Well, what a great week we've had in darts. Actually, let me rephrase that: What a great week Mervyn King has had in darts.
Let's recap the Premier League results from the 18th.
Adrian Lewis 8, Raymond van Barneveld 3.
Will the real Barney please stand up? Now, it's not exactly fair to say that Lewis winning was a result of Barney being poor, far from it. In fact, Lewis averaged 105 to Barney's 99. But you have to wonder what the craic with Barney is. He didn't convince in his first match against James Wade, where he averaged around 6 points less, yet he still won. But let's not take anything away from Lewis. Adrian Lewis put up one of his finest televised performances to date and looked like the player he's always had the potential to be. He took out a couple of nice outs and didn't buckle under the pressure of closing out a great win.
Lewis looked a far superior player to Barney and the 14/1 @ Stan James and Blue Square is the best price available on the youngster from the Potteries. It's a very, very fair price on Lewis and you could do worse than have a few quid on him each-way, because if he continues to play like he did on Thursday, it will take a special performance to beat him.
Terry Jenkins 7, Simon Whitlock 7.
Simon Whitlock picked up his first point of his debut Premier League campaign, whilst Terry Jenkins picked up his second. Whitlock will feel like he should have won this, missing one dart for the match at double 16 and giving up a 7-5 lead. Jenkins fired in a 100 average, while Whitlock hit a 96, with both men taking out at least one 100+ finish. Jenkins' Premier League experience shone through at the end and this should be a good stepping stone for him with some difficult games coming up for him. Whitlock should have an easier couple of weeks and was unlucky to find Jenkins in the kind of form that helped him reach the final of this event in 2007.
Jenkins is priced up at a very big 33/1 with most of the major firms, so head on over to Stan James if you want a dabble on him at a fancy price for someone that's undefeated in the competition thus far.
Whitlock is still around 14/1, so check out Blue Square if you think the World Championship runner-up can find the form that took him to the final at the Ally Pally.
Phil Taylor 8, Ronnie Baxter 6.
Well, what can be said? Ronnie Baxter went 4-0 against Phil Taylor and still lost. Baxter is in his comeback season in the Premier League after a few years out in the wilderness and after a draw against Terry Jenkins, most people thought he would roll over for The Power. But no, Baxter averaged 96 and if it wasn't for missed doubles at crucial moments, the result could have been a lot different. Taylor averaged just below 100 and both men didn't take out a 100+ finish.
The result keeps Phil Taylor well at the head of the market @ 1/3 with Blue Square and Stan James and it might be a very fair price considering the fighting spirits Taylor's shown in the first two weeks of the season.
Baxter is a huge 100/1 with Stan James and Blue Square and considering he has the same amount of points as Simon Whitlock, yet is around 7-times the price of him (both have also played Phil Taylor), then the price does seem a bit ridiculous in comparison to Whitlock. Baxter can hopefully build on this, take some confidence out of it and more up the table.
Mervyn King 8, James Wade 4.
The start of a great few days for Mervyn King with a hard fought win over James Wade. The scoreline doesn't really reflect the match, as Wade has numerous chances to take legs that King won, but his average of 89 reflects the poor performance he put in. To be fair, King wasn't at his best and his A-game failed to turn up, with an average of 91. However, he hit the checkouts while Wade faltered and that's what darts is all about. The fact that there was only 5 180s in the match sums up how below their high standards both these big scorers were playing. However, King kept marching on with his great start to the year and, in the end, deserved the win that keeps him at the top of the Premier League.
King is now a deserved second favourite for the Premier League and you can snap up 9/1 @ Blue Square before it's all gone.
Wade really has looked poor in his first two Premier League matches and is now 12/1 across the board for the Premier League. Check out Stan James if you want to have a bet on him.
Stan James currently have a market up for the tournament “without Phil Taylor” and the current prices are:
King – 11/4
Barney – 100/30
Wade – 7/2
Lewis – 4/1
Whitlock – 4/1
Jenkins – 12/1
Baxter – 50/1
King is also 12/1 to win the league outright with Stan James. That doesn't mean he has to win the tournament, just the league stages. If he keeps up his form and can beat Taylor like he did in the semi-finals of the tournament last year, it could turn out to be a supremely huge price.