At approximately quarter past seven this evening Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen will step out onto the oche at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens to duel for 26th time in the last decade.
The Power holds the head-to-head advantage with 15 wins to Mighty Mike’s nine, with their 2013 Premier League draw rounding out the ledger.
Of the nine finals they’ve contested during that period, the Stoke darter has the edge with six wins to three and, given he has yet to lose a final on this Blackpool stage, he looks the more attractive bet for victory at 17/20.
However, backing Taylor to end the tussle with the steeper three-dart average at identical fractions looks the cannier way to make bread with your dough here.
There is a school of thought that The Power is more about consistency than “wham, bam, thank you mam” scoring these days – not that his nine-darter against Michael Smith would suggest as much.
That he boasts the best three-dart numbers in the tournament with 103.1 would seem to bear that out and only once, during his one-sided beating of Wes Newton, has it dropped below three figures in his four outings in Blackpool.
While Taylor is down in fifth when it comes to maximums at the 2014 Matchplay he’s the king of the ton-40 swingers, further advertising this supposed tendency to err on the side of consistency over unsustainable fireworks.
His Dutch adversary on the other hand has averaged three figures for a match just once in the land of ‘Kiss Me Quick’, placing just fifth on the list of best oche-trip aggregates at the tournament.
Sign up at bwin.com for a £30 free bet that turns a £25.50 profit if Taylor wins the 17/20 battle of the means.