Premier League Darts 2018 Winner Odds & Predictions

New season starts with four players making their debuts

Michael van Gerwen

The new season of the Premier League of Darts starts on February 1st and this will be the first season without the retired Phil Taylor competing. It really is no surprise that Michael van Gerwen is the outright favourite to the tune of 8/11 with new tournament sponsors Unibet* (betting odds taken January 31st at 4:04 a.m.) he has, after all, won it for the last two seasons running. Will anyone be able to challenge the Dutchman’s dominance at the long event, which rewards consistency over the course of the season?

Reigning Champion

Michael van Gerwen had a battle on his hands to defend his title last year. He was pushed all the way to the wire by Scotland’s Peter Wright in the final, the Dutchman coming out in the deciding leg. It was a cracker of a final and really lived up to the hype. Wright had six darts to win the match and blew his chances, handing MVG a lifeline which the Dutchman took. That moved Van Gerwen on to three Premier League titles, just three behind the all-time leader Phil Taylor. He’s the one to beat without question.

Premier League 2018 Darts Winner Odds*

Michael van Gerwen 8/11, Rob Cross 7/2, Gary Anderson 6/1, Peter Wright 7/1, Raymond van Barneveld 25/1, Daryl Gurney 40/1, Mensur Suljovic 33/1, Michael Smith 50/1, Gerwyn Price 100/1, Simon Whitlock 150/1

Premier League Darts Format and Dates

The same format that was used last year will be back in action this season. Each player will face each of the other eight contestants over the first nine weeks and then at that stage, the bottom two in the table will get eliminated. Week 9 is dubbed Judgement Night because that is the last chance for players to avoid relegation.

Then Phase 2 of the tournament kicks in when over the following six weeks, each player will be the other seven players once. Some weeks there will be five matches played, some weeks there will be four matches. At the conclusion of that second stage of the tournament, the top four move ahead to the semi-finals which is just a straight knockout then.

Week 1 – February 1st in Dublin
Week 2 – February 8th in Cardiff
Week 3 – February 15th in Newcastle
Week 4 – February 22nd in Berlin
Week 5 – March 1st in Exeter
Week 6 – March 8th in Leeds
Week 7 – March 15th in Nottingham
Week 8 – March 22nd in Glasgow
Week 9 – March 29th in Belfast (Judgement night)

May 17th is Play-Offs and Finals Night hosted at The O2 Arena in London. For the first time in the history of the Premier League of Darts, there will be a round in Germany. That will be in week 4 in Berlin at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Qualification

At the conclusion of the preceding World Darts Championship, the top four on the PDC Order of Merit all got their spots at the tournament. They are joined by six wildcards, and for the first time ever they have been selected via joint decisions made by the PDC and Sky Sports. It used to be that the PDC would nominate four and Sky Sports two, this time they are working together.

Main Contenders

Michael van Gerwen is top dog in the game and after his recent Masters title, he has started the new year in positive fashion. He has been to the final in each of the last five Premier League seasons so is going to take some stopping again. The Premier League rewards those who can just churn it out week after week and Van Gerwen has proven he can do that. He lost just two matches last season on his way to winning the league and subsequently the title.

Rob Cross, after beating Phil Taylor in the final of the World Championships on January 1st has raised his stock. He knocked Van Gerwen out of the semi finals of the World’s too. He couldn’t get further than the quarter-final at the Masters recently in his debut there and the Premier League is pretty unforgiving. This will be the first season for Cross in the tournament and that will put him at a disadvantage and as amazing as the start of 2018 has been for him, he has a long way to go to prove his consistency.

Scottish Duo Peter Wright and Gary Anderson are worth a look. Wright was runner-up last year after a superb season while Anderson made the play offs too. Anderson has won the Premier League twice before, as recently as his 2015 success when he stopped Van Gerwen in the final. He’s not a bad option and he reached the semi finals of the Masters recently when MVG beat him.

Other Challengers

Raymond van Barneveld usually performs alright in the Premier League but never really look as if he is going to go all the way and win it. This will be his 13th appearance in the competitions and heads up the challengers. Gerwyn Price, Mensur Suljovic and Daryl Gurney all make their debuts in the Premier League alongside Cross. Of them, it would probably be Suljovic and Gurney who would be able to the make the most impact, as long as Gurney can hold his mental focus week to week and not have a meltdown. However Gerwyn Price, just because he will bring extra aggression to the table week in, week out makes a decent outside shot for a top four.

Relegation

Simon Whitlock is a bit of surprise name in the Premier League this season and he is the only player at odds-on to be relegated this season. He has five previous Premier league campaigns, qualifying for the Finals Night twice. His game isn’t really there at the moment though and he, along with Michael Smith who was ill-prepared for his first Premier League campaign in 2016, winning just one game, are prime relegation fodder.

Premier League darts Relegation odds*

Simon Whitlock 4/6, Gerwyn Price 11/10, Michael Smith 5/4, Mensur Suljovic 11/4, Daryl Gurney 72, Raymond van Barneveld 5/1, Peter Wright 20/1, Gary Anderson 25/1, Rob Cross 40/1, Michael van Gerwen 150/1

Premier League 2018 Darts Predictions

It is hard to look past Michael Van Gerwen here, even though he is going into the tournament as odds-on favourite at Unibet. Really the only one who will probably have the consistent kind of stamina to take him down would be Gary Anderson. The new season is stacked with new faces which does make things pretty exciting looking forward, but this is such a difficult competition for first timers and that has been seen recently with Kim Huybrechts failing to win a single match last season and Michael Smith won just once on his debut the year before. So basically stick with the proven experience.

Of the newcomers, who looks the best choice to make a run at the top four? Well, Daryl Gurney had a good year on tour in 2017 but there will be questions about his consistency. Gerwyn Price will bring a bit of pzazz to the weekly rounds through his aggression and presence, but the steadier hand of Suljovic could be the one, who, over the course of the season, gets the closest to breaking into the top four.