After 15 weeks of action it all culminates at the O2 Arena tonight when the top four players go head-to-head.
Before a dart was thrown Michael van Gerwen was the favourite and that hasn’t changed. Dave Chisnall & last year’s winner Raymond van Barneveld were seen as the outsiders, with Chizzy a favourite for elimination. However he has proven many wrong.Embed from Getty Images
Seven weeks ago it looked all but over for van Barneveld but a draw against Gary Anderson kept his hopes alive. Since then he has gone on a run of six wins and a draw from his seven matches, including a win against MvG. An original 28/1 shot is now 13/2 to regain his crown.
The other three players have been in and around the top four with Chisnall being the eye catching player, hitting the most 180s and consistently putting in performances that would give him a chance of winning a major title in coming years.
So, to the semi-finals, which are first to ten!
Dave Chisnall v Gary Anderson
In the regular season Chisnall beat Anderson on both occasions. He won those quite well with 7-3 and 7-2 scorelines, so it is surprising to see Anderson as an odds-on favourite with that in mind.
Of course The Flying Scotsman has the class as we all saw at the start of the year when he won the World Championship, so he can produce it on the big stage on the big nights. That is something Chizzy is yet to prove. In his few big finals so far, he has been well beaten by Phil Taylor.
The Scotsman has said he has found it hard to focus during this competition but you’d fully expect him to be fully concentrated on adding this title to his world title.
The stats are all in favour of Anderson. He leads the head-to-head record 7-3 and has proven form in the latter stages of competitions. However I’m struggling to believe Chisnall will lose this with the way he has performed so far.
Due to Anderson’s hit-and-miss form during this competition I’m siding with the more consistent Chisnall (13/10).
These pair have hit the most 180s in the regular weeks with Chisnall hitting 62 and Anderson hitting 57 maximums. The bar has been set quite high at 11.5 and on a nervy night will that be surpassed?
Once both players get their first maximums it is hard not to see them flying in, especially over this longer format. Chisnall consistently hit four most weeks with some when he hit six. Anderson was a little more inconsistent but there are a fair few matches where he hit five and in his week nine match he hit seven. For me Over 11.5 180s (4/5) would be the way to go.
As mentioned previously Chisnall won both matches against Anderson and in those matches the match treble is something that would have landed. With the price it is at it is worth mentioning Match treble of Chisnall to Win, Highest Match Checkout and Most 180s (13/2).
Of course the generic Highest Match Checkout Over 129.5 (5/6) would be something worth playing. Chisnall alone would have seen that bet land in five of his last six matches. If you look at it with that logic then Chisnall Highest Match Checkout (evens) would be another worthy market and looking at the stats is quite surprising that it isn’t shorter.
As you can see, I am quite keen on Chisnall’s chances tonight. He has improved vastly, especially on his finishing and that is why he will win a major tournament in the next two years. At 6/1 I think he would be my way to go for the rest of the night, if he sees off Anderson.
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
Many will be surprised to see last year’s winner Raymond van Barneveld here after the initial eight weeks where he was close to being eliminated. However he has found some belief and it has seen him go on a magnificent run, which included a win over MvG, to reach this stage.
Van Gerwen is very beatable. In the Players Championships at the weekend he lost in the semi-finals on both days. On the Saturday he was whitewashed 6-0 by Gary Anderson and Dave Chisnall beat him on the Sunday, before Chizzy was a beaten finalist by Joe Murnan.
This is a repeat of last year’s final, which saw the former postman RvB deliver. In week 11 he beat van Gerwen 7-3 but before that was beaten 7-2 in week eight. Mighty Mike does hold the head-to-head advantage, which he leads 17-13.Embed from Getty Images
If Barney is able to stay close to MvG in the early stages it is hard to look past the rejuvenated man playing with class and belief. Yes I have tried to get MvG beaten in past tournaments, which hasn’t worked all the time but with the confidence Barney is playing with at the price he looks tempting considering in their last five Premier League matches Raymond has won three; Raymond van Barneveld to Win (3/1).
If you disagree with that then look at him on the handicaps where there is some value, especially in +2.5 handicap market.
Raymond goes through spells of hitting maximums looking at his record. In the regular season three was a consistent marker, with a few fives thrown in. I would be looking at RvB Over 4.5 Match 180s (10/11) and MvG Most 180s (4/7) over this longer format. Those are quite self-explanatory in the fact the ‘Green Machine’ tends to bang in the maximums.
A brave (or stupid) man would only suggest a correct scoreline. That’s what I feel I am and so backing the five-time World Champion to win, the scoreline for me would be RvB to win 10-8 (14/1). The only reason I say this is I think it’ll be a close match but Barney will put in a leg or two where he’ll be able to break the van Gerwen throw, which will be crucial for him to win.
If you agree with something along those lines then Over 15.5 Legs (4/6) would be a play. For me there will be a 16th leg in this match.
There we go then! My Final for this year’s Premier League will see the two outsiders, on the night battle it out for the big prize.
Dave Chisnall (6/1) v Raymond van Barneveld (13/2)
If this were to be the final then I’d be backing Chisnall to win.