The 10 names to contest the 2014 Premier League Darts were announced just after Michael van Gerwen was crowned world champion for the first time, and it’s fair to say there were plenty of talking points.
Not surprisingly, beaten finalist Peter Wright is included for the first time. Such is the nature of the Premier League, Wright is the sort of character who is ideal for this competition.
The selection of the 6 wild cards provided the main talking point. The qualifying criteria always seems to be a complicated process, and this year seems no different.
Premier League Darts Qualifying Criteria
The Premier League is now contested by 10 players over a 15 week period, with the bottom 2 players relegated out of the league at the end of Week 9’s fixtures. The play-offs and final are to played at The O2 in London on May 22nd.
The qualifying criteria is made up of the top 4 ranked players in the world, and a mixture of wildcards picked by the PDC and Sky TV.
The top 4 players in the world rankings are Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis and Simon Whitlock.
They are joined by 4 wildcards picked by the PDC, who are Peter Wright, Wes Newton, Robert Thornton and Dave Chisnall.
And finally, Sky TV’s 2 wildcard picks are Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld.
It has turned out to be quite a controversial selection, with James Wade and Andy Hamilton unceremoniously booted out of the 10, with Barry Hearn pointing to Wade’s medical issues as a reason for leaving him out.
In fairness to Wade, his medical issues didn’t stop him making the 1/4 finals of the World Championship, and I think he is quite justified in feeling bitterly disappointed to be left out.
Premier League Darts Betting
No surprise to find defending champion and new world champ, Michael van Gerwen is favourite with most bookmakers. The Dutchman is a best price of 2/1 with Boylesports, where he actually shares favouritism with Phil Taylor.
Most of the other bookies have van Gerwen at around the 6/4 to 7/4 mark, with Taylor coming in at 2/1. After that comes Adrian Lewis at a best price of 5/1 with Betfred.
It appears that the bookies have it down as a 3 horse race, because the next 7 in the betting are all 16/1 and above. Wes Newton is the outsider, he can be backed at 66/1 with Betfred.