Thursday, 19 July 2018

Matchplay bets

Let's look game by game in running order:

Lewis/Wilson - Only conceivable bet here is on James with the market making this around 75/25. Lewis has a bit of a lead in terms of averages, but it's mainly due to the ones he's lost - on the legs they've both won they're pretty similar, although Lewis has more on a better clip of 58% won compared to 53%. Wilson's been knocking on the door this year though - four quarters and a semi isn't bad form at all. Seems like a value bet, i.e. one that we make even though it'll probably lose, although likely not as often as the market suggests - 0.25u Wilson 31/10

Chisnall/Brown - This is one where psychology might come into it given Brown's head to head record. Their respective won/loss records are very similar but Chizzy's doing both sides much better than Brown is. A line of 70/30 doesn't look too far off where things are at, there might be tiny value in Keegan but I'm thinking to avoid it.

van Gerwen/de Zwaan - Jeffrey has done it over this distance and over this opponent this year. It's a question of whether van Gerwen will want the revenge win, which he usually does, this could easily end up being 10-1, 10-2 if he wants it to be. de Zwaan's cooled off a little bit since winning that title, which removes any tiny edge I think there might have been.

Smith/Clayton - A standout tie of the round, Smith's fresh off of a TV title (albeit about the most worthless one available) while Clayton's got a Euro Tour win and is playing at a better level than he's ever done. Smith should win this but Clayton is not without chances, albeit the chances look to be at around exactly what the market thinks, so nothing here.

Webster/Lennon - Closest game in the market so far, which has it with Webster a shade over 60%, I've got it a bit tighter but it's always hard to say how a player will do on debut at a venue, although that didn't seem to be a problem at the worlds for Steve. I'm thinking the experience of Darren could come into play here just enough for this not to be a bet, should be an entertaining game regardless.

White/Hopp - Ian's finally got the Hopp hoodoo off of him, and that should be enough. White's floor game is one of the best in the whole PDC this season, and despite Hopp having claimed that Euro title, his numbers simply are not convincing, this looks like a great spot for the English veteran - 1u White 8/15

Price/Cullen - Bookies have this one even. How will Price's injury hold up over a longer game? It's a good question, I've got the two of them evenly matched, with Price having the slight edge - assuming both are 100%, that brings in enough uncertainty. It might even be a Cullen bet if you must bet - if Price is going to win then you would think he'd have to get it early rather than let Cullen hang around, and Cullen is certainly good enough to do so.

Gurney/West - Line looks plumb here. I've got West at 32% and he's 9/4. It's probably underrating West and overrating Gurney as there is a large consistency differential (Gurney's losing average is over six points lower than his winning average, West's is only about two and a half), but I'm not sure that West will be able to put in enough quality legs to get through this one.

Suljovic/Beaton - Mensur's rated at more than 3/1 on, which seems really high to me. Beaton picked up a bit of form in the last events going in with two semi finals, Beaton has beaten Mensur every single time (although most of these games are really old and not relevant), and the projections have this quite close - that said, the projections don't take into account Suljovic averaging two points more in the legs he's lost than the legs he's won. He's really been on the end of having his opponents nick legs where he's been in good spots to take it, we saw that in the Premier League as well. I'm going to trust the model small with 0.25u Beaton 17/5, but I don't think our edge is anywhere near as large as what the numbers state for reasons mentioned above - they probably don't translate to Mensur winning nearly 80% of the time though.

Anderson/Bunting - Line looks alright here. Ando's rated in the very high 70%'s on the market, which is a bit too short for me to consider, looking at Bunting I don't think he can bring the good legs that he has shown on and off throughout the season quite enough to beat someone of Anderson's quality over a race to 10. It could happen but I'm not going to put money on it.

Cross/King - A similar line here, which looks close to perfect - I'm getting Cross at 75% which is offering little in value. Maybe King has a shot, 7/2's a big number in a two horse race when you add in he's won a tournament for the first time in ages, but I'm struggling to call this value, Cross is playing better than the amount of titles he's won suggests.

van Barneveld/Anderson - Really hard game to read because Barney's played next to none of the circuit again, we don't even have any World Series exbos outside of the one in Germany to look at. The model is making Anderson a slight favourite - Barney's scoring a lot more in losing legs but they're extremely even in every other aspect, although Barney is on an extremely limited sample (every other player here has won three times more ranking legs than he has). I'm tempted by another small nibble, Anderson's not really lit the stage up this season but he is certainly live here, 0.25u Anderson 19/10.

