Premier League Week 1 – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

Welcome to the 2023 Premier League, a journey spanning 17 weeks across Europe.

Each week unveils a unique mini-tournament, showcasing the prowess of 8 of the finest players, ensuring a regular source of delight for darts aficionados.

While the format may not resonate with every viewer and player, the Premier League stands tall as the PDC’s lucrative and consistent revenue stream throughout the spring, offering an intriguing betting landscape every week. The markets, predominantly centered around weekly winners, are entangled with the unfolding drama of PDC Players Championship events and Euro Tour stops at the weekend.

Adding an extra layer of excitement to this year’s proceedings is the debut of 17-year-old Luke Littler, promising to infuse a heightened level of engagement into the event. This comes at a time when the sport has reached unprecedented heights and will only be aided further by the Premier League narrative which spans over 4 months.

World Series averages should give us an idea of how much the field has been practicing lately and therefore will be included in the comments for this runner-by-runner guide for Week One.

Be sure to take advantage of our ‘Hit The Wire’ offer which provides you with 50% of your stake back as a free bet if your Week One winner selection loses in the final.

WEEK ONE WINNER

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Michael van Gerwen



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4/1 Gerwyn Price



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4/1 Luke Humphries



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4/1 Luke Littler



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6/1 Rob Cross



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10/1 Michael Smith



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14/1 Nathan Aspinall



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28/1 Peter Wright




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Michael van Gerwen
Michael van Gerwen descends upon Cardiff with a trail of incredible performances on the World Series tour including a grand-final defeat in Bahrain to Littler and overcoming the same player in the finals last week with a 100 average to go one better in his home country. His tournament average from Bahrain and Holland reads 99.07 which is more than enough to go close on Thursday and that’s why he’s favourite.

He’s someone who recently has been playing to the level of his opponent for good or for worse, and he has a fair draw this week with the first game being against the out of sorts Michael Smith before facing one of the Lukes in the semis.

Despite glowing results in 2024, a looming concern arises from the occasional errant shots towards the 1 and the 5, a flaw that has crept into his game in recent times. This was an issue when he fell to Scott Williams in the World Championship and I’m happy to go against him this week at the prices & the draw, despite his recent success.




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Gerwyn Price
My top pick to triumph in his Cardiff home leg is none other than the Iceman Gerwyn Price. While he hasn’t exactly been the standout performer in the World Series events this year, boasting a combined average of 94.7, his post-defeat social media posts tell a different story to what we’re used to.

Instead of negative comments scapegoating the crowd and stage conditions for his losses, there’s been a noticeable shift in tone lately. Price now exudes a more positive outlook on life, genuinely believing that he’s delivering high-quality darts and falling victim to unplayable performances from opponents.

Although those words are easy to say and it’s similar to how I feel on DartsCounter after missing 12 darts at double 1 and averaging 40, there does seem to be a level of passion at the moment from Price and recent comments go against the usual serial negativity seen in losses from times past and perhaps his mindset is turning a corner.

Let’s not forget that Price won at this venue last year when beating Aspinall in the final and he has the best draw out of the field tomorrow, where he starts off against Aspinall and then faces the winner of Wright/Cross, neither of which would be as concerning compared to facing van Gerwen or one of the Lukes. All signs point to a promising outing for Price on home turf and 4/1 is a strong bet using the ‘Hit The Wire’ offer which provides you with 50% of your stake back as a free bet if your Week One winner selection loses in the final which is especially appealing with Gerwyn’s draw.




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Luke Humphries
The recently crowned World Champion found himself unable to replicate Michael Smith’s swift Bahrain rebound in 2023. He lost to Gerwyn Price in the Bahrain quarter-finals and Luke Littler at the same stage in Holland last week with an average of 92.

Stepping into the Premier League arena for the first time, the question lingers: will the demanding travel schedule to venues like Barnsley, Leicester, and various European destinations take a tangible toll on his performance?

Luke won 1 Euro Tour event and 2 PC events in 2023 and the Premier League provides a different challenge to one he’s ever faced before. The first four weeks could prove vital for Cool Hand and I wouldn’t make him winning one from the first four events odds on after his slight dip in form lately since his mighty run towards the end of 2023. His World Series average slipped to 95.04 compared to his Alexandra Palace peaks of 103.50, 108.74, and 103.67. He’s still a class act but not one I’m willing to back with his price and draw against Luke The Nuke.




