The 2023 Premier League of Darts lineup has been officially announced and as expected it includes the winner of this year’s Darts Masters tournament that reached its conclusion on Sunday night in Milton Keynes.
That man happens to be Chris Dobey who had a brilliant weekend and deservedly won his first-ever major televised PDC title. Beating a rejuvenated Rob Cross 11-7 in the final, the 32-year-old from Bedlington beat the former world champion having also knocked out world number 1 Michael Smith in the semi-final.
By far the biggest title of Dobey’s career so far, he will now be joining the other seven players selected for this year’s event.
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We already knew that the top four on the PDC Order of Merit – Michael Smith, Peter Wright, Michael van Gerwen & Gerwyn Price – would be there. Following the conclusion of the Master’s tourney, the PDC have confirmed that the final three wildcard selections along with Dobey will be Jonny Clayton, Dimitri van den Bergh and Nathan Aspinall.
World number five Luke Humphries will feel incredibly hard done by not being selected while Joe Cullen has already taken to social media to voice his unhappiness. Rob Cross, on the other hand, had already dismissed the tournament and its grueling four-month-long weekly schedule insisting he would rather stay at home with his family.
17 Nights Of Action
The Premier League Darts gets underway for the first of 17 nights of action beginning on Thursday night at the SSE Arena in Belfast.
The tournament will retain the same format that it successfully introduced in 2022, meaning all eight players will compete each Thursday night from February through May in a knock-out style format before the top four players from the final league table progress to the play offs.
The famous Belfast venue last year saw Gerwyn Price hit two nine-dart finishes on the same night and now stages the opening night for the first time. Other February cities include Cardiff, Glasgow and Dublin.
March begins in Exeter before Liverpool takes a turn hosting the event at the M&S Bank Arena which will now take place on March 9 to avoid clashing with the Eurovision Song Contest which will be held at the same arena. There will also be events in March held in Nottingham, Newcastle and Berlin.
Birmingham, Brighton, Rotterdam, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, and Aberdeen will all host events, before the top four players in the season-long league table standings will qualify for the play offs held at London’s O2 Arena on the 25th of May.
The Darts Premier League table itself is decided by a series of mini-tournaments made up of weekly best of 11 legs quarter-finals, semi-finals, and a final with the following points up for grabs each night:
Winner: 5 points
Runner Up: 3 points
Semi Finalists: 2 points
Bet365 Darts Premier League Betting Tips Night One: Belfast
Things get underway as Dimitri van den Bergh marks his Premier League of Darts return with a clash against 2021 champion Jonny Clayton which sees the world number 11 face off against the world number 7. It’s The Ferret from South Wales that boasts the better head-to-head between these two, winning three of the last five meetings between the pair.
The Dream Maker from Belgium, on the other hand, was a surprise inclusion, especially given the omission of world number 5 Luke Humphries or world number 12 Joe Cullen, both of whom picked up title wins in 2022.
Dimitri lost 6-0 to Michael van Gerwen in their PDC World Championship semi-final last month and himself admitted that he was as surprised as anyone to be included in the Premier League eight. It is Clayton that is favoured to take the win in the first match of the night.
Dutch Revenge For Ally Pally Win
Next up, it’s the match of the night as the world number 1, Michael Smith, takes on Michael van Gerwen, the most successful darter still playing right now. Back at the Alexandra Palace just under a month ago, it was the Bully Boy who came out on top as he finally fulfilled his darting destiny and became world champion, even sinking a history-making nine-darter on the way.
He then followed that up with a Bahrain Masters title by beating Gerwyn Price in the final but looked unconvincing at last week’s Darts Masters where he was dismissed 11-7 by Chris Dobey.
Mighty Mike wasn’t exactly in top form himself and lost out to Rob Cross but, purely because he still knows how to win when playing badly, we are still backing the Dutch darts master to get the job done and get revenge for his PDC World Championship defeat.
Snakebite To See Off Debutant
The night’s third quarter-final sees Peter Wright take on Chris Dobey, the latter of whom will be making his Premier League debut. The pair have only met twice on previous occasions with Snakebite coming out on top both times.
Two-time World Champion Wright is currently ranked second in the world behind Smith, whereas Dobey is the world number 2. Of course, this means nothing on the night and Dobey should be on a real high having joined the ranks of the major winners less than a week ago.
At the Masters, Wright was knocked out by Cross in the semi-final stage but overall, he did impress in the tournament, beating Dave Chisnall and Clayton and his experience should shine through and allow him to make it three wins out of three against Hollywood.