Huybrechts/Henderson - A fairly close game on the market, the stats of these two look very alike with Hendo having small edges in most areas. Huybrechts will be under pressure to break the god awful run he has had on TV of recent (outside of the UK Open in any event), while Henderson's under a bit less pressure. John's going to have to throw well, but it doesn't take much for Kim to go missing either and help him out - 0.25u Henderson 7/5

Whitlock/North - Richard was the last one in and it's hard to really recommend anything here, even despite Whitlock having been really quite average since the first 2-3 weeks of the Premier League, although he did reach the final in Copenhagen fairly recently. North's only had one really good run this year and that was four months ago at this stage, I've got things closer than the bookies suggest but I just can't see North getting home.

Wade/Wattimena - 2/5 Wade seems a bit short given the form that Jermaine has been showing, but I've said a few times that Jermaine has got quite a lot of wins through just taking what's been given, something that Wade's an expert at and this seems like a really awful match stylistically for the Machine Gun, factor in that James has now been chucking in some good five visit legs with more regularity and the line makes more sense, the model has it at around 70/30 so nothing of value here.

Wright/Klaasen - Can't see any way for Jelle to win this. His pattern in many games has been to look OK to decent for 5-6 legs then fall away. Against weaker players in a race to six he might be able to get home, if he leads Wright 3-2 at the first break he'll still need another seven legs. Even at 2/9 this is closer to a Wright play than a Klaasen play, although it's the sort where I think a fairer line is 1/5, so I'd just add this into an accumulator if you're having one and you can't go wrong.

And that's the lot. Usual White play and then four underdog punts of differing degrees, let us gogogo.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Projections done

Just posted this up on Twitter. Make of it what you will. Needless to say that the model loving White and hating Suljovic due to White being really good and Suljovic running incredibly cold in ranked events as far as stats are concerned makes White look incredible given that they're in the same section of the draw. Will post up some bets later in the week for the individual games, but if you like an each way punt, I really do think you could do a lot worse than go with Smith at a widely available 33's, or White at widely available 100's (125 on Stars but I'll be damned if that useless site gets a cent of my hard earned cash).

edit - It's actually a bit unclear on the actual format of round two, I've seen both a race to 11 and a race to 13. These are based on a race to 13, but it's not going to alter the projections more than a fraction of a percentage

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Matchplay initial stats and thoughts

Some initial early level stats for you. The draw was made on Thursday, so just the 24 hours after it was initially reported to be done, I'd assume the PDC are still within SLA's on that one. The stats should speak for themselves, as ever I'm calculating the averages per turn, not three times per dart, the total line is summing everything for those players in the Matchplay, it's not a PDC-wide or full database stat. The quality leg ratio is something that I've done before - it basically assigns you a point if you finish a leg within fifteen darts, three points if you finish a leg in twelve darts, and then takes a point away if you don't finish within eighteen darts, and it's the number of points a player is getting every 100 legs won. Finish every leg in bang on 15, score 100 on this.

So what of the draw? First thing is that top half looks unbelievably stacked. You've got Lewis as a 16 seed, the top three ranked players from the Pro Tour, Smith as the 9 seed, Anderson and Barney in one eighth of it... whoever comes through this half is going to have earned it.

Looking game by game, van Gerwen/de Zwaan is immediately interesting on account de Zwaan having knocked van Gerwen out of the previous major over a length of match that is the same as what the Matchplay is. I've just shoved their names into the master computer and it's reckoning that de Zwaan would win a best of eleven 24% of the time, obviously that will go down over a longer match, but a possible path of de Zwaan, Lewis, Smith and Anderson just to reach the final really doesn't make me want to pile in at odds on for van Gerwen to win the title (at the best odds, I wouldn't touch the 4/6 offered in some places with a barge pole). Lewis/Wilson could be an interesting one if Wilson can bring his best game, they've played once this year (in the Pro Tour where Lewis lost to Mansell in the final) with Lewis extending the head to head to 3-0, but if Lewis keeps playing the way he has been doing of late he should be fine. Remember it was this event last year where he had his only real good run of the season.

