Thursday, 15 November 2018

Grand Slam quarters - yawn

I will never, ever understand why they fix the draw the way they have done, so that we get three rematches at the quarter final stage. Just stick all the runners up in the opposite half to the winners. It's not difficult. If a runner up needs to play two games in two days or has more than one day off, it's not a big deal, by the time you get to the long games in the quarter final stages, it's all level. The PDC do a lot of things right, this is another thing they do which is unbelievably dumb.

As such, with the only new game we're seeing being Dimitri (nice nine lad, shame about the next seventeen darts) van den Bergh against Mensur Suljovic, which is a repeat of two televised events we've seen in the last twelve months, I'm going to be brief here:

0.25u van den Bergh 13/8, I'm seeing him at above 46%, even in a best of 31 distance. We all saw what Dimitri did the last time they met in a long game at the world championship, and heck, the kid just hit a nine, if this isn't peak Dimitri confidence, who knows what is.

No bet on Price/Whitlock. The line's a flip, with Price being the slightest of odds on favourites. I'm seeing this as 53/47 Price, so there's nothing of any real value here, I'm thinking on recent form we should be on the eye out for any Whitlock bets in case the line moves but I'm not holding my breath.

2u Anderson 1/7, that was a pretty nice display by Unterbuchner, but this is an extremely easy spot to milk a quarter of a unit, Gary's been lights out all year on TV and I think this is nearer a 1/14 or even 1/20 line in all honesty, it's a huge jump from race to 10 to race to 16 and also a huge jump from Wade to Anderson.

No bet on van Gerwen/Clayton. I was able to bet on Clayton at 9/1 in a best of nine. We are now in a game more than three times the length which hugely, hugely improves things in favour of the favourite and I can't even get 9/1 again? What changed bookies? What changed? Surely you're not overreacting on the basis of a nine leg sample size? The line looks right now, but you would think if they were consistent they'd have van Gerwen as an even larger favourite than what he was in the group stages. Very, very silly.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The future of the Grand Slam

As we await the knockout stages, I read something that Mason retweeted earlier in that Durrant is looking at Q-School, which makes perfect sense for anybody given the BDO's relaxation of eligibility criteria. That leaves the question though - if Durrant goes (and you think that if he did try Q-School, he'd get in easily), who exactly is left in the BDO system that would be worthy of a spot at the Grand Slam?

You'd think that if Durrant retained, they'd let Durrant play it, but who else is going to be left in the building? Let's look at their seedings for the worlds and see what the situation might be:

McGeeney's said he's trying. Williams you'd think would have a go as he's still young enough and probably good enough to at least have a chance of saving his card. Harms surely will. Mitchell you'd think would have done so already, but probably has the game. Unterbuchner really ought to given the European Tour. Robson probably not. Veenstra might. Waites, see Mitchell, although at seven years younger he's got more time to have a run. Landman I don't know. Parletti has been in and out so you think he would. Warren, Montgomery and Phillips you can't see it. Mandigers and Day you'd think would go for it.

That's not exactly a huge number of players that are rating to actively stay. We all know it's a completely different ecosystem nowadays, where there was somewhat of a choice to be made back in 2007 when the thing kicked off. Right now in 2019, you'll have three groups of players - the BDO diehards who are seeing out the end of their careers, those that did try Q-School but didn't crack it, and some younger players that are looking to get experience on the circuit, perhaps in conjunction with the Challenge and Development Tours. Which of those groups of players adds value to the tournament? I'm struggling to think who would if we see the expected level of Q-School entrants, at least to fill eight spots. You'll have some decent players miss out on getting a tour card for sure (Jamie Hughes springs to mind from last year), but if someone went for one and didn't get one, what does that say about their current standard?

