Thursday 2nd January. 7PM. Sky Sports 2
It’s back! Over the next 16 weeks, 10 of the PDC’s top superstars will battle it out to be crowned Premier League Champion 2017, and the drama gets underway in front of a packed Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle with five fascinating showdowns.
All 10 players will be looking to grab the perfect start in these best of 12 matches while the headline events sees two of the world’s best collide in one of the hottest matches of the first phase.
Cue Planet Funk.
Michael van Gerwen V Gary Anderson In Explosive Opening Week Showdown
Between them, they’ve won the last three Premier League titles as well as the last four World Championship crowns. They fought it out in January’s final for the big one, and renewed their rivalry in last weekend’s final of the Masters. Quite simply, they are the top two at the oche right now, and Thursday’s clash should be yet another classic.
Both incredible players tend to push each other to even greater heights, and this best of 12 showdown promises to provide bags of entertainment too. However, it’s Mighty Mike who holds all the aces in this one.
MVG has been irresistible over the past 12 months, winning virtually every TV tournament he enters. However, if there’s anyone that can match him, it’s the Flying Scotsman. With both men likely to top a 100 three-dart average, it should be thrilling to say the least.
What a way to welcome the tournament back to our screens.
Klaasen And Huybrechts Return
With Robert Thornton and Michael Smith dropping out, this year’s tournament offers Jelle Klaasen a return to the tournament, where he will try to better his 7th-placed finish of 2009. The Cobra will be an outsider to even qualify past Judgement Day, but an upset over Peter Wright would certainly boost his chances. Having said that, Snakebite will be fancying his chances of going all the way to London’s O2 on May 18th, and will be expected to start his campaign in style.
Joining Klaasen on the list of returning players is Kim Huybrechts, who missed last year’s event after finishing 10th in 2015. The Belgian does lack consistency, but is more than capable on his day. But with James Wade standing in his way on opening night, even a draw would signal a good start.
Meanwhile, Phil Taylor is in as a wildcard for the first time in history. The six-time champion missed out on the order of merit places for the first time in 13 years, but will still be expected to go far in the competition. An opening night win against Dave Chisnall would set him on his way.
Finally, Adrian Lewis faces Raymond van Barneveld in a clash that has the potential to go the distance and possibly even challenge the big one for game of the night. It might be early days, but the winner will be in a great position to start an early push for a strong campaign.
It promises to be a great night, let’s hope we can start the tournament with some winners too.
Premier League Darts Week 1 Betting
Van Gerwen would certainly be our pick to win the whole thing, but waiting 16 weeks for an odds-on winner is not a market we’d like to touch. Thankfully, we’ve got some alternative bets lined up for week one.
While we expect Taylor to beat Chizzy, the underdog should hit the magical 180 on a more frequent basis. After all, the Power does have a tendency to switch to t19.
Couple that with either MVG or Anderson to post a checkout of over 121.5 in the big game for a double that pays out at nearly 2/1.
In our second double, we’re backing both of the returning players to lose. It’s not that they’re bad players, but Smith struggled on debut last year while Thornton was equally poor upon his return. With Wade and Wright standing in their respective path ways, it could be a tough night indeed.
Another double, this time at odds of over 2/1. As long as we avoid the draws, it should have a great chance of winning.