James Wade beat Raymond van Barneveld 7-5 when the pair met in their early March Premier League Darts clash. Now, as the competition enters its second phase, they meet again and the bookmakers can barely separate them.
Wade is the marginal favourite, available at 11/8 with Coral. But the best odds on offer about Barneveld is just 6/4 (Betfair). The prices are hard to fathom as Wade boasts five wins and a draw from his previous nine games.
Barneveld unquestionably raises his game when playing against the game’s biggest names. In the 2016 league he has beaten Phil Taylor and last week he drew with Michael van Gerwen. However, Wade has improved throughout this competition and is unbeaten in four.
Given Barney always puts up a good fist of things – he’s won at least five legs on eight occasions from his nine Premier League matches – a correct score bet looks the way to go. We recommend backing Wade to win 7-5 and 7-4.
Love the 9/1 MVG Stalemate
Our next bet may seem outrageous but most 9/1 shots in a darts match are. OK, it is more of a value shout, but there are legitimate reasons to believe Robert Thornton can force a draw with Michael van Gerwen.
Gerwen has drawn three matches in the league, his last two games as it happens, and one of those was against Thornton! These two have considerable history and Thornton has the rare distinction of beating the great MVG in a major final when taking the World Grand Prix last October.
It’s obviously no slam dunk but with Thornton playing for no more than pride he can and will give MVG his very best which could make this a close game.
Finally, the line on the highest checkout in the Taylor vs Anderson game is 120.5. Under looks the way to go as neither player has been exceptional with big checkouts. Taylor’s best is 141 and that’s the lowest of the remaining eight players.