Gary Anderson is 5/1 to wrestle the Premier League title from Michael van Gerwen’s clutches as this year’s tournament kicks off in Newcastle on Thursday night.
Van Gerwen beat Phil Taylor in 2016 to take the trophy off Anderson, who has already tasted defeat to the Dutchman in both the World Championship and Masters finals this year. But Anderson is Van Gerwen’s closest challenger at present and has the ability to keep up the pace over the 16-week competition, having also won the title in 2011.
Anderson and 1/2 tournament favourite Van Gerwen go head to head in the opening week, in a repeat of their Alexandra Palace final, with the former 39/20 to upset the world champion. Van Gerwen is 5/1 to win 7-5 while the draw can be quoted at 7/2.
“Michael’s been brilliant,” Anderson told PDC.tv. “It’s going to come to an end one day but I’m still playing darts and banging heads with the best in the world, so overall I’m happy.”
Van Gerwen and Anderson’s dominance of the darting world is evident in the Premier League darts betting odds as third favourite Peter Wright is priced at 12/1, closely followed by Taylor at 16s and Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld at 22/1.
In what is expected to be one of the most competitive Premier Leagues of all time, there could be a six-player battle to join Anderson and Van Gerwen in the top four, with Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts favourites for relegation.
Klaasen is 2/1 to finish bottom, with Huybrechts favourite at 81/50, while Dave Chisnall and James Wade’s inconsistency could also see them dragged into a battle to avoid the drop, leaving them priced at 9/1 and 7/1 respectively to finish bottom of the pile.
Chisnall starts against Taylor in what is set to be the latter’s last Premier League campaign before retirement, with the 16-time world champion expected to win, possibly 7-3 at 13/2 or 7-4 at 5/1.
Huybrechts is 3/2 to start the opening night with a shock win over Wade, Van Barneveld is fancied to edge out Lewis at 17/20, while Wright is 3/5 to beat Klaasen by at least two clear legs in the final match of the night.