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Night nine predictions, betting tips, acca, order of play and Sky Sports TV time

Thursday March 30: Night nine

  • TV Coverage: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)
  • Format: Quarter-Finals, best of 11 legs
  • Venue: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin

Dimitri Van den Bergh (11/8) v Michael Smith (8/15)

  • Head to Head: 5-6 (TV: 3-2)
  • 2022/2023 Head to Head: 2-2 (TV: 1-2)
  • PL Average: 96.57 – 97.03
  • PL 180s per leg: 0.27 – 0.30
  • PL checkout percentage: 40.00% – 38.00%
  • Legs won with 100+ checkout: 10.0% – 15.38%

Michael Smith heads to Berlin on the back of two pointless Premier League weeks in which he lost to Chris Dobey on both occasions without playing too badly.

His hopes of bouncing back on the European Tour were dashed by an inspired Gerwyn Price, who averaged 110 in their third-round tussle in Leverkusen compared to Bully Boy’s 99 and only allowed him three darts at a double.

Smith has won both his Premier League battles with Dimitri Van den Bergh this season including the Glasgow final on night three when he averaged a stunning 109 to claim a 6-4 victory but he has only reached one final since then.

The world champion would have expected a greater return of points, finals and points by this stage of the campaign and he’s only three points better off than the Belgian, who only has five match wins to his name.

Apart from a run to the UK Open semi-finals, Van den Bergh hasn’t really sparkled in 2023 but his seasonal average in all competitions of 95.26 isn’t too much lower than Smith, who has enjoyed several rest weekends to try and freshen up after a hectic start to the year and a bout of illness.

Smith’s appearance at the European Darts Open suggests he’s coming the other side and he’ll be hungry to pick up some valuable points to consolidate his place in the top four and a final spot is on the cards.

Verdict: 4-6

Nathan Aspinall (4/5) v Chris Dobey (19/20)

  • Head to Head: 5-3 (TV: 2-1)
  • 2022/2023 Head to Head: 1-1 (TV: 1-1)
  • PL Average: 94.69 – 95.76
  • PL 180s per leg: 0.32 – 0.27
  • PL checkout percentage: 32.65% – 40.54%
  • Legs won with 100+ checkout: 14.06% – 15.0%

Chris Dobey has enjoyed a couple of good weeks in the Premier League following a five-night winless streak to get himself back in the play-off picture, so this clash with third-placed Nathan Aspinall is crucial.

They’ve beaten each other once in the Premier League this season with both matches finishing 6-4 and we can probably expect another closely-fought battle in Berlin.

Statistically their seasonal averages in all competitions are very similar – Aspinall’s is 95.51 compared to Dobey’s 95.13 – although the latter’s is slightly better in the Premier League.

The Asp, who was crushed 6-0 by MVG in the semi-finals last week following his narrow triumph over Dimitri Van den Bergh, missed the weekend’s action at the European Darts Trophy as Dobey suffered a disappointing second-round exit with an average of 80 against Danny Noppert – so you can’t really split them on ‘recent form’ either.

One metric we can probably expect there to be fireworks is the maximum count. Aspinall fired in seven during his 6-5 victory over VDB last week to take his maximum per leg ratio up to 0.32 while Dobey’s 0.27 isn’t too shabby either despite only managing four in 20 legs last week.

It’s 5/2 with Sky Bet about this match producing most 180s out of the quarter-finals and I think their combined firepower in a close match can overturn VDV v Smith (11/8), Wright v Price (9/4) and Clayton v MVG (5/1).

Verdict: 6-4

Jonny Clayton (9/4) v Michael van Gerwen (1/3)

  • Head to Head: 15-19 (TV: 12-11)
  • 2022/2023 Head to Head: 6-7 (TV: 6-5)
  • PL Average: 93.63 – 98.28
  • PL 180s per leg: 0.22 – 0.28
  • PL checkout percentage: 40.51% – 39.55%
  • Legs won with 100+ checkout: 6.37% – 9.43%

Jonny Clayton has one of the best head-to-head records against Michael van Gerwen on the circuit but the Dutchman has closed the gap in televised meetings to just one after winning all three Premier League battles this season.

They were all by pretty one-sided margins – 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 – and on current form, most darts fans will be expecting another comfortable victory for the defending champion in Berlin.

As MVG sits pretty at the top of the table with 25 points and three nightly ‘titles’, Clayton is second bottom with just seven points and has only managed four victories – and two of those game in one night.

The Ferret’s average of 93.63 is the lowest out of everyone and his general lack of scoring power means he’s only managed 116 attempts at double. Only Peter Wright has seen fewer than that with 90.

He only averaged 81 against Gerwyn Price last week and then suffered an early exit to Ryan Meikle on the European Tour, so it’d take quite a brave punter to bounce back him to stun van Gerwen.

Verdict: 3-6

Peter Wright (7/4) v Gerwyn Price (2/5)

  • Head to Head: 22-11, 1 draw (TV: 10-9, 1 draw)
  • 2022/2023 Head to Head: 3-2 (TV: 3-1)
  • PL Average: 93.74 – 95.64
  • PL 180s per leg: 0.20 – 0.29
  • PL checkout percentage: 36.66% – 38.73%
  • Legs won with 100+ checkout: 21.21% – 6.9%

Michael van Gerwen may well be top of the Premier League table but on current form, Gerwyn Price is top of the charts right now as he continues to enjoy a real purple patch in his season.

The Iceman took a while to get going this year despite winning the second night of Premier League but he’s now on a six-match winning streak in this competition and heads to Berlin on the back of winning a European Tour title in blockbuster fashion.

Fresh from averaging almost 115 in last week’s final against MVG, Price soared above three figures in his first four matches at the European Darts Open before holding his nerve in a thrilling clash with Dirk van Duijvenbode that went the distance. He took out a stunning 108 checkout after his opponent missed a match dart, before running away with the decider with a 12 darter.

Much of his resurgence must go down to how he’s won over the crowds in recent weeks and you can see how much he revels in the fans being much fairer to him – even if there are still a few pantomime boos here and there. A happy Price is a scintillating Price and the darting world should really embrace it.

Peter Wright, by contrast, is going through quite a worryingly long bad patch although his only victory in this competition came against Price back in week six.

He’s averaged under 90 in each of his last three matches, including a shock early exit to Ricardo Pietreczko on the European Tour on Saturday, and hasn’t gone above 95 since beating Stephen Bunting at the UK Open eight matches ago. His last 100+ average came way back on February 12 against Mensur Suljovic and he’s played 15 times since then.

The short format gives anyone a chance – and his 89 average against a below par MVG last week was enough to force a deciding leg. If Price is on his A-game then there’s only one winner based on what we’ve seen recently so Wright will need the Welshman to have an off day.

Verdict: 3-6