I'm thinking the tournament's going to need a revamp. If you're keeping the same number of players, then have:

- Top 20 players who've won something in the PDC
- Winner, runner up of Lakeside, World Masters winner and World Trophy winner. Add winners of lesser tournaments (Zuiderduin, Dutch Open, whatever) until you get to four players.
- Winner of PDC Asian Tour, Nordic and Baltic Tour, DPA rankings and the women's world champ
- Four spots from a PDPA qualifier, increasing if the initial 20 isn't filled.

Or expand to 40. Add an extra two spots to a PDPA qualifier, add an extra two spots to the 20 who've won something, two spots to other winners of A+ category BDO events, and two to random PDC tour winners (maybe not the Development or Challenge Tours, as the former's got two spots effectively from the world youth, and adding from a second tier seems counter-intuitive) - something random from North America? The best player on the European Tour rankings not otherwise qualified?

If you do expand to 40, you could either go five man groups, or just bin the whole group concept and have four rounds of Swiss matches. Play eight legs against an opponent, then keep matching players with the same number of legs won against each other, top 16 advance to the knockouts. With everyone in one place there's really no need logistically to have a group stage system, you can accommodate everything by just having an extra session on the Monday and Tuesday afternoons (or Monday afternoon and the Friday night before? Making the Tuesday night the session where everyone in the 11-30 bracket plays off?)

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Ian White must really like Thursday nights off work

Honest to god, there's something psychologically wrong with that lad. How you miss that many shots at double I have no idea - he's gone from what was probably a 90% to 95% chance or more of making the Premier League following his European Tour win to being on the outside looking in because he's botched two TV tournaments in a row. I don't know what's going to save it at this stage, you've clearly got van Gerwen, Anderson, Cross, Wright, Suljovic, Wade and Smith in, Price is doing everything a lot better, Whitlock's made a major final, Hopp's made a major semi and won two titles (and, more importantly, is likely a hell of a lot more marketable), Gurney may be there or there abouts, Chisnall hasn't been completely stinking the place up, and that's without mentioning Barney, who cocked it up again tonight. Dear oh dear.

So we've got our last sixteen lineup. Pretty shocked that Harms was able to get by, but that looked a pretty high quality game, Ratajski did the business very efficiently, other than Robson putting up a decent effort in trying to come back, even if it doesn't show statistically, I don't think there's a great deal to talk about. So, what do the matches project as? Let's take a look:

Bunting/van den Bergh - 39/61. It's giving Dimitri a bit more of a chance than the market thinks. This seems somewhat fine as stage Dimitri and floor Dimitri are two different animals, but there's not a great deal in the overall points per turn and with Bunting playing some really good stuff in the group stages, I'm tempted to pass this one.

Price/Payne - 63/37. Price is a lot shorter of a favourite on this one, and rightly so as he's in red hot form. If I take it from after the break it's nearer 70/30 - which kills any edge we'd have on a Payne bet almost completely. Gerwyn should get past this one you'd think but Payne's not going to make it easy.

Cross/Suljovic - 58/42. There's not even a point in the season long points per turn thanks to Mensur being a heck of a lot more consistent when he's losing, and the projections as always only consider legs completed, i.e. won, with Cross 4/5 and Mensur 6/5 if you reign in Suljovic a couple of points due to consistency then there's little to be had here.

Wright/Whitlock - 63/37. Line's bang on Wright being a 2-1 favourite. Do we bet Simon? There's nearly enough edge there, Wright's not put up hugely convincing conventional numbers, Whitlock's already on a free hit after coming through that thriller against Price where he needed four straight to survive, and he beat Wright over a same length match in the previous major. What the heck, 0.25u Whitlock 2/1.

Anderson/Harms - 94/6. Taking that with a pinch of salt, Harms' stats come from only 34 won legs. That said, saying Anderson is anything other than a prohibitive favourite would be comical.

Wade/Unterbuchner - 82/18. Wade's 1/4, so this looks in the right ballpark. With Wade having the level of confidence he does at the moment it's really, really hard to recommend taking the German lad without a much bigger edge, it's only really missed doubles by White that's allowed him to advance rather than Unterbuchner doing anything truly outstanding, only breaking a conventional average of 90 against Hine.

