When the Premier League was first introduced on the darts circuit in 2005, the prize pool was a measly £150,000 although eight years later and there will be £520,000 up for grabs in a tournament which gets bigger and better every time.
McCoy’s Crisps are now the high-profile sponsor of an event which has been dominated by Phil Taylor like so many other competitions and The Power is ready to defend his title against nine rivals over the next few months.
Taylor has won the Premier League on six of the past eight occasions and is clearly hard to oppose when you consider the Godfather of darts has recently won a 16th world title, with the bookies offering a best price 2/1 (William Hill) that the man from Stoke continues to dominate this tournament.
The format has changed a fair bit this year, with ten players now involved until the ninth week where the bottom two will be ‘relegated’ and leave the remaining eight to battle it out for a place in the finals at the O2 Arena.
There are three rookies who have been inducted into the Premier League this year and that includes Michael van Gerwen who had an astonishing 2012 which culminated in the Dutchman reaching the World Championship final before losing to Taylor.
Mighty Mike will be well-suited to the Premier League format and can be backed at 11/4 (bet365) to win the competition at his first attempt, with MVG having played the Power off the oche at Alexandra Palace before failing to sustain an amazing level throughout the final.
There are several other players that can go close and that includes two-time world champion Adrian Lewis who is becoming something of a veteran of the Premier League although Jackpot has made just one final since the competition started.
Lewis can clearly beat anyone when he’s on his game although the problem is that the 28-year-old lacks consistency and showed at the recent World Cup of Darts that he can blow hot and cold in equal measures.
As for Gary Anderson, the Scot won the Premier League in 2011 thanks to a crushing win over Jackpot in the final, although there’s always a nagging doubt that the flying Scotsman will crumble on his doubles under pressure. This happened when he played Raymond van Barneveld in the worlds and the outcome wasn’t pretty.
Barney appeared to be playing the sort of darts that would have won him the world title until an underwhelming performance from the Dutchman against Taylor although we know that RVB will be well supported everywhere he plays and he can be backed at 10/1 to win this.