In Belfast, Wright has the darts against newcomer Chris Dobey in the quarter-finals, and would also be throwing first against either Nathan Aspinall or Gerwyn Price, before playing whoever emerges from the top half, possibly Michael van Gerwen, in the final.
Fitter Price To Freeze The Asp
Last up is a match against Nathan Aspinall and Gerwyn Price. The Iceman took to his social media channels to declare himself feeling much better this week than he did seven days ago in Milton Keynes where sickness may or may not have been the reason behind his shock elimination at the hands of the Aubergenius that is Dirk van Duijvenbode in the Round of 16.
And although he didn’t enjoy the best of PDC World Championships either — even coming out to play with ear defenders on– he was looking much sharper at the recent Bahrain Masters last month.
It was here that he reached the final before repeating the feat in Copenhagen. The Asp, on the other hand, has lost three of his last four matches at the Masters, the PDC World Championships and the Players Championship respectively so backing the Welshman to win just makes sense.
MVG To Defend His Crown
As for the outright winner, a lot can change between now and May. Given MVG’s overall consistency, which cannot be said for Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith, you would have to favour six-time winner and the defending champion Michael van Gerwen.
As an “outsider” I think a case can be made for 2021 Premier League champion Jonny Clayton. Not only is he a former winner, but the Ferret topped the table 12 months ago.
It seems a long time ago, but neither Smith, Wright, Price nor the Iceman has ever once finished in the top four.
Clayton seemed to enjoy the new format last year going on to win four times during the season and at 9/1 with bet365 is definitely worth a punt.
Bet365 Darts Premier League Betting Odds Night One: Belfast
- Dimitri Van den Bergh (11/10) v (8/11) Jonny Clayton at 19:15
- Michael Smith (6/5) v (4/6) Michael van Gerwen at 19:45
- Peter Wright (4/9) v (7/4) Chris Dobey at 22:15
- Nathan Aspinall (6/4) v (8/15) Gerwyn Price at 20:45
Pete’s Darts Betting Tips
Dimitri van den Bergh v Jonny Clayton – Jonny Clayton to Win @ 8/11 with bet365
Michael Smith v Michael van Gerwen – Van Gerwen to Win & Pin the Most 180s @ was 3/1 now boosted to 10/3 with bet365
Peter Wright v Chris Dobey – Wright to Win @ 4/9 with bet365
Nathan Aspinall v Gerwyn Price – Price to Win @ 8/15 at bet365
2023 bet365 Premier League Darts Outright Odds
- Michael van Gerwen @ 9/4 with bet365
- Michael Smith @ 10/3 bet365
- Gerwyn Price @ 4/1 with bet365
- Peter Wright @ 5/1 with bet365
- Jonny Clayton @ 9/1 with bet365
- Nathan Aspinall @ 14/1 with bet365
- Dimitri van den Bergh @ 14/1 with bet365
- Chris Dobey @ 22/1 with bet365
2023 Premier League Darts Schedule
- Night 1 – The SSE Arena, Belfast – Thursday February 2
- Night 2 – Cardiff International Arena – Thursday February 9
- Night 3 – OVO Hydro, Glasgow – Thursday February 16
- Night 4 – 3Arena, Dublin – Thursday February 23
- Night 5 – Westpoint Exeter – Thursday March 2
- Night 6 – M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool – Thursday March 9
- Night 7 – Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham – Thursday March 16
- Night 8 – Utilita Arena, Newcastle – Thursday March 23
- Night 9 – Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin – Thursday March 30
- Night 10 – Utilita Arena, Birmingham – Thursday April 6
- Night 11 – The Brighton Centre – Thursday April 13
- Night 12 – Rotterdam Ahoy – Thursday April 20
- Night 13 – First Direct Arena, Leeds – Thursday April 27
- Night 14 – AO Arena, Manchester – Thursday May 4
- Night 15 – Utilita Arena, Sheffield – Thursday May 11
- Night 16 – P&J Live, Aberdeen – Thursday May 18
- Play Offs – The O2, London – Thursday May 25
QUICK GLANCE AT THE 2023 PREMIER LEAGUE OF DARTS NIGHT ONE
Venue: The SSE Arena, Belfast
Dates: Thursday February 2nd
Format: Best of 11 legs
Current Champion: Michael van Gerwen
Where To Watch: Sky Sports Main Event HD & Sky Sports Arena HD
When To Watch: 19:00 UKRead More