2017 Premier League Darts preview: Outright odds, underdogs and returning arrowsmiths
Holly Thackeray | 14 January 2017
2017 Premier League Darts preview
No sooner has the 2017 PDC World Championship come to a close, than we are already warming up to see the best and brightest compete for another major piece of silverware – the 2017 Premier League Darts.
The top tungsten action begins on Thursday, February 2 at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena and keeps fans enthralled for just over three months until Finals Night play-offs at the O2 in London on Thursday, May 18.
Can’t wait for this to get started? Neither can we.
So, read on for Coral darts writers’ early 2017 Premier League Darts preview, including outright odds, underdogs and a line-up reshuffle for the PDC pack…
For those who fell in love with arrow action over the festive break, PL Darts is just how it sounds, as 10 elite stars compete in a league format with the bottom two players eliminated after a Phase One in which they battle every opponent once.
Phase Two is much the same, with the remaining eight arrowsmiths duelling for a further six weeks, at the end of which the top four progress to contest the play-offs on Finals Night.
With the bar set high following a thrilling PDC Worlds, expect edge-of-your-seat action every Thursday evening, in the 13th edition of the Premier League. Every point picked up, or dropped, can count.
Michael van Gerwen odds and outrights
It makes sense to start with the pre-tournament favourites, as the weekly draw has yet to be done.
Michael van Gerwen odds for the Dutchman to defend his 2016 title are 8/15 with Coral, which is reasonable as the world number one is fresh from bagging his second PDC World Championship trophy.
Mighty Mike made mincemeat of both Adrian Lewis and Phil Taylor on Finals Night last year and also smashed the record for a televised average with 123.40 as he destroyed Michael Smith 7-1 on Night Four.
But, after being anointed world champion again plus lifting an incredible eight other PDC Premier Events across 2016 as well as other televised tournaments, will MVG have finally run out of steam?
As juggernaut Van Gerwen holds all 11 seven PDC major ranking titles, few would bet against him, though there is value in the market.
At this point, two-time PL winner Gary Anderson, who saw illness impede his last defence of this title, looks the best to back as a rival for MvG at 5/1 for his third success.
The Flying Scotsman was recently dethroned as world champion, so should be fired up to take back this silverware from the green machine’s clutches.
It’s still strange to ever dub all-time arrow great Phil Taylor as an underdog, but that is exactly what last year’s losing finalist and six-time Premier League champ is.
After a slip in his very high standards, The Power is long at 10/1 in his first year of being included in the PL as a wildcard instead of an automatic qualifier from the top four of the PDC Order of Merit.
Still, nothing prickles The Power like talk he is on the way out, and he’s always still there abouts in big tournaments.
Peter Wright, meanwhile, may be ranked number three in the world, but is famously still yet to lift a major. Snakebite is knocking on the door, so can the PL format reward him this time around? Odds of 10/1 say so. While, increasingly impressive Dave Chisnall is in the same title-chasing position and is a 25/1 shout to finally clinch a big honour.
Elsewhere, punters can opt for 2014 winner Raymond van Barneveld at 33/1 after his impressive Worlds run, 2009 champion James Wade (also 33/1), or 2011 runner-up Adrian Lewis (25/1).
Familiar faces return to Premier League trail
There are two fresh faces in the tournament this year too, or rather returning ones, as both Kim Huybrechts and Jelle Klaasen have been here before.
After poor showings in 2016, Robert Thornton and Michael Smith have dropped out, with The Hurricane and The Cobra parachuted in as two of the four PDC wildcard picks.
Huybrechts, 13th in the PDC Order of Merit, is capable of pulling off a shock on his day, with great records against big-guns such as Barney and the experience to take on this tournament challenge.
The Belgian is a rank outsider at 100/1 in the outright market, though, as his best-ever PL finish has been rock-bottom 10th.
While, Klaasen has put in some classy recent performances, such as reaching the 2016 semi-finals of the UK Open, and could surprise. One of three Dutch dartsmen in the Premier League The Cobra, whose best previous finish was seventh, is rated a shorter 66/1 to strike.
On the map
What makes Premier League Darts different than any other competition in the sport is the travelling party atmosphere, as fans across the country and beyond get to see their oche heroes with each week boasting a new destination and venue.
From Manchester, Dublin and Cardiff and even all the way to Rotterdam, Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and co take the PDC show on the road.
See our week-by-week list below to find out where you can catch your favourite darts stars every Thursday of the tournament. But be quick and snap those tickets up quickly!
Night 1: February 2, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle.
Night 2: February 9, Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham.
Night 3: February 16, First Direct Arena, Leeds.
Night 4: February 23, Brighton Centre, Brighton.
Night 5: March 2, Westpoint Arena, Exeter.
Night 6: March 9, The SSE Hydro, Glasgow.
Night 7: March 16, Ahoy Rotterdam, Rotterdam.
Night 8: March 23, Manchester Arena, Manchester.
Night 9: March 30, Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, Cardiff.
Night 10: April 6, 3Arena, Dublin.
Night 11: April 13, Echo Arena Liverpool, Liverpool.
Night 12: April 20, SSE Arena Belfast, Belfast.
Night 13: April 27, Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham.
Night 14: May 4, Sheffield Arena, Sheffield.
Night 15: May 11, GE Oil and Gas Arena, Aberdeen.
Night 16: May 18, The O2, London.