The Premier League heads to Sheffield for Week 10 and the clamour for play-off spots heats up as seven men battle for the three spots alongside the already-qualified Phil Taylor.
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Gary Anderson is up twice at the Motorpoint Arena, while two-time world champion Adrian Lewis has the night off. The real highlight will be the clash between Taylor and his old adversary Raymond van Barneveld.
James Wade v Gary Anderson
The ‘Flying Scotsman’ plays twice after missing the league night in Cardiff to attend his father’s funeral and will be looking to catapult himself up the league with one, or even two, wins in Sheffield.
Anderson has struggled so far in the Premier League and only twice in the nine weeks to date has hit top form. In week three he hit an average of 102.20 to dispose of James Wade and then in week seven a 105.39 average was required only to get a draw with van Barneveld.
Anderson admits his family struggles hampered his practicing in recent months and now he is back knuckling down, desperately searching for the form which brought him the Premier League title last year. Wade went down to Lewis in controversial circumstances last week but had been looking back on form and enjoying his game in the previous weeks.
This game looks very tight and a draw priced at 9/2 is a real possibility, but the edge should go to Wade at Evens.
Simon Whitlock v Kevin Painter
Whitlock bounced back from a whitewash to Wade in Week Eight to beat Anderson last time out with an impressive 101 average. That fired him up the table and the Aussie will fancy himself to get a play-off spot if he keeps on form.
Painter started the league strongly but has faltered in recent weeks and is one of three men sat on six points at the bottom of the table.
If ‘The Artist’ cannot conjure up a win it could be his campaign over. He is 13/5 to win but Whitlock looks far too strong and is priced at 1/2 to get the victory.
Phil Taylor v Raymond van Barneveld
This tends to be the most-hyped game in darts and with 20 World Championship titles between them there is no doubt this clash will get the fans salivating.
Taylor is already qualified for the play-offs but Barney is looking on top form – hitting his highest-ever televised average of 112.28 when beating Painter last week. After looking out of love with the game – especially at the World Championships – van Barneveld looks to have found his passion and confidence again so will fancy his chances of beating Taylor on TV for the first time in four years.
‘The Power’ has 12 straight Premier League wins over the Dutchman but if Barney is ever to end this record it could be here in Sheffield.
This game is too close to call – certainly closer than the odds tend to suggest – with Taylor at 2/9 to win, van Barneveld 6/1 and the draw at 6/1.
Andy Hamilton v Gary Anderson
Hamilton sits bottom of the Premier League table but yet is only three points adrift on the top four in what remains an intriguing tournament. A lot could depend on how Anderson adapts to playing two games in one night.
If he gets a win over Wade then confidence will be pumping and he could put on a masterclass, but it could also work in reverse and an early loss could make him a nervous wreck.
Hamilton could have drawn with a certain Taylor last week and missed the bull to square their clash 7-7. He gave the 15-time world champion a real scare and, if anybody can take advantage of Anderson, then ‘The Hammer’ is likely to be that man.
Anderson is the favourite at 5/6 to win, but the draw at 9/2 and Hamilton at 13/8 make for attractive propositions.
James Wade, Simon Whitlock, Phil Taylor and Anderson/Hamilton draw £10 accumulator returns £200 with BetFred