Premier League Darts returns as the new season gets underway in Aberdeen on Thursday, and we've picked out our best bets for the opening night.
The first stop on a 16-week tour of the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Germany is the all-new P&J Arena as 8,000 fans get set to raise the roof.
The 16th edition of Premier League Darts will feature nine of the world’s top stars, plus a further nine ‘Challengers’ for the opening nine nights, before the bottom player in the league table is eliminated.
The eight remaining players will then progress to the second phase of the competition to battle it out for the four play-off places at London’s O2 Arena in May.
Three Scottish stars are among a stellar opening night line-up as they aim to delight the partisan home crowd.
Here are our top betting tips for Night One of 2020 Premier League Darts in association with Live Darts…
Michael Smith to hit the most 180s
Michael Smith aims to put last Sunday’s Masters disappointment behind him when he takes on debutant Glen Durrant in the first match of the evening.
The 2019 world finalist warmed up for this event with a run to the final of The Masters, squandering three match darts to take the title, and will be desperate to get that early setback out of his system.
Three-time BDO World Champion Durrant enjoyed a remarkable first season as a PDC Tour Card holder, reaching three major Semi-Finals and picking up two ranking titles to earn his place in the Premier League.
Duzza and Smith forged their own rivalry in 2019, with Smith winning their Grand Slam Semi-Final before his post-match comments angered Durrant – who went on to gain his revenge in the Quarter-Finals of the Grand Slam.
Smith is renowned for his trademark scoring power, underlined by the fact he hit more 180s (55) than any other player in last year’s Premier League and four more (22) than any other player in the recent Masters.
Bully Boy offers value to top the maximum column against Duzza – who is better known for his 140 hitting and lethal finishing under pressure.
Gary Anderson to win
For once, Anderson may not be the most popular Scotsman to take to a Premier League stage north of the border, but the two-time champion will be set for a huge reception as he returns to this competition after missing last year’s edition through injury.
The 2011 and 2015 champion starts out against two-time major finalist Daryl Gurney, with the pair having won eight apiece and drawn one in an inseparable head-to-head record.
Anderson showed glimpses of his brilliant best in last weekend’s Masters, thrashing rival Gerwyn Price 10-2 with a 102 average before going down to eventual champion Wright in the Semi-Finals.
Gurney is making his third consecutive Premier League appearance, having enjoyed a fine run to the Semi-Finals last time around.
That was one of three major Semi-Final appearances for the world number seven last season, but after a below-par defeat to Dave Chisnall in The Masters, ‘Superchin’ will look to kick-start his campaign here.
Anderson boasts a fine record in Scottish venues in the Premier League, having won nine and drawn one of his last eleven matches in his homeland.
That record, coupled with his signs of improved form last weekend, point towards an Anderson win as the value selection in this one.
Nathan Aspinall to win
Premier League debutant Nathan Aspinall aims to spoil the party by denying John Henderson a winning homecoming at the P&J Live.
Aspinall was a Contender himself last year but has since shown he is fully worthy of a permanent spot and now has the unenviable task of silencing 8,000 partisan Scots in his quest for two points.
Henderson held Michael van Gerwen to a 6-6 draw in the nearby AECC last year, with his walk-on and performance proving to be one of the highlights of the season.
The world number 31 is now hoping to go one better and become the first ‘Challenger’ to win a match against a Premier League regular, but faces a tough test against one of the most consistent big stage performers.
Aspinall has reached the Semi-Finals of his last two TV tournaments, and his consistent all-round game could prove too hot for Hendo to handle.
The crowd will undoubtedly play a huge part in this one, but Aspinall’s unflappable temperament and clinical scoring power should see him take the spoils.
Peter Wright to win or draw
As per Premier League tradition, the opening night features a repeat of the World Championship final as Scotland welcomes home its new champion Peter Wright as he faces Michael van Gerwen.
Wright fulfilled his darting destiny with victory over Van Gerwen at Alexandra Palace on New Year’s Day to become World Champion and seemingly picked up from where he left off by claiming Masters glory last weekend.
The world number two appears a different animal having captured the winning formula with a new set of darts and is now unbeaten in his last ten televised matches.
Wright was runner-up to MVG in the 2017 Premier League, famously squandering six match darts, but now has the psychological upper-hand over his former nemesis.
Reigning and five-time Premier League champion Van Gerwen made a disappointing start to life with his new darts, losing to Jonny Clayton in Round One of The Masters, and it could be a few weeks before we see the very best of the Dutchman again.
Wright is brimming with confidence and knows exactly what it takes to get results against MVG in this competition, having beaten him twice in 2018. Don’t be surprised to see ‘Snakebite’ take at least a point from their latest encounter.
Gerwyn Price to win
Two players embarking on their third consecutive Premier League campaigns collide in the final match of the evening as Gerwyn Price faces Rob Cross.
After a nightmare debut season which saw him eliminated on Judgement Night, Price enjoyed a respectable fifth place last time out and will now aim to mount a serious quest for a top four spot.
The back-to-back Grand Slam champion has stormed to a career-high third in the Order of Merit to ensure an automatic pick this year after a landmark season which also saw him reach a further two major finals.
Question marks remain over Cross’ form coming into this event, having suffered a shock early exit to Kim Huybrechts at the World Championship before averaging just 83 in a 10-5 defeat to Adrian Lewis at The Masters.
Price has won four of the last five meetings between the two players, and on current form, is perhaps the best bet of the night to open his account for the season at the first time of asking.