Week 5 of the Premier League takes the eight players to Exeter where Racing Post darts tipster Steve Davies reckons Welsh pair Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton can defy the odds and enjoy a points-scoring night.
Price plays in the standout game of the first round against Michael van Gerwen and is taken to come through at 11/10 while Clayton can get the better of Peter Wright at 1/1 in the battle of the bottom two.
|What||Premier League Darts, Week 5|
|Where||Westpoint Arena, Exeter|
|When||19:00, Thursday 2nd March, 2023|
|How to watch||Sky Sports|
|Odds||M van Gerwen 11/4, M Smith 10/3, G Price 9/2, P Wright 11/2, J Clayton 15/2, D van den Bergh 17/2, N Aspinall 14/1, C Dobey 18/1|
The UK Open, one of the PDC's flagship majors, gets underway on Friday in Minehead, just a short hop north from Exeter where a few hours earlier the Premier League elite eight will be battling it out for points and prize money.
And it's a fascinating card at the Westpoint Arena which sees the top four players in the standings all in the top half of the draw and the bottom four housed in the other half.
The previous four weeks have produced four different winners, emphasising the difficulty in picking the night's victor even in such a small field.
The opening game of the night is a repeat of the last game in Dublin a week ago, as Gerwyn Price and Michael van Gerwen bid to lay on another thriller.
In the final at the 3Arena it was the Dutchman who came through 6-5, but only after Gezzy has missed seven match darts.
Mighty Mike humbly agreed he'd got lucky and there is little doubt that Price, the best man on the night, blew it. The Iceman had averaged over 104 beating Dimitri van den Bergh and over 102 seeing off Michael Smith only to have double trouble in the final which cost him a second win of the campaign.
Price produced even more impressive numbers in Kiel over the weekend at the Baltic Sea Open, the first event on this year's European Tour, averaging over 109 against Graham Usher and then 108.29 in defeat to eventual winner Dave Chisnall. Van Gerwen lost his only game to Stephen Bunting.
Price promised after winning in Week 2 in Cardiff that he was improving and the signs are now crystal clear. He looks a proper bet at 11/10.
Game two features north-west friends and rivals Michael Smith and Nathan Aspinall, a repeat of a match in Week 2 which the Asp won 6-4.
Indeed, Aspinall has won four of their last five meetings and will fancy he can land odds of 13/8, especially if Bully Boy hasn't fully recovered from a wrist injury which clearly inconvenienced him in Kiel over the weekend.
I say clearly, the world champ still managed to average 99.27 in defeat to Dirk van Duijvenbode and he has been streaky like that throughout the Premier League campaign so far with five ton-plus averages registered alongside two below 92.
The head-to-head record, doubts over Smith's health and the fact that there's only two points between them in the table, would at the very least make you consider a bet on the Asp at 5/6 plus 1.5 legs on the handicap.
Peter Wright is enduring a miserable Premier League so far with four games played, four defeats, hardly the sort of form which encourages a bet against Jonny Clayton.
The Scot went to Kiel last Friday hoping for a timely boost at the Baltic Sea Open but after seeing off James Wade averaged under 89 in a disappointing 6-4 loss to Keegan Brown.
Clayton, in contrast, looked sharp beating Ted Evetts, Stephen Bunting and Steve Beaton before succumbing to Dave Chisnall in the semis.
The Ferret has four points on the board in the Premier League after a sluggish start and can go in at 1/1.
The fourth first-round tie pits Dimitri van den Bergh against Chris Dobey with the Belgian at 4/6.
They are both on five points with Dobey's all coming in Week 1 and he's not been quite at the races since.
There is very little between any of these players so there's no great appetite to be taking a short price about Dancing Dimitri, and indeed it may well be worth betting his average dips under 96.5 at 4/5.
Van den Bergh is averaging 97 and bits so far but his finishing has been peerless thus far with a 49 percent success rate on the outer ring. That's what's keeping his average high and is difficult to sustain.