The 2020 Unibet Premier League gets underway on Thursday in Aberdeen, as Peter Wright makes his homecoming on what promises to be a special night for Scottish darts with Gary Anderson and John Henderson also returning to the big stage.
The Premier League roadshow will see nine of the world’s biggest stars go head-to-head across 17 nights of action, kicking off at the new P&J Live venue in front of 7,000 fans.
A highly-anticipated opening night will see newly-crowned World Champion Wright joined by fellow-Scottish stars Anderson, who will make his Premier League return, and Henderson, the first of nine Challengers.
Wright claimed World Championship glory on New Year’s Day at Alexandra Palace as he sensationally defeated Van Gerwen 7-3 to claim the Sid Waddell Trophy and take his mantle as World Champion.
The pair will renew rivalries on Wright’s home soil as the Scot eyes his maiden Premier League title to banish the demons from the infamous 2017 final which saw him miss six match darts for the title.
World number one Van Gerwen will be seeking immediate revenge for his World Championship defeat as the Dutchman opens his challenge to win an unprecedented fifth successive Premier League title.
Van Gerwen has dominated the competition since his debut in 2013, winning the league phase every year; a record he is determined to continue into 2020.
Wright arrives in Aberdeen as the underdog ahead of the clash with van Gerwen – who is Even Money to beat Wright and 9/10 with tournament sponsors Unibet to win a fifth consecutive Premier League of Darts Title.
Unibet Spokesperson Jack Milner: “Snakebite followed his Worlds’ success with an impressive defeat of Michael Smith last weekend in Milton Keynes, and will surely prove popular at 2/1 to frank the form with Mighty Mike in Aberdeen. Snakebite is 8/1 with Unibet to be ‘King of the Oche’ against the World Number One in Aberdeen and is 9/2 for a maiden Premier League success.”
2011 and 2015 Premier League Champion Anderson will make his Premier League return against Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney, with the Scot having missed last year’s campaign due to a back injury.
The two-time World Champion is firmly established as a Scottish sporting hero but the 49-year-old insists he still has the hunger for more titles.
Local hero Henderson famously lit up the old Aberdeen venue in 2019 with a spine-tingling walk-on followed by a thrilling 6-6 draw with Van Gerwen.
This year he will face UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall, who will be competing in his first full Premier League campaign, with over 7,000 fans set to pack the state-of-the-art venue.
The opening night will also see newcomer Glen Durrant play 2018 runner-up Michael Smith, while two-time Grand Slam Champion Gerwyn Price takes on last year’s runner-up Rob Cross.
The first nine nights of action will see a different Challenger in action, culminating in Judgement Night in Rotterdam on March 26 where the ninth-placed player will be eliminated.
Following Judgement Night, the remaining eight players meet once more in the remaining seven league nights in Belfast, Sheffield, Manchester, Berlin, Birmingham, Glasgow and Leeds.
The top four players then progress to face off for the title, and a £250,000 top prize, in the Play-Offs at The O2 in London on Thursday May 21.
2020 Unibet Premier League Night One
Thursday February 6
Aberdeen, P&J Live
Michael Smith v Glen Durrant
Gary Anderson v Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright
Nathan Aspinall v John Henderson
Gerwyn Price v Rob Cross
Michael Smith 27/20 – Draw 11/4 – Glen Durrant 13/8
Gary Anderson 11/10 – Draw 16/5 – Daryl Gurney 37/20
Michael Van Gerwen Evens – Draw 33/10 – Peter Wright 2/1
Nathan Aspinall 4/5 – Draw 10/3 – John Henderson 5/2
Gerwyn Price Evens – Draw 3/1 – Rob Cross 43/20
Price, Anderson and Aspinall all to win was 6/1 Now 7/1
MVG, Anderson and Aspinall all to win Was 13/2 Now 8/1
MVG, Anderson and Price all to win Was 7/1 Now 8/1
MVG, Aspinall, Anderson and Price all to win Was 12/1 Now 16/1
MVG, Smith, Aspinall, Anderson and Price all to win Was 33/1 Now 40/1
MVG, Durrant, Aspinall, Anderson and Price all to win Was 35/1 Now 40/1
Price, Durrant, Anderson, and MVG all to win Was 20/1 Now 25/1
Price, Smith, MVG and Anderson all to win Was 18/1 Now 20/1
King of the Oche
MVG and Anderson both to be King of the Oche Was 16/1 Now 18/1
MVG and Price both to be King of the Oche Was 18/1 Now 20/1
Anderson, Aspinall and Smith Most 180s Was 6/1 Now 7/1
MVG, Anderson and Smith Most 180s Was 13/2 Now 8/1
MVG, Cross and Anderson Most 180s Was 17/2 Now 10/1