2018 Darts Betting: Who Will Win The Premier League This Year?

by Winston Wong
on March 5, 2018

The 2018 Darts Premier League has already started on February 1st and Michael Smith is leading the way with four wins out of the same number of matches. It’s still early though, and there are a lot of darts to be played by May 17th.

Each of the ten players involved is hoping to perform well. For some, this only means winning the Premier League. Here I take a look at the betting odds for the best players and see if I can find some value.

The Stages in a Nutshell

I will start by quickly explaining how the Darts Premier League works. Ten players start the event and all of them participate in Phase 1. They play against each other once and the last two in the rankings are eliminated at the end.

The remaining eight players face one another in the second phase. When the matches are finished, the top four players in the rankings qualify for the playoff stage.

The leader faces the fourth, while the contestants placed second and third play against each other in a best of 19 format. The winners of those two games then face each other in the best of 21 final to determine who will be the Premier League champion.

Michael Van Gerwen (-115) – Current Position 2nd

Michael Van Gerwen hardly needs an introduction. The Dutchman is the most attractive and most successful darts player in the past couple of years. He’s also ranked first according to the Order of Merit and won the Darts Premier League in 2016 and 2017.

That’s an impressive resume and one that’s bound to get better. It’s no surprise to see the bookies rank Michael Van Gerwen as the favorite of the 2018 Darts Premier League. There is no doubt he is the man to beat, the question is if the price of -115 is good enough.

Such odds equal just above 53% probability and this should be your starting point. Do you really believe he is more than 53% favorite for the tournament? I’m inclined to say that’s not the case.

Michael Van Gerwen will certainly reach the playoff phase and I don’t think anyone doubts that. However, he will have to face two of his most fierce competitors in the knockout games to win the Premier League.

He will be the favorite in both potential clashes, but the quality of his opponents will be enough to make them competitive. This is why I believe the current odds for the Dutchman are just about right and contain no potential value from a betting perspective.

Rob Cross (+700) – Current Position 5th

Rob Cross Throwing a Dart
The story of Rob Cross is one for the movies. He won the 2018 Darts World Championship just eleven months after turning pro and fascinated the fans. The guy has loads of talent and the mentality of a champion. A good example for the latter is that he became the first player to survive match darts in two different rounds on the road to the title.

However, Cross lacks experience on the highest level and you could tell this during the first two rounds of the Premier League. He suffered heavy defeats against Van Gerwen and Simon Whitlock.

It was a tough start in his Premier League debut, but he won the next two matches with averages close to 100. As a result, he is comfortably in the middle of the pack and his confidence is certainly on the rise.

I would say the world champion certainly has the potential to win the Premier League and might be lethal in the playoffs. The big question here is if he will find enough consistency to actually get into the top four.

My personal opinion is that he will do that. If we look at his performance so far, he has managed an average score of over 95 in three out of the four games he played. This is a solid trend for an inexperienced player and he should only get better as his confidence grows.

There’s no chance he’s out after phase 1 and I believe he will barely make the playoffs. From there on out, anything is possible. This is why the odds of +700 for Rob Cross winning the Premier League do represent solid value.

Gary Anderson (+700) – Current Position 6th

The third favorite of the bookies is Gary Anderson. He is a two-time Darts Premier League winner and took the trophy home in 2015. The Flying Scotsman has also won the World Championship twice and is among the most consistent players out there.

He’s had a somewhat shaky start and sits 6th in the table, but the results are a bit misleading. For example, Anderson lost against Michael Van Gerwen in Newcastle, but average a score of over 110 which would’ve been enough for the win against everyone else.

Considering how good Gary Anderson has been on a regular basis, I expect him to reach the final stage of the Premier League. He is certainly dangerous, but I don’t think he has enough to win against Michael Van Gerwen or even Rob Cross if they are at their best.

This is why I believe there is no value in the odds of Gary Anderson despite the juicy price of +700. He has potential, but I would like to get something like +900 to back him.

Peter Wright(+900) – Current Position 4th

Peter Wright Getting Ready to Throw a Dart
Peter Wright is another Scotsman that has a shot at the Darts Premier League title. He is ranked second according to the Order of Merit and has been part of the darts elite for years.

2017 was probably the strongest year in his career. The Snakebite won his first major trophy, reached the highest ranking in his career and almost beat Michael Van Gerwen to win the Premier League. Wright is certainly up for more of the same in 2018.

He currently sits 4th in the table with two draws, a win, and a loss. He’s averaged over 100 in three of his matches and the victory came against Michael Van Gerwen.

The odds of Peter Wright winning the Premier League sit at +900 which is a tasty price. He is a strong contender and has proven in the past year or so that he can win against Michael Van Gerwen. Since the world number 1 is the man to beat, this alone should not be underestimated.

The problem with Wright is that he peaked late in his career. As a result, he doesn’t seem to have the mentality of a champion when it matters the most. This was evident in the last year’s Premier League final. The Scotsman missed tons of opportunities to close the game and was punished at the end. Still, I believe he is in a great shape and has the potential to win. Considering the price of +900, it’s worth a shot despite the doubts about his character.

The Rest of the Bunch

I don’t want to be disrespectful to the other players in the Premier League, but I can’t see any of them winning. For that to happen, they must qualify for the playoffs first. This alone would be a mountain to climb and there still will be a lot of work to do afterwards.

This is why I wouldn’t place my money even on seasoned veterans like Barney or current leader Michael Smith.

Final Words

At the end of the day, I believe the value lies in the prices for Rob Cross and Peter Wright. They seem the most likely candidates to dethrone Michael Van Gerwen, in my opinion. Obviously, the Dutchman is the big favorite here but the odds are too short for my taste.

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