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Luke Littler

There’s not much unique insight I can add to the Littler story. 12 months ago he was a little-known child defying the odds in the Modus Super Series and bagging over 25 grand per time.

Not that anyone thought his WDC run was a fluke, but his Bahrain Darts Masters performance put to bed any signs of pressure and darting fatigue as he clocked in his maiden PDC seniors 9 darter with his first 9 darts of the tournament on route to claiming the title.

Littler, a cash cow not just for the PDC but for the entire world of darts, is shaping up to be the sport’s equivalent of a true icon. His impact was palpable in North London when capturing the imagination of the public and made the Alexandra Palace final the most-watched non-football event on Sky for the year.

Nothing seems to phase him and I’m not expecting a downgrade in performance due to his meteoric rise in the darting world which will require him to play nearly every day and fulfill seemingly endless media obligations.

His combined average from Bahrain and Holland is 98.4 which ironically includes a peak of 106.71 in his only defeat in 8 games in the final against Michael van Gerwen. He seemed a certainty to eventually break the darts and lead that final, but after missing 2 darts at D8 Michael never let him see the light of day.

He’s currently odds against with certain markets to beat Luke Humphries again in the final quarters, and I’ll be taking that.




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Rob Cross
Rob had a great end to 2023 and he’s someone who I think is potentially on the precipice of a real year-defining performance.

His World Championship journey had its highs and lows, showcasing moments of brilliance, particularly in the semi-finals against an unstoppable Littler when posting an impressive average of 102.77 with 10 180s

That was the darts equivalent of hitting the post a couple of times and since then he’s had a World Series average of 97.44 including a capitulation in averaging 98 against Raymond van Barneveld last week when trading at around 1/12 on many occasions when the doubles cost him.

He’s one to keep on the right side of in the spring and possibly to pick up an early Players title at a nice price, but not one to be backing this week.




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Michael Smith
The 2023 World Champion faced a dismal conclusion to the same year, finding himself eliminated in the group stage of the Grand Slam and failing to make the last 8 in all 5 of the last majors. His scoring has dropped off massively and there’s a chance he’s simply not been training the same since scratching the itch for a Sid Waddell trophy.

While a bounce-back seems inevitable given his talent and the format that suits his style, this week is not the opportune moment to back him. His World Series performances were nothing to shout about with an average of 93.4 and I’m sure we’ll know more about the state of his tungsten in a few weeks after a few Thursday outings and The Masters.




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Nathan Aspinall
The Asp has crept into World Number 4 thanks to his World Matchplay title of 2023 but has publicly stated he’s struggled with the release and positioning of his darts throughout the year.

Nathan’s form took a nosedive in the final months of 2023, culminating in a disappointing first-round exit at Ally Pally against Rapid Ricky Evans averaging just 90 which was part of an overall record that reads winning just 4 of his last 16 matches since the end of September. That kind of record must be one of the worst out of any No.4 player entering a Premier League season.

There have been glimpses of life lately including a stunning 100 average in Bahrain when defeated by Littler, but that was quickly rebuttled but his 88 average in defeat against Danny Noppert last week. He’s an unknown entity this year and I think it might take him a while to find his feet in the Premier League amidst self-doubts about his own technique.




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Peter Wright
I’ve massively felt for the lovable Scot lately after his dramatic decision to discard all of his trophies and previous darts which clearly don’t seem to be working as intended. However, that already appears to have backfired as seen by an 81 average in the Netherlands last week.

His head has been all over the place lately and there’s something not right with him that’s hindering his performance. 28/1 to win the night seems about right.

With that said, it doesn’t take much for Peter to fire back into gear so keep an eye on the weekend Players floor events and Euro Tours because once a few consecutive high 90s averages are flying in, a price like 28/1 will likely be unchanged for a short period before being shortened accordingly on Sunday/Monday. I do think he will sneak in a weekly win at some point.

LEWIS WILLIAMS

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Author: Eugene Morris