UPDATE: Gerwyn “Iceman” Price is out of the Premier League after testing positive for COVID-19. He is being replaced by World No. 4 James “The Machine” Wade.
The Unibet Premier League (airing on DAZN) is one of the highest profile events in the dart world each year. The format is this:
- Ten of the world’s best battle for a share of an $825,000 purse
- April 5 – April 9 are nights one through five. Players will compete against a different opponent each night.
- Each match consists of 12 legs of 501.
- The first player to reach 7 legs wins the match. If both players reach 6 legs a piece, the match is declared a draw.
When betting on the 2021 Unibet Premier League, here are a few considerations to take into account:
Two-way bets vs three-way bets
A two-way bet simply means you are picking one player to defeat the other. In the event of a draw, the initial stake is refunded, resulting in a push.
In three-way bets, you can select either player to win or the match to result in a draw. Meaning you only win on these bets if you select the correct outcome. Should you select Player 1 to win, but the match results in a draw, you would lose the initial stake.
You can see some of BetMGM’s Premier League offerings here (it’ll vary by state as to what you can wager on). If you want to try your hand at some of these, you can use this link to place a risk-free bet.
A 180 occurs when a player throws three consecutive darts in the treble 20, typically resulting in the caller and the crowd going wild!
The most common 180 bets are:
- Player to score the most 180s. Each player will have designated odds, and bettors select which individual player they believe will throw the most 180s.
- Match to score the most 180s. Each match between two players will have designated odds, and bettors will select which match up they believe will have the most 180s.
- Over/Under a total number of 180s. The book will post a number, for example over/under 29.5 180s. The total number of 180s is based on all five Premier League matches on a given day.
Will there be a 9 dart finish or Will there be a 170 checkout
- A 9 dart finish is a perfect leg of darts. There are several ways to achieve a 9 dart finish, but the most common method is seven treble 20s, one treble 19, and double 12.
- A 170 checkout, known as “the big fish,” is the highest check out possible. It occurs when a player leaves 170, and throws two treble 20s and a double bullseye.
The list of players competing in the 2021 Unibet Premier League are:
- World #1 Gerwyn “Iceman” Price
- World #2 Peter “Snakebite” Wright
- World #3 Michael “MVG” van Gerwen
- World #5 Rob “Voltage” Cross
- World #6 Gary “The Flying Scotsmen” Anderson
- World #9 Dmitri “The DreamMaker” van den Bergh
- World #10 Nathan “The Asp” Aspinall
- World #13 Glen “Duzza” Durrant
- World #15 Jose “The Special One” de Sousa
- World #17 Jonny “The Ferret” Clayton
After nine days of competition, the bottom two players in the league will be eliminated on Judgment Night. Following Judgment Night, the remaining eight players compete over seven more days of competition.
The Premier League will then conclude with the top four players competing against one another, 1 seed vs 4 seed, and 2 seed vs 3 seed.
I wrote a full primer on how to bet on darts in general, if you want some more in-depth information and background.
Premier League – Night 5 Predictions
Michael van Gerwen (-155) v. Nathan Aspinall
After spectacular performances in Nights 1 through 3, MVG really struggled yesterday, losing 3-7 to James Wade. In that match, van Gerwen posted a scoring average just under 91, only a single 180, and went 3 for 11 on checkouts. Historically these are not numbers for MVG, and the first three nights of the Premier League showcase this, as he averaged 100, 93, and 107.5 respectively.
Nathan Aspinall has looked solid throughout the first four nights of the Premier League, coming in at 2-1-1. In those matches though, he has yet to post a scoring average over 99. He also holds a losing record to MVG on in televised matches dating back through 2019.
Expecting Mighty Michael van Gerwen to bounce back from a rough outing on Thursday, secure a win, and solidify himself in the top four of the Premier League going into the second week.
Premier League – Night 4 Predictions
Jonny Clayton (-165) v. Rob Cross
Jonny “The Ferret” Clayton has been absolutely on fire to begin his 2021 campaign. He currently sits atop the Premier League standings alongside Michael van Gerwen and Dmitri van den Bergh. The Ferret has also won two Players Championships and the Ladbrokes Masters. He even recorded a perfect leg, his 2nd televised nine-dart finish yesterday!