Chisnall/Brown I think is one of the games where it's most likely the seed goes out, although Keegan would need to overcome a comical 0-11 head to head record against Dave, but some of these have been close - the last two being deciding legs (earlier this year on the Pro Tour, but then back to 2016), a 11-13 turnover in the second round of this event in 2015 and that 14-16 loss in the Slam in 2014. Smith/Clayton's another interesting one, Smith should be the stronger player and Clayton can think himself unlucky that he didn't get an easier draw as I think he'd be very much live against a lot of the weaker seeds, they've not played this year, the last meeting coming the week after Clayton won his first title, but Smith's won every match to date.

Gurney/West is a tricky one potentially, West won the last match in Gibraltar 6-1 but Gurney easily won the only TV meeting in Dublin 16, West having the old beat Phil then go out next round ├╝berbok go against him. Price/Cullen if I recall rightly was the closest match at the bookies (let's check, I do, it's a flip and only two or three more are as close as 1/2 for the favourite), they've split their series this year but both went to deciders, Price nicking the semi in Austria where he lost to Clayton in the final. If it stays close will the injury become a factor?

Anderson/Bunting has the potential to be good if we get good Bunting show up, Ando's had a bit of time off so it's always hard to call how he'll play, but despite them seemingly playing every week in the first two years after Bunting moved over, including Anderson winning 13-8 at Blackpool, they've not met since 2015. Barney/Anderson is an even tougher one, with Raymond playing even less than Gary does to the point where he's now dropped out of the FRH top 20, he's won the last four head to head including at the last worlds and Grand Prix but is only 6-5 all time.

Wright/Klaasen is first up in the bottom half and this seems like the worst possible draw for Jelle, he really, really needed to find someone who'll take legs off so that he has a chance when he inevitably throws duds himself, that Wright's on an 11 game winning streak against the Cobra is ominous. Huybrechts/Henderson could be good, both liking a 180 and both capable of widely varying outcomes, they've never played on TV but Hendo has a 9-3 head to head lead, including six from the last seven.

Whitlock/North could be one to miss, Simon's not been doing that great statistically all year, while North was the last man in. North won their first two meetings last year but then went out pretty easily in round two in Dublin. Wade/Wattimena could go any way really, if Jermaine shows up then he could grab a lead, if we get the Jermaine doing a bunch of legs needing six visits to win, then Wade could just do Wade things and get 8-2 up at the second break or something like that. Wade's got a 2-1 lead but it's their first meeting that isn't on the floor.

Suljovic/Beaton was looking like it could have been a bit one sided, but Steve's got a little bit of form back of late. Then again, Mensur did get another Euro Tour win recently. Their head to head record is a bit shocking - while most of it is back nearly a decade ago from the days when they had Pro Tour events on the continent, Beaton leads 8-0! The winner will play one from White/Hopp, this looks like a good spot for White to make a run and push for a Premier League place in this match between players with ranking titles to their name this season, that said, before last weekend White had never beaten Hopp, losing their first five meetings, and how Hopp will react in his first major after finally winning a title remains to be seen.

The remaining section has Cross/King, with King getting his first title in years recently, giving him the same number this season as Cross, but Rob's quietly been putting together good numbers without getting quite the results to show for it, so I'd have thought that Cross should outlast the guy he beat to win his first main tour title. Then again, King's won the two matches they've played at the highest level they've met (the European Tour), including the one in Denmark just two weeks ago. Last match is Webster/Lennon, Steve's managed to battle to the level where he can get in these things, so he's not under immediate pressure to win stuff to maintain a ranking, whereas Webster's just got into the seedings and could do with a run if possible. The market has this pretty close, and if they've met before, it's only the once and dartsdatabase can't find a thing.