Clayton/Ratajski - 46/54. More or less exactly how the odds line up, so there's not going to be anything here. As an aside, it's now annoying that Kciuk is in my database and steals Ratajski's autocomplete when adding new data. This should be really very tight and a probable tie of the round. That said...

van Gerwen/Smith - 73/27. Smith's 7/2, which might be a tempter, then again van Gerwen has made Smith to look very silly in multiple games this season, winning their Premier League initial stage matches 14-3, the final 11-4, two Euro Tour semis 14-2 with just the one 8-4 win for Smith in the event in Shanghai he won. If Smith had been doing anything god mode style in the group stage I might have thought about it, but he really hasn't.

So that's your lot. One bet. Oh well, it is what it is.

Grand Slam day 4 bets

We ran through the permutations yesterday so I'll not repeat myself, was a real pity that Durrant couldn't make it through the group with Price throwing away a basically won position, other than that not a great deal of surprise, Payne managing to get enough legs on the board to advance ahead of Hopp but not the last one he needed for the win to give me the double. Today:

Wade/Webster - Dead game, Webby getting the win might be worth the tiny punt as it should push him into third and he'll know the extra couple of grand might be critical when it comes to retaining a tour card at the end of next year.

Anderson/Hine - Also a dead game, Hine realistically too far back to grab third in the event he did pull off a miracle, 1/7 Ando looks to be close to my projections so while it's probably safe to put into an acca, I won't be recommending an outright punt.

White/Unterbuchner - 0.5u White 1/2, he is that much better than the German and it'd take a real TV special from White to not get through here.

Brown/Harms - Market seems a bit close here? Brown's generally outperformed Harms and he's only rated 60/40? I really don't see how that's close to correct, 0.25u Brown 4/6, would probably go more but Harms hasn't really helped sample size with the drubbing he got versus Wade.

van Gerwen/Murnan - Now we get to the complicated groups, but this isn't a complicated match, 1/16 is a bit too short to bet, but not by much.

Clayton/Robson - This ought to be Clayton's, but Gary's shown just about enough that 8/15 isn't really a tempter.

Ratajski/Smith-Neale - Battle of the World Masters, Smith-Neale being very much the definition of a live dog, although the 35% I'm seeing is more or less where the market lies, so no thanks.

Smith/van Barneveld - The market here is clearly too close and 0.25u Smith 3/4 with Barney looking fairly ordinary and it only being four missed match darts that make this not a dead rubber. Only real danger is that Smith-Neale pulls the upset and Smith knows he's already through, or otherwise Smith gets the legs he needs and pulls back a bit. He ought to be too professional for that though.

Will look at the first knockout games later this evening probably.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Bet on out of form player against van Gerwen. It works sometimes!

That was quite nice, but what for today?

Cross/Searle - After the Webster/Taylor incident two or three years back, I don't touch dead rubbers, and the odds look close enough to correct in any case. There might be small Searle value, Cross only needs three legs to lock up the group and a Searle win would give him the potential for more ranking points, but no.

Gilding/Durrant - Might be small value on Gilding here, but probably not - he needs a 5-0 to stand any chance of progressing so one leg for Durrant and it likely falls apart. Duzza just needs the win here and he should be professional enough to do that.

Whitlock/Price - Line's a flip and I'm thinking it's close. Price tops the group with a win, and just needs three legs to advance. With this being the second game, Whitlock will know exactly what he needs to do - if Durrant loses, it's just a win, but if Durrant wins, he's going to need a big win, at least 5-2. That said, if Durrant does lose then Price knows he's already through...

Suljovic/Schindler - Is there small value on Martin? Probably not - he must win by four to stand any chance as that'll put him ahead of Mensur, and then hope Mitchell gets a shelling, which seems unlikely. Probably just playing for pride here is Schindler, with Mensur needing a 5-3 to guarantee advancing Suljovic is likely not letting up here.

