Over the past eight weeks, ten of the world’s best darts players have faced off at a variety of venues across the United Kingdom and Ireland with the aim of surviving first Judgement Night and then making the Play Offs in the PDC Premier League Darts competition.
This week, the players will gather at the Manchester Arena for the ninth week of fixtures; a night which has come to be one of the most exciting in darts.
As always, along with our analysis comes our betting tips. If you are looking for the best online UK bookie, why not try for a bullseye with Sky Bet? New players qualify for £20 in free Sky Bet sports bets when you wager just £5. Click the link to learn more about this UK offer.
Judgement Night fixtures
- Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
- Phil Taylor v Dave Chisnall
- Stephen Bunting v Kim Huybrechts
- Adrian Lewis v Peter Wright
- Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
The reason for this dramatic name is that two out of the ten players will be eliminated from the remainder of the tournament, while the remaining eight players will fight it out over the remaining six weeks of games to earn one of the four places available in the playoffs.
As we enter judgement night, five players have confirmed their place in the second phase of the tournament; Michael Van Gerwen, Gary Anderson, Phil Taylor, James Wade and perhaps the surprise player of the current Premier League tournament, Dave Chisnall.
The remaining five players, Stephen Bunting, Adrian Lewis, Raymond van Barneveld, Kim Huybrechts and Peter Wright all remain in danger of filling one of the two bottom spots, although the situation for some is far more precarious.
Huybrechts needing a miracle
Current standings (leg difference in brackets):
- Michael van Gerwen 14pts (+23)
- Gary Anderson 12pts (+14)
- Dave Chisnall 11pts (+14)
- James Wade 9pts (+8)
- Phil Taylor 9pts (+7)
- Stephen Bunting 6pts (-8)
- Peter Wright 6pts (-14)
- Raymond van Barneveld 5pts (-13)
- Adrian Lewis 5pts (-14)
- Kim Huybrechts 3pts (-17)
The person most likely to be eliminated is Belgian Kim Huybrechts. Although his record of just one win, one draw and six defeats doesn’t tell the whole story. Several times Huybrechts has ran into players in great form and he certainly deserves a few more points than he has currently earned. Huybrechts needs to beat Stephen Bunting and hope that both Adrian Lewis (who faces Peter Wright) and Raymond Van Barneveld (who takes on World Champion Gary Anderson) both lose by enough legs for him to overtake them both.
For van Barneveld (or Barney as he is affectionately known) and Adrian Lewis, the situation is equally complicated. If both players win, both will be safe (as Lewis will have beaten Peter Wright who is only one point ahead of the pair and so they will both leapfrog Wright and the Scotsman will be eliminated).
If they both draw, then either Lewis, van Barneveld or Stephen Bunting (if he loses his match to Kim Huybrechts) could be eliminated. If both lose, then most likely one will be eliminated on legs, although it is possible for Huybrechts to win and eliminate them both if results go his way.
For Wright and Bunting, a point will be enough for them to make it through into the next phase, although given how the tournament has gone thus far, that is by no means a certainty.
At the moment, it looks very much like Kim Huybrechts plus one from Lewis and van Barneveld who will be up for elimination and with van Barneveld facing an in-form current world champion in Gary Anderson, it is the Dutchman who faces the sternest test.
The remaining players still have plenty to play for
While the likes of Phil Taylor, James Wade, Dave Chisnall, Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen may be safe from elimination at this stage of the tournament, there is still plenty for the leaders, and players like Stephen Bunting and Peter Wright to be playing for.
With a gap of three points between Phil Taylor in 5th and Stephen Bunting in 6th, those in the bottom half of the table who will qualify for the second phase, will need that gap to Taylor and James Wade (both on 9 points) to close.
With six rounds of games in the second phase, players will play a total of 15 games, and there are a total of 12 points up for grabs for each player. With the likes of Bunting and Wright already three points adrift of fourth spot (the final spot to qualify for the play offs) they will not be wanting to enter the second phase of the event four or maybe five points behind a play off spot.
Of course, for the likes of van Gerwen, Anderson, Chisnall, Wade and Taylor, the race is now on to secure a spot in the play offs and with only four places available, they’ll want to keep winning to give themselves every chance of earning a place in the final stage of the competition.
What is interesting is that four of the top five in the group will play each other this week with Michael van Gerwen taking on James Wade and Dave Chisnall taking on Phil Taylor. The outcome of these games could well have a big impact on who eventually qualifies for the four places available in the playoff semi-finals.
Sky Bet UK betting tips for Judgement Night
Betting on the darts isn’t usually a particularly lucrative way of betting due to the fact that the favourites are usually heavily odds on, however punters have found that combining bets into accumulators can offer them a better chance of success.
So if I was to pick a winner from each of the five matches, I’d back the following.
Van Gerwen to beat James Wade (8/15), Phil Taylor to beat Dave Chisnall (1/2), Stephen Bunting to beat Kim Huybrechts (5/4), Peter Wright to beat Adrian Lewis (7/5) and Gary Anderson to beat Raymond van Barneveld (8/15).
A £10 fivefold bet on these five selections would return just over £180 for a successful bet.
If you prefer to bet on which player will win the tournament outright, then you can get 11/10 on Michael van Gerwen, 3/1 on Phil Taylor, 10/3 on Gary Anderson and the outsiders are Dave Chisnall (12/1) and James Wade (14/1).
Clearly of the bunch van Gerwen is the form player and as defending champion, he probably deserves his low price. However I think a better bet is Gary Anderson at 10/3. The Scotsman has progressed without hitting his very best form but still looks a formidable winner. Imbued with confidence following his World Championship victory earlier this year, his 10/3 odds looks the best bet of the bunch for me.