Rob “Voltage” Cross currently sits 1-1-1 in the 2021 Premier League, suffering his first loss to Michael van Gerwen yesterday. Aside from his victory over James Wade on Tuesday, Voltage has been rather unimpressive to begin his 2021 campaign, with his best finish being a quarterfinal result in Players Championship 1.
Don’t overthink it; riding the hot hand on this one and locking in Jonny Clayton on the three-way line as he continues to dazzle from the oche.
Gary Anderson (-350) v. Glen Durrant
Glen “Duzza” Durrant has looked absolutely lost on the oche over the course of nights one through three, suffering 3-7 losses to Nathan Aspinall and Jonny Clayton, and a 0-7 whitewashing by Dmitri van den Bergh. In the loss to The DreamMaker yesterday, Duzza’s scoring average was under 85 and he went 0-15 on checkouts.
Gary “The Flying Scotsman” Anderson suffered his first Premier League defeat of this year, losing 4-7 to Peter Wright. Despite suffering his first loss, Anderson posted a scoring average of 99, and fired off a total of six 180s.
Anderson looked sharp in his loss to Snakebite, and Duzza Durrant has done nothing to indicate he is anywhere close to his 2020 form. Eating the juice on this one and locking in Gary Anderson on the three-way line. Consider adding this play as a potential parlay sweetener.
Player to score most 180s
Dmitri van den Bergh (+125) v. Peter Wright
In a highly anticipated match against two of the early favorites to win the 2021 Premier League, DreamMaker van den Bergh takes on Snakebite Wright in the first match of the day. I am locking van den Bergh to record more 180s thrown than Wright for a couple reasons.
Looking first at the results through three matches, Dmitri van den Bergh has recorded eleven 180s thrown compared to only four for Peter Wright. One reason for this disparity is Wright often times switches for treble 19 when scoring, whereas van den Bergh almost always attacks treble 20. I am also expecting a close contest in this match, meaning we should see more legs thrown between the players. A 7-5 result for either player, or a 6-6 draw, are the most likely scenarios in my opinion. More legs thrown obviously increases the likelihood of more 180s being thrown, and with more legs thrown I believe a slight edge exists for van den Bergh to record more 180s. Keep in mind this is a three-way bet.
Premier League – Night 3 Predictions
James Wade (-140) v. Nathan Aspinall
I like World No. 4 James “The Machine” Wade to bounce back after a dismal performance yesterday against Rob Cross, and secure his first win in the 2021 Premier League against World No. 10 Nathan “The Asp” Aspinall.
Both Wade and Aspinall suffered defeat on Tuesday, but each loss was for entirely different reasons. For Wade, it was due to poor scoring, as he only threw one 180 and five 140s, compared to three 180s and thirteen 140s thrown by his opponent. For Aspinall, it was poor check out percentage, as he went 5 for 18 on checkouts.
I expect The Machine to bounce back from his poor performance and significantly increase his scoring while maintaining a check out percentage greater than 35%. If he can do both of these things, he should be able to snag a victory against The Asp. Locking in Wade (-140) on the two-way line, securing our initial stake in the event of a draw.
Premier League – Night 2 Predictions
Jonny Clayton (-227 ) v. Glen Durrant
Jonny “The Ferret” Clayton dazzled in his Premier League debut, averaging 107 en route to a 6-6 draw with Peter “Snakebite” Wright. Clayton went 6 for 13 on checkouts, an improvement on which likely would’ve seen him victorious in his debut.
Duzza Durrant, on the other hand, averaged just under 88, and looked lost at times in a 3-7 defeat at the hands of Nathan Aspinall. Durrant is the reigning Premier League champion and can certainly win on the Premier League stage. But he has not looked the same since contracting COVID-19 one week following his 2020 Premier League victory.
Jonny Clayton has been on fire to start 2021, and he is slightly more than a 2-1 favorite to book a win against Durrant for a reason. I really like Clayton in this spot, and will be taking Clayton on the three-way line to attract a better price.
