Michael Smith 6-7 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael Smith has confirmed his spot in the play-offs and comes into this match knowing that a point will ensure he finishes the league phase in second position.
Smith has won six of his last eight matches against Van Barneveld, including a 7-0 victory in their previous meeting during the 2018 Premier League season. Smith’s average of 103.2 in that match was his second highest of the campaign.
Despite not feeling 100%, he reached the semi-finals at the European Darts Grand Prix last weekend in Germany – his run came to an end with a 7-0 thumping at the hands of the eventual champion Michael van Gerwen.
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD
Raymond van Barneveld enters the final week of the league phase in sixth place. If he wins or draws this match he could finish fifth dependant on how Daryl Gurney fares later in the evening.
Barney has won three and drawn one of his last four Premier League matches, and during the last three weeks he has beaten both Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson.
His match average was over 100 during his 7-3 win over Gary Anderson last week – that was the third time he has recorded a ton-plus average in the 2018 Premier League season.
Michael Smith can relax now his place in the Premier League play-offs has been cemented. He has exceeded all expectations this season and will surely want to finish in second place, which would be guaranteed should he pick up at least a point from this encounter. Van Barneveld is finishing the season strongly despite not being in contention for the play-offs, and recent wins over Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson prove that he is more than a match for anyone in the league.
Smith has a decent recent record against Barney and defeated him 7-0 earlier on in the 2018 Premier League season. Although Van Barneveld will want to get some revenge, it seems that Smith enjoys playing against the Dutch legend and that extra confidence could just give the man from St Helens the edge.