Over the next week I'll start doing some proper previews, rework the master computer to calculate Matchplay-length matches, use those projections to get some bink the whole thing percentages, all the usual stuff. We've only got some meaningless World Series stuff which we can safely ignore (the important bit of Jeff Smith qualifying for the worlds aside), and I've got the day after the semi final off which I can put to good use for that. Be back soon.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Matchplay field - what's being defended

It's of interest to some people I guess, while the FRH rankings have everyone defending, at most, four grand due to their sliding scale compared to the PDC good for two years then drop off a cliff, it may be useful for some to see what's at stake, so here we go in order of qualification:

Michael van Gerwen - title (100k)
Peter Wright - QF (17.5k)
Rob Cross - DNP
Gary Anderson - SF (27k)
Daryl Gurney - L32 (6k)
Mensur Suljovic - L16 (10k)
Simon Whitlock - L32 (6k)
Dave Chisnall - QF (17.5k)
Michael Smith - L16 (10k)
James Wade - L32 (6k)
Ian White - L16 (10k)
Gerwyn Price - L16 (10k)
Raymond van Barneveld - L32 (6k)
Darren Webster - DNP
Kim Huybrechts - L32 (6k)
Adrian Lewis - SF (27k)

Jonny Clayton - DNP
Joe Cullen - L32 (6k)
Stephen Bunting - L32 (6k)
Max Hopp - DNP
Mervyn King - QF (17.5k)
Jermaine Wattimena - DNP
Steve West - DNP
Steve Beaton - QF (17.5k)
Kyle Anderson - L16 (10k)
James Wilson - DNP
John Henderson - DNP
Keegan Brown - DNP
Jelle Klaasen - L32 (6k)
Steve Lennon - DNP
Jeffrey de Zwaan - DNP
Richard North - DNP

So only 20 players are actually defending cash, that's a fair bit of churn. Those that aren't here to defend, in FRH ranking order, are Phil Taylor (50k), Alan Norris (6k), Benito van de Pas (6k), Justin Pipe (6k), Robert Thornton (10k), Vincent van der Voort (6k), Brendan Dolan (10k), Mark Webster (6k), Josh Payne (6k), Robbie Green (6k), Jamie Caven (6k) and Terry Jenkins (10k). The highest ranked players in the FRH rankings that aren't on that list are Reyes, van den Bergh, Dobey and Dekker, nobody else is above the lowest ranked player (de Zwaan) in those rankings.

Draw should be out on Wednesday, so given the PDC's notoriety for delaying such things, I'll be back at the weekend with initial thoughts, and later, previews.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Hamburg review - the resurgence of Irish darts

So van Gerwen won again, not too much of a surprise, White had half a chance at the upset if he could have timed a twelve dart leg perfectly in leg 10, but the 100-140-137 which would have set him up beautifully for a 124 stab was sadly preceded by a 24, so van Gerwen was able to kill things off. Willie O'Connor was the beaten finalist, and let's have a think about what the Irish, from both sides of the border, have done in the last twelve months. Daryl Gurney won a major title, got into the Premier League, and wasn't far off making the playoffs. Mickey Mansell has won a Pro Tour title. Steve Lennon and now Willie O'Connor have made European Tour finals. Brendan Dolan is showing signs that he may be able to resurrect his career, with decent showings indicating that he should at least be able to get back to the worlds, if nothing else. Further down the pecking order Jason Cullen's managed to win on the Challenge Tour and gain experience at the full PDC level that way. Killian Heffernan looked like a very useful prospect in the BDO youth and hopefully we will see him in Development Tour events sooner rather than later. Kyle McKinstry has been looking competent on the BDO side, and Nathan Rafferty knocked Peter Wright out of the UK Open, has won on the Development Tour and will certainly be one to watch out for.

Andy Boulton managed to edge out Gerwyn Price, don't know how, he seems to have had every opponent simply buckle and let him win easy legs until he ran into O'Connor, while Stephen Bunting was the other semi finalist and must be getting confidence from keeping putting runs together, even if he isn't getting over the line in them.

Matchplay field is now determined, Richard North's got to have been thinking about putting a few quid on O'Connor in the final as insurance, but he's there, as are Lennon, de Zwaan and Klaasen. Seedings look like the draw will be (assuming all seeds win) van Gerwen/Lewis (oh wow), Chisnall/Smith, Anderson/van Barneveld, Gurney/Price, Wright/Huybrechts, Whitlock/Wade, Cross/Webster and Suljovic/White. That van Gerwen half is ridiculously stacked, it's unbelievable. If van Gerwen wins it back he'll definitely have earned it.