James Wade (-125) v. Rob Cross
World #4 James “The Machine” Wade was a late addition to this year’s Premier League, getting the nod to fill in for World #1 Gerwyn “Iceman” Price, who unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19 just before Night 1. Wade averaged slightly over 98 in his first match against Gary Anderson, a match that ended in a 6-6 draw. Despite the result, Wade was in control for the entire match, with Anderson never holding the lead and requiring a massive 156 checkout to secure the draw.
Rob “Voltage” Cross looked solid in his first match, notching a 6-6 draw with Jose “The Special One” de Sousa. In that match, Cross scored at a clip of 96.5 and shot 50$ on checkouts. These are fairly good numbers, especially for Cross, but I do not believe they will be enough to secure a victory over The Machine.
Taking Wade on the two-way line, expecting Wade to secure a win, but protecting our initial stake in the event these two draw.
Unibet Premier League Night 1 Predictions
Peter Wright (-130) v Jonny Clayton
Really like World No. 2 Peter “Snakebite” Wright at these odds versus World No. 17 Jonny “The Ferret” Clayton. This will be Snakebite’s 8th consecutive Premier League appearance. It will be The Ferret’s first appearance, a spot earned solely due to Clayton winning the 2021 Ladbrokes Masters. In ranked tournaments and majors dating back to 2015, Wright has never lost a match to Clayton, holding a 5-0 head to head record.
Clayton has been off to a hot start in 2021, winning the Ladbrokes Masters and Players Championship #4. He has also earned two runner up finishes, in Players Championships #1 and #2 respectively. Wright has also notched a win in 2021, however, winning Players Championship #8 on March 19 with an impressive 8-3 defeat of World #1 Gerwyn Price. Both are competing at a very high level early this season.
Peter Wright is rightfully considered one of the favorites to win the 2021 Premier League. I expect him to get off to a good start with a victory over Jonny Clayton on Night 1.
Glen Durrant (+155) v Nathan Aspinall
My upset special for Night 1 is World #13 Glen “Duzza” Durrant to defeat World #10 Nathan “The Asp” Aspinall. I like this pick for a couple of reasons.
Durrant is the current defending Premier League champion, having actually defeated Aspinall 11-8 to win the 2020 Premier League. Duzza has had a slow start to 2021, likely due in part to the fact he contracted COVID-19 earlier this year. Despite a slower start to 2021, Durrant notched a decent result in last month, reaching the quarter finals of Players Championship #3. Durrant admits he has been battling through a bit of a slump, but looks to draw inspiration from his very successful 2020 campaign going into this year’s Premier League title defense.
Aspinall has been rather inconsistent to begin his 2021 campaign. The Asp reached the semifinals for Players Championship #1 and #2. He followed these results up with first round losses in Players Championships #3, #4, #5, and #6, as well as a first round exit in the 2021 UK Open. In late January, Aspinall stated he made a drastic equipment change, switching from the darts he used en route to his 2020 Premier League finals appearance, opting for a more aggressive grip. This equipment change has likely played a factor in Aspinall’s early inconsistencies.
I believe Aspinall is overpriced at these current odds. On paper, this match is much closer to a coin flip than a (-200) vs (+155) matchup. Solid value on Durrant at these odds.
Match with most 180s thrown
Gerwyn Price v Gary Anderson (+275) Week 1 of the Premier League features an epic match up of World No. 1 Gerwyn “Iceman” Price vs. World No. 6 Gary “The Flying Scotsmen” Anderson. These two battled in the finals of the 2021 World Championship in January this year. In that matchup, which ultimately ended in a 7-3 victory by Price, these two players combined for 23 180s thrown. I consider these two players to be fairly evenly matched, and both to be contenders to win the 2021 Premier League. With this matchup being a rematch of a recently contested World Championship final, I expect both players to bring their A game in this one. Obviously the longer a match goes, the possibility for 180s thrown increases. And if this match is anything similar to the World Championship final we saw back in January, then look for an abundance of 180s thrown.
(Top photo: Luke Walker/Getty Images)