15/8 with Sky Bet he looks a pretty decent price. There is not a lot between the two players but with Whitlock needing to win he looks the better value.
Third on in Liverpool is something that is developing into a great rivalry on the PDC oche as Phil Taylor and Robert Thornton resume hostilities.
The Scot famously beat the Power in the UK Open final last year, then followed it up by knocking him out of the Grand Prix in Dublin. Taylor seemed to have got revenge by trouncing the Thorn in the World Championships but Thornton has kept the duel going in the Premier League by beating the world number one 7-4 in Brighton.
Thornton had a fantastic week last time on the Premier League stage as he saw off both Andy Hamilton and Adrian Lewis to give himself a real chance of making the final four. Unfortunately for him though, Taylor was looking in pretty ominous form as well. The Power despatched Lewis and Whitlock with averages of 105 and 103 and looked at his best in each match.
Given his recent record against the Power though, the 4/1 with Sporting Bet on Thornton looks pretty generous but it would still take a brave punter to back against Taylor after what he did last week. What is very feasible though is that Thornton will push Taylor all the way as he does seem to have something of the Indian sign over him. Over 11.5 legs is at 5/4 with Paddy Power and that looks very possible indeed.
Michael van Gerwen (-3.5) to win @ evens with Bet Victor
Simon Whitlock to win @ 15/8 with Sky Bet
Phil Taylor v Robert Thornton Over 11.5 legs @ 5/4 with Paddy Power
• 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
• In form Newton to keep winning
• Whitlock and MVG value for big finish