Paul Nicholson cannot believe that Peter Wright goes into his Premier League clash with Michael van Gerwen as second favourite with the bookmakers and has backed Snakebite to down the world champion in Aberdeen.
Wright and Van Gerwen meet on the opening night of Premier League action at the new P&J Live venue in Aberdeen, in the headline act of the night.
It is a repeat of last month’s World Championship final which saw Snakebite down MVG 7-3 in stunning style to lift the world title for the first time.
The only tournament since then was the Masters, played last weekend, which saw Van Gerwen crash out in the first round at the hands of Jonny Clayton, while Wright went on to lift the trophy, beating Michael Smith in the final.
Given what has happened over the last couple of months, Nicholson, a former Players Championship winner, feels that Wright is the likely winner when they meet in Scotland.
‘The World Champion and new Masters winner is NOT favourite to win this best of 12-leg match. It seems almost wrong to write that, but that is the case,’ Nicholson wrote for Unibet.
‘After the performances of Snakebite in the last five-six weeks you have to think he is in the form of his life, and he definitely does not fear anyone, especially the world number one, Michael Van Gerwen, who he beat in the World Championship final little over a month back.
‘Michael is in the process of breaking in new darts for the first time in a decade, and this is a massive thing for MVG. He will have some defeats in the coming months but the supposed “crisis” that will come with this is grossly harsh in my view.
‘All he needs is time to settle with the new sharper tungsten in his fingers in matches and he will be buzzing sooner rather than later. However if you are looking for a punt in Week One, it has to be on the World Champion.’
Wright has not lost a match since November and is on a 10-game winning streak thanks to his triumphs at Alexandra Palace and again in Milton Keynes.
MVG was a long way below his best in his defeat to Clayton last Friday, averaging just 94.24 as he continues to get used to his new Winmau darts.
A clash with the world champion may not be the best time for him to keep testing his new arrows, with an uber-confident Wright ready to pounce on a struggling world number one.
Premier League Night One Fixtures
- Michael Smith vs Glen Durrant
- Gary Anderson vs Daryl Gurney
- Michael van Gerwen vs Peter Wright
- Nathan Aspinall vs John Henderson
- Gerwyn Price vs Rob Cross
Snakebite and Mighty Mike have played each other a whopping 79 times on the PDC circuit, dating back to 2009, with MVG winning 59 of them.
Wright may have only claimed 18 wins, with two games finishing in draws, but rarely will his confidence have been so high, compared to Van Gerwen’s, which is much more fragile than normal.