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Peter Wright
4 Daryl Gurney (UP 1)
5 Gary Anderson (DOWN 1)
6 Phil Taylor
7 Mensur Suljovic
8 Michael Smith
9 Simon Whitlock
10 Ian White
11 Gerwyn Price
12 Darren Webster (UP 2)
13 Dave Chisnall (DOWN 1)
14 James Wade (DOWN 1)
15 Jonny Clayton
16 Joe Cullen (UP 1)
17 Mervyn King (UP 1)
18 Adrian Lewis (DOWN 2)
19 Kim Huybrechts (UP 1)
20 Raymond van Barneveld (DOWN 1)

Barney will almost certainly be out of the top 20 come the Matchplay as Bunting is less than 200 points behind him and has actually played ranking darts matches in the last three months. Klaasen's stopped the rot and passes Jamie Lewis for #24, Pipe's back in the top 30 over Wattimena (for now), while O'Connor gets himself just one place outside the top 50. Boulton's just in the top 75, Lowe is in the top 110 and chasing down current #100 Adam Hunt who's less than 2000 points ahead, Rowley's up in the top 120 and Darius Labanauskas is your #128, and if we had a big tournament seeded via FRH rankings, would see him play MvG in round one. That'd be a fun one.

We've now got a bit of downtime before the Matchplay. It's the Vegas event next weekend, which'll be interesting for the US readers and could give some hints as to who's doing alright there (I can't remember if the new PDC worlds setup means someone can directly qualify through the various events this week, we'll see), then it's Shanghai the week after. I'm very, very tempted to run a Matchplay fantasy comp where you might be able to win some tat, I'll see after I've got various World Cup commitments out of the way. Stay tuned!

Hamburg quarter finals

Lowe couldn't get it done, no real complaints there, Price showed up and for an underdog pick to win you usually need some combination of the favourite not playing quite as well as they can, nothing you can really do when they do hit their stride. Klaasen looked really bad after having a promising day one and two, the Pipe/Bunting quarter was a little bit weird but nothing incredibly strange, the rest seemed to go as expected.

I posted up projections on Twitter earlier - 0.1u White 5/1 looks to be automatic, he's at the level right now where he clearly wins this more than one time in six, the projections get it at nearly one time in three with van Gerwen being the 68/32 favourite, White's done it before at this stage, heck, the last two times they've met in Europe it's been the quarters and White's won both. Bunting/Pipe looks to be priced about right, Bunting's 4/6 and I've got him in the low sixties at 63/37, so nothing to rush to the bookmakers with here. Price, as mentioned, looked good against Lowe, while Boulton advanced without needing to do a thing against a poor Jelle Klaasen who was averaging sub-80. Boulton did have another nice twelve darter to win it and added another couple in fifteen or less, but it's still worse than Price did and nothing really threatening. I've got Price over 70% for this, 2/5 or 4/11 or there abouts looks like it would be a better line than it is, I'm not sure that 4/9 is really enough, I don't know when Price got his injury but it looks like it was after Gibraltar, since then we've not seen how it will react to two games in a day. Enough to avoid it. Last game looks like a good O'Connor value bet, 0.25u O'Connor 13/5, while the model has been underrating Suljovic for a long time, it's getting O'Connor up at nearly 40% to win, he doesn't need anywhere near that much for this to be value. Mensur looked good earlier, but even taking that into account I think we still need to bet this one.

Hamburg day 3 - so close!