Bunting/Mitchell - Can Scotty get through here? Both players have been chucking some very nice stuff this weekend, Bunting can afford a deciding leg loss to advance with certainty, but a win to sweep the group would be nice. Mitchell needs to outperform Suljovic, it's basically that simple, and the good news for our BDO fans is that he'll know in advance what that is.

Hopp/Williams - Both have plenty of work to do here. Williams must win by at least two legs, and really more unless he wants to rely on Wright to really hammer Payne, a result he needs anyway, it just becomes a question of scoreline. Hopp will advance with a 5-1 result, while a smaller win might be enough if Wright does beat Payne. I'm thinking a tiny nibble of 0.25u Williams 13/8, he's shown just about enough here and season long to make me think he can extend his tournament.

Wright/Payne - Peter tops the group with a win, a 5-4 defeat also probably likely to be enough. Payne's in a decent spot, if Hopp loses then Payne should be safe if he can pick up a few legs, and like Mitchell earlier he'll know the permutations. Wright could easily be safe by the time the match starts, and with it being the more critical game for Payne, let's go with it given the model thinks it's a good bet - 0.25u Payne 16/5.

van den Bergh/McGeeney - Our only straight shootout, winner moves on, loser goes home, Dimitri's easily outperformed McGeeney so far, nearly beating Cross while Mark averaged sub 80, while averaging a bit higher against Searle where they both had the same result. It's a stage game which'll help the Belgian, but 4/9 isn't quite enough odds to justify a bet here.

In the other groups which play tomorrow, we've got straight elimination games between Brown and Harms and then White and Unterbuchner, with Wade/Webster and Anderson/Hine being dead games, while in the other groups van Gerwen just needs a win against Murnan to join a likely group winner in Clayton, who faces Robson. Gary has an outside chance but needs a 4-1 win to overhaul a big leg differential, assuming van Gerwen wins. The final group is Smith looking to get a win against Barney to top the group, he just needs four legs to advance, or a Ratajski loss. A 5-3 Barney win puts them level on everything, so if that happens and Ratajski wins, I guess we have a nine dart shootout? Ratajski just needs a win to move through against Smith-Neale, while Adam requires a minimum of a 5-3 win, ideally 5-2 or better to avoid tiebreak scenarios, and then to hope Barney loses. It's a good old mess as it always is.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Grand Slam group stage 2 and what we learned from day 1

I assume that it was deliberate that all the seeds on day one played all the BDO players in a 1v4, 2v3 format, which I think is a shame as it puts a heck of a lot of pressure on all the BDO players as, Durrant aside, they all lost the first game - you'd expect it to happen most of the time anyway regardless of when it happens in the group, but it's a whole different dynamic if, say, Williams beat Hopp or Payne before facing Wright. Oh well, we'll see if they can rebuild in the losers matches today, a lot of them seem like they could be live and make for an interesting final match against someone who isn't necessarily one of the PDC's top players.

Ratajski getting home against van Barneveld just put us up for the event, I don't know how long Hopp will be able to get clutch bull finishes for, seems hugely unsustainable. Today, what do we have?

Searle/McGeeney - 0.25u Searle 4/5, McGeeney did little to suggest that the numbers I have on him are inaccurate, his scoring was OK but he just couldn't hit a double. Searle did fine and ought to take this one.

Payne/Williams - No bet here, the line looks close enough to where I think it should be, Williams did just about enough, if anything Payne may be undervalued but taking Wright the distance is just about enough for me.

Schindler/Mitchell - 0.25u Mitchell 11/10, I'm going to trust the model here, even based on limited sample sizes. Mitchell wasn't too bad, although he could do with upping his scoring a touch. Looking at the losing legs season long, as Mitchell has a huge lead on winning legs albeit on a short sample, they both average within a quarter of a point of each other. That's good enough for me.

