Wade v Painter: Machine to reboot
If the Premier League was a pub crawl, then Kevin Painter wouldn't quite be in the Last Chance Saloon, but he would be stumbling out of the Red Lion round the corner and getting dangerously close to heading towards it.
The Artist kept his hopes of the semi-finals alive by recording his fourth victory of the tournament against Gary Anderson last week in Bournemouth. However, the seemingly impressive result is tempered a little as the Flying Scot never got off the ground and Painter didn't have to produce much to pick up the win.
Many expected Painter to struggle this year, but his excellent finishing has kept him in games when his scoring has let him down. He has only averaged over 95 twice, and both were in losing efforts, and it is unlikely that a scoring performance below that benchmark would be good enough to defeat the Machine who hasn't dropped a point to an average below 96.
The superhuman efforts that it has taken to beat Wade shows the form he has been in even in defeat. He holds the enviable position of third in the table but will be well aware that there is plenty of work to be done and probably needs two wins from his last three games to confirm his place in the final four. With his last two games being against Taylor and Van Barneveld as well he will be doubling his efforts to get points on the board before running that gauntlet.
You don't win the array of titles that the Machine has won without being able to win when you really need to and I fully expect him to pick up the result on Thursday. Painter will need to up his game considerably, and unfortunately for him he hasn't really proved that he can thus far on the Premier League stage.
The 4/7 on a Wade win isn't overly tempting, but I fancy the -2.5 handicap to secure a more healthy profit.
James Wade (-2.5) to win @ 5/6
• Lewis v Anderson: Value now with Scot
• Taylor v Whitlock: Wizard to break Power duck
• Barney v Hamilton: No room for error
• Taylor v Lewis: Jackpot thrives on big games
• Wade v Hamilton: Time is running out
• Barney v Whitlock: Momentum is with Dutchman
• Anderson v Painter: Win or bust
• Anderson 33/1 to defend Premier League crown
• Taylor v Barney: Still a spectacle to behold
• Wade v Anderson: In-form Machine is the only bet
• Whitlock v Painter: Wizard seeks revenge
• Hamilton v Taylor: Another handicap win for Power
• Whitlock v Anderson: Wizard to show bouncebackability
• Lewis v Wade: Rivalries renewed
• Painter v Van Barneveld: Barney to land the 180 odds