One of the grandest spectacles in professional darts is rapidly approaching its much-anticipated crescendo, as the PDC's Cazoo Premier League is just weeks away from crowning its winner for the 2022/2023 season. Across thirteen nights in 13 different cities so far, fans from as south as Brighton, as north as Aberdeen and as far east as Rotterdam and Berlin have been treated to astronomical averages and scintillating drama.
Boasting a talented field of eight darters - including four world champions like Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith - as well as fan-favourites like Nathan Aspinall and Jonny Clayton. Filling out the roster of players are the two debutants; Dimitri van den Bergh and Chris Dobey.
This year's competition also marks the second time it has followed the eight-person knockout tournament format, which sees a winner each night take home a bonus £10,000. Players who reach a semi-final finish receive two points towards the leaderboard, while the runner-up is awarded four points and the victor a total of five - all of which helps decide who finishes in the top four and qualifies for the play-off stage.
Ahead of the Premier League's visit to Manchester's AO Arena on 4 May, there have been six different winners. Yet this season has largely been dominated by two players - Gerwyn Prince (four wins) and Michael van Gerwen (three wins) - while 'The Ferret' Jonny Clayton and world number one Michael Smith have been victorious twice, with Chris Dobey and Nathan Aspinall winning one night respectively.
Two-time world champion 'Snakebite' Peter Wright has had an incredibly underwhelming campaign, who along with debutant Dimi, have not won one single night. The Scotsman has also only managed to win three actual games of darts this season, which is a lot less than the total number of sets he has thrown with in this year's competition.
With less than a handful of Premier League nights remaining, the play-off stage - which will be hosted at London's O2 Arena on 25 May - is looking much more clearer. Here is National World's prediction on who they think will not only qualify, but go on to win the £275,000 prize money, as well as the current live leaderboard.
Who is going to win the PDC's Cazoo Premier League Darts?
Bear with me right now, as right from the off I want to make it known that I am indeed Welsh and a massive Gerwyn Price fan. So while there will lay bias behind my prediction, I will simply start with the stats to back up why 'The Iceman' is not only the world's best player at the moment, but is rightly the favourite to win this year's Cazoo Premier League Darts competition.
An honour that has evaded him throughout his illustrious darts career, never once making the play-offs and he always seemed to never play to the standard that the PDC audience has come to expect from him. But in 2023, it is all very different from Gezzy, who has been dominating the European Tour, making the latter stages of most major competitions including the World Darts Championship, and playing his best darts ever.
The professional rugby player turned darting superstar looks to have finally got the metaphorical Premier League monkey off his back, as not only does Price lead the current standings with a league-high four night wins and 33 points, four ahead of last year's winner Michael van Gerwen, but he has recorded the highest three-dart average this season. With ice in his veins, Gerwyn Price posted a 115.97 average in his 6-2 win over Chris Dobey in Brighton on 13 April which remains as an individual's best Premier League performance since 2017.
Laura Turner, Professional darter and Sky Sports Analyst
This has never really been Price's event and he's never actually made it to the Play-Offs but this year he's storming it, he looks relaxed and he's enjoying himself. The outcome of that is that we're seeing these massive averages and he's making runs to the final and winning events
Even on the nights that Gezzy has not gone on to emerge victorious, he has more often than not made the final and it regularly required a barnstroming performance from his opponent to overcome his tidal wave of 180 hitting, ton-plus finishing and relentless Welsh dragon-esque roars of celebration. To name a few, The Iceman was toppled by Michael van Gerwen (94.40) in the final stage in Dublin, Nathan Aspinall (97.30) in Rotterdam and Michael Smith (104.86) in Leeds.
It definitely helps that a few of the contenders around him that are sure to qualify for the play off stage are starting to see their form tail off. 'The Green Machine' Mighty Michael van Gerwen is fresh off back-to-back first round exits, which includes a poor showing against Dimitri van den Bergh in front of his home crowd in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Worth noting promising up-and-comer Josh Rock's 7-0 whitewash of the Dutchman at the Austrian Dutch Open in Graz last month.
While Michael Smith is not showing the form that saw him win his first-ever world championship in January on a consistent basis, even though he is the biggest threat to the Welshman's maiden Premier League title hopes. Best not to underestimate his Wales World Cup of Darts teammate Jonny Clayton either, who I also feel is in a rich vein of form that will see him make a late push for that final play off position.
Cazoo Premier League Darts 2023 Play Off places prediction
- Gerwyn Price
- Michael van Gerwen
- Michael Smith
- Jonny Clayton
Ever since he roared on to the scene when he won his tour card at Q-School in 2014, Gerwyn Price has had a mightily successful nine years. It all started with the most controversial sporting final in history when he toppled Gary Anderson to win the Grand Slam in 2018, which the 38-year-old has since gone on to retain two more times in 2019 and 2021. The Welshman has also claimed a World Grand Prix triumph (2020), World Series of Darts (2020, 2022), World Cup of Darts (2020) and an historic World Darts Championship title during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021.
Yet the Premier League has always alluded his grasp, he's never managed to perform at good enough levels to win one and has never really been at his confident Valleys rugby lad best. This year is much different. Gerwyn Price is throwing world class darts on a regular basis no matter who he is pitted up against, he has a winners mentality and the grit and motivation to claim a PDC major that he has sought after his entire career - and I think he will do it.
Cazoo Premier League Darts 2023 leaderboard
- Gerwyn Price - 4 nights won, 157 legs won, +40 leg difference (33 points)
- Michael van Gerwen - 3 nights won, 139 legs won, +30 leg difference (29 points)
- Michael Smith - 2 nights won, 118 legs won, +4 leg difference (23 points)
- Nathan Aspinall - 1 night won, 110 legs won, -11 leg difference (22 points)
- Jonny Clayton - 2 nights won, 96 legs won, -11 leg difference (19 points)
- Dimitri van den Bergh - 0 nights won, 84 legs won, -11 leg difference (11 points)
- Chris Dobey - 1 night won, 73 legs won, -19 leg difference (10 points)
- Peter Wright - 0 nights won, 75 legs won, -22 leg difference (9 points)
Cazoo Premier League Darts 2023 - results and fixtures
- Night 1: 2 February, SSE Arena Belfast - Chris Dobey winner
- Night 2: 9 February, Cardiff International Arena - Gerwyn Price winner
- Night 3: 16 February, OVO Hydro Glasgow - Michael Smith winner
- Night 4: 23 February, 3Arena Dublin - Michael van Gerwen winner
- Night 5: 2 March, Westpoint Arena Exeter - Michael van Gerwen winner
- Night 6: 9 March, M&S Bank Arena Liverpool - Michael van Gerwen winner
- Night 7: 16 March, Motorpoint Arena Nottingham - Gerwyn Price winner
- Night 8: 23 March, Utilita Arena Newcastle - Gerwyn Price winner
- Night 9: 30 March, Mercedes-Benz Arena Berlin - Jonny Clayton winner
- Night 10: 6 April, Utilita Arena Birmingham - Jonny Clayton winner
- Night 11: 13 April, Brighton Centre - Gerwyn Price winner
- Night 12: 20 April, Rotterdam Ahoy - Nathan Aspinall winner
- Night 13: 27 April, First Direct Arena Leeds - Michael Smith winner
- Night 14: 4 May, AO Arena Manchester
- Night 15: 11 May, Utilita Arena Sheffield
- Night 16: 18 May, P&J Live Aberdeen
- Play Offs: 25 May, The O2 Arena London