Whitlock/Gilding - Gilding, two legs where he gave Price far, far too long to win through missing four darts at double in each leg aside, was a bit better than the scoreline suggested. Whitlock really couldn't do too much against Durrant, only getting darts at double in one leg that he lost. 0.25u Gilding 9/4, the pressure's on Simon here and Gilding has a massive incentive to win.

Suljovic/Bunting - This is probably close to a Bunting bet, I had it 60/40 Suljovic before the event and nothing much has going to have changed over one game, the average from Bunting is probably a lot better but for that mutual comedy first leg - 0.25u Bunting 2/1, that's a decent price in a short race.

Cross/van den Bergh - It's weird that the projections had Dimitri winning 40% of the time, and that's exactly where the line is. Will pass.

Price/Durrant - Line again looks close enough with Glen being a small favourite.

Wright/Hopp - 0.25u Wright 5/11, it's only a small bet because I don't think our edge is that huge, only getting Wright at 73%, Wright was pretty tidy barring one leg on throw and was pressuring Williams quite well so he should get home here.

Hine/Unterbuchner - Nothing here. Hine's probably one of the weakest PDC players in the field and Unterbuchner can be dangerous, but Hine still ranks well enough that he only projected as a small underdog and while Hine was pretty average against White, Michael wasn't doing anything amazing in a loss to Anderson either.

Murnan/Robson - Pick your poison here, I could barely split them, albeit off of a small Robson sample, the bookies can't either, let's just leave it alone.

Webster/Harms - Now we come to a BDO player with an even smaller sample than Robson, not sure I want any piece of this with Mark being the very slight favourite - Harms was at least scoring alright which may give him darts against Webster, which he didn't really get against Wade until it was too late, while Webster wasn't great at all and could easily have lost 5-0 himself. Avoiding, if only because Harms may already think he's out. Then again, if that gives him no pressure...

van Barneveld/Smith-Neale - Adam had a couple of OK scoring legs and a couple of duff scoring legs to start against Smith, which was enough to put him 4-0 down, he fought back a bit but it was too late then, Barney was there or there abouts in the legs that Ratajski won, I'm thinking Barney showed enough that I don't want to bet on the new World Master, which I'll probably regret.

Wade/Brown - 0.25u Brown 5/2, sure Wade is winning of late but Wade is nowhere near that big of a favourite here. If he'd smashed Harms out of the park then maybe, but he didn't, Brown simply cannot miss as many doubles as he did last night though.

Smith/Ratajski - Had Smith at 65%, he's 8/15, seems good enough a line to me.

van Gerwen/Clayton - 0.1u Clayton 9/1, is Clayton more than a one in ten shot? Over a race to five? Maybe on current form this happens less than the season long projections suggest, which includes Clayton beating van Gerwen in a best of eleven, but hey, stranger things have happened and it's not as if Clayton hasn't played van Gerwen on TV before. It's close to a free hit for the Ferret knowing he'll come back against Robson last game regardless.

Anderson/White - 0.25u White 23/10, it's White on TV but he chucked well yesterday so he should win this more than the roughly 30% of the time he'd need to for this bet to be profitable.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Grand Slam group stage game 1 bets

Getting them in early given it's the biggest game of the entire football season tomorrow night:

0.25u Payne 11/8 v Hopp, keep firing against Hopp and wait for it to work

0.25u Gilding 23/10 v Price, seems way, way too one sided in such a short format against an in form player

0.25u Durrant 5/6 v Whitlock, probably going to be a case of auto-betting Duzza the entire tournament

0.1u Mitchell 9/4 v Suljovic, reduced bet size given Mitchell's sample size and likely massive inconsistency

0.25u Brown 10/11 v Webster, simply in better form all season long

0.25u Ratajski 11/8 v van Barneveld, seems obvious

That's about it. I won't be back home until late Saturday so don't expect any updates before then.