Marijanovic gave us a decent sweat, didn't he? Getting a match dart and everything after getting into a 4-2 lead, got to say fair play to Gurney for slotting in an 11 dart leg against the throw where it counts to make it 4-4. Elsewhere, van Gerwen allegedly hit a nine dart leg, White beat Hopp as you would expect, while Lowe missed one dart to end it at 5-4, meaning that he'd have to survive three match darts against Clayton, but did so, so the end result for yesterday is pretty much bang on break even, give or take a hundredth of a unit. Looked a lot better than it did after Thornton won the decider against Wilson (who if he could have killed the last leg in fifteen darts, would have won), Cullen beat Schindler in what looked like an awful game and then Huybrechts edged out Dobey to critically eliminate Norris from the Matchplay. The qualifiers for that are set unless we get a really, really weird champion here to knock Richard North from the last Pro Tour spot, it's been calculated by Burton already so read his Twitter if you want to see more including the seeding situation, I won't repeat it here.

Of the other people that advanced, again, nobody was really killing it apart from MvG, O'Connor looked good again in rallying to beat Rob Cross from 4-2 down with four straight legs, Klaasen looked good in places to eliminate Smith, other than that, I don't know. Rowley looked alright in upsetting King I guess? Bottom half is wide open anyway.

Today's games - van Gerwen/Thornton's about the same price as van Gerwen/Joyce was yesterday, read what you like into what that says about Thornton (or, for that matter, Joyce). This should be routine but I can't see any solid value.

White/Webster is one we've seen three times on the floor this year and White leads 2-1 (it's 7-1 overall), for some reason I thought they'd met in Europe recently, I guess not. White's about a 60/40 favourite which is exactly where the model has things, so let's move on. This is in match and hence draw order, so whoever against van Gerwen in the quarters should be live and maybe worth a tiny punt.

Cullen/Pipe is seen at around 65/35 on the market, there may be tiny value on Joe (I'm getting him at winning a fraction more than two out of three), but that he got dragged into multiple comedy legs yesterday is a worry, he won those but might not today if it repeats. Watch him just roll Pipe 6-1 with all legs in fifteen darts now.

Gurney/Bunting will play the winner of that one after Daryl edged out Marijanovic as detailed above, while Bunting also went the distance with Labanauskas, just about having the better quality and getting a 14 dart kill on throw in the last when it mattered, but that wasn't a game for the ages. This is priced fairly close, Gurney 8/13 and Bunting the reverse, that may be slightly undervaluing Superchin but not by enough for me to start betting him. If you want an acca for fun then you could do worse I guess.

Klaasen/Boulton starts the second half after Jelle eliminated Michael Smith, while Boulton beat Steve Beaton without having to win more than one leg within fifteen darts to do so (a twelve darter with a 121 bull finish in the tenth leg to win it to be fair). It's a big chance for both of these, the market seems to have quite a lot of vig on it, so while betting on Klaasen would be horrible, going on Boulton isn't appealing either. If money comes in on Klaasen and Boulton drifts to 15/8, 2/1 say then go ahead, but right now there's not enough edge to start punting on someone who's won just two out of twelve legs in a par score against a classier player who looks to be trending upwards.

Lowe/Price - will we have the hat trick of bets? Price wasn't massively troubled by Langendorf, but both then and in midweek hasn't thrown anything hugely threatening. While it's working, keep doing it - 0.25u Lowe 23/10, this seems to be another 60/40 or so game ignoring any form/injury issues, so I think this looks good.

Suljovic/Rowley is obviously the second most one sided game on the market with Mensur at around 1/5, there's a fair bit of vig in this market again, not even being able to get 4/1 on Rowley, who you would think could just be happy to reach this stage. Don't want to get into psychology when we can get into numbers, I'm getting Rowley just short of 25%, so if there was value then it'd be here, but it's nowhere near enough to consider a bet.

O'Connor/Huybrechts is the last game of the afternoon, Willie's been one of the stand out players so far, and the market's respecting him, making this around 55/45 in favour of the Belgian. I also have Kim as a small favourite, it's even smaller than the market suggests, so while there's a good argument to make that we should bet O'Connor at 13/10 when the model's giving him about a 47% shot and he's on form, Huybrechts is one of those where he may see that there's a very good chance to make a final here and up his game.

That's just the one bet. It's a bit sparse but sometimes there's just nothing there to be interested in. Should be back for quarter final tips, I plan on watching Spain/Russia at home so should be able to shove the afternoon session into the computer, look at the odds and give some quick analysis. May rework the master computer to make it more efficient, I also intend on updating the Second Division Darts page right now.