Thursday, 21 June 2018

Copenhagen bets

Qualifiers are in, and they look to be Nilsson and Labanauskas from the Nordic/Baltic region (Darius confused me a bit given I assumed that he would have been in the same qualifier as Razma was, but I guess not), neither of whom are mugs, while Per Laursen, who's been a familiar name for decades but to the best of my (well, dartsdatabase's) knowledge hasn't played on the European Tour since 2012, has made it through the Danish qualifier along with Brian Lokken, who seems to have mostly been touring the moderately local BDO circuit and, oddly, won the Gibraltar Open last year. For whatever that's worth. Still, none of the qualifiers from today have lines up so it's just the other 12 games to look at, and here come the punts:

0.25u O'Connor 8/15, my data on Rusty's limited but it's enough to tell me that Willie should bag this one more than two out of three times they play this, so let's go small given the lack of information.

Nothing on Ratajski/Joyce, line looks pretty plumb, nothing on Schindler either, there's a slight edge but it's nothing more than that, piling in at 4/6 when I think he wins 62% of the time isn't that appetising when your edge can disappear in a blink if he loses the bull. Nothing on Wattimena/Jones either, I'm not feeling Wayne's ability to pull the upset despite what the model says to be favourable odds, even when I filter to a more recent sample. Beaton/Huckvale looks a better line though - it's not much different to the Schindler line, an extra couple of percentage points is probably enough though given the relative difference in experience, so 0.25u Beaton 4/6.

Lynn/Dobey is one I really do think is close to a lock, 1u Dobey 4/13, I've got him over 90% so I think we can fire freely here. 90% is a lot in a race to six, I don't often see van Gerwen up that high for reference.

de Zwaan/Razma I think is pretty close to the money. There may be small value on Madars, it's a question of your take on Jeffrey's temperament and whether you think he'll pull through in what he knows to be an important game. Mansell/Klaasen is not quite priced up as closely as I thought it would be, so a bit of underdog value on the Cyclone here, 0.25u Mansell 11/8, this should be a bit nearer to 6/5 really.

Thornton/Taylor is more or less where I thought the line would be so I'm not interested, Nicholson/Jacques is also really well priced up. Evetts is priced at 11/4 against Adrian Lewis, which is not long enough. In fact, I think given that Adrian had a bit of a return to stage form I think I can go 0.5u Lewis 1/3, at 78% this should be OK. That just leaves Hopp/Horvat, and while I don't have a lot of data on Dragutin, I think Hopp's playing well enough that we can take a small punt, 0.25u Hopp 4/11.

A fair bit more odds on than I usually go, but that's just how the bets have fallen today. If you like an accumulator you can certainly do worse than these and chucking in against the Danes when (if?) lines appear in the morning.

Copenhagen preview

Draw is out - no news on the Scandi qualifiers but I'm not thinking any of them are going to be that strong, and none of them have managed to get an easy draw (the Danes have West and Reyes, the others have Evans and North), so while I guess that someone like a Viljanen wouldn't be completely drawing dead, it doesn't look too likely that they'll advance, and the Danes only averaging in the 60's in the World Cup isn't promising. So let's start right away and look at what we've got coming up:

Wright v Lynn/Dobey - Seems like an age ago since Lynn did his UK Open heroics, when it was only two seasons ago - the year that Cross reached the last 32. He didn't pick up a card, only got £250 in the UK Open qualifiers and hasn't done much on the Challenge Tour this year, so Dobey should walk this and not be without chances against Wright, in what'd be a rerun from Gibraltar where Dobey lost 6-1.

Price v Mansell/Klaasen - New experience for Jelle, the old Friday match, the wildly inconsistent Klaasen actually rates to be a tiny favourite over recent Pro Tour winner Mansell, although given we never know which Jelle will turn up we've got to take that under advisement. Price apparently has an injury which should take him off the board betting wise from my standpoint regardless of who he plays.

Suljovic v Joyce/Ratajski - Real high quality first round game between the Pro Tour superstar Joyce and UK Open qualifier winner and World Master Ratajski, one I wish I wasn't at work for. Krzysztof rates to be nearly a 60/40 favourite here, and both will give Suljovic a decent game.

Webster v Reyes/DQ2 - Cristo has shown some occasional glimpses, which he shouldn't need to do in round one as long as he doesn't miss huge batches of doubles in multiple legs, Webster is a different proposition and we'll need to see peak Reyes in a game where Webster has remarkably similar winning shots to Ratajski above. Of course, Webster beat Alcinas in the worlds, who beat Reyes in the worlds, so there is that.

Cullen v de Zwaan/Razma - Big, big set of games for Jeffrey, who is still very close to the Matchplay cutoff line and even a grand extra here would be huge for him. Madars hasn't done badly but this is a tough ask, that said it still should only be around a 4/7 game or there abouts. Cullen's done alright in Europe and nowhere else this year, his weakness domestically being such that I'd have de Zwaan as a tiny favourite to take a second round game between the two - if it happens.

Wade v Rodriguez/O'Connor - Rusty Jake returns! I've only got limited data on him from his not great runs in UK Open qualifiers, while O'Connor is having a third (of a minimum of four) punt in Europe this year. That's he's lost in the first round to fellow youngsters in Humphries and van den Bergh may give RJR hope, but Wade, back amongst the seeds, should be far too classy for either.

Smith v Lewis/Evetts - I like Ted, it's cruel how he missed out on a tour card, and while he's been doing work on the minor circuit since then, grabbing three titles (1 Challenge Tour, 2 Development Tour), I really don't want him to get in the way of what'd be an epic Adie/Smith faceoff where anything can happen. I'm getting Evetts with less than a 1 in 4 win chance, but that's only in ranked events and not on secondary tours, so who knows, maybe he can pull off an upset.

Bunting v Nicholson/Jacques - Should be a good first rounder, Nicholson's been quality all year, while Jacques is hit and miss but did have a good run in Wigan last weekend, a quarter final indicating he could be hitting form. Nicho should get through in around five trials out of every eight, and would certainly be alive against Bunting, whose exploits last weekend in Wigan are a microcosm of his whole season - a semi final one day, lose heavily in the first round the next.

Cross v Beaton/Huckvale - Adam's yet to get a win on the Pro Tour, and will get another two shots in midweek as he still has enough cash from his Challenge Tour win to get up on countback, but this will be his third attempt in Europe, and will face off against Beaton, who's frankly been mediocre this year and is yet to get to a quarter final. He's playing OK - the stats make him nearly a 2-1 favourite, but if he's going to get to a quarter final here, he'll have to get past Cross who broke his season's title duck last weekend, and he'd probably be about a 3-1 underdog to do that.

King v Hopp/Horvat - Interesting all-German matchup in round one, Hopp having won one of these of course, but Dragutin's no mug - this is his third European appearance this year and he beat Alcinas last time out, and he beat van der Voort to get through, although Hopp's got close to an 80% chance by my reckoning. A game against King would be a rerun of their World Championship game from a few years back, and Hopp beat King in their last outing, also on the European Tour back in April. Despite a 4-1 head to head lead, the model gives King a 60/40 shot, and there's no homefield advantage to help the Maximiser here.

Gurney v Evans/NBQ1 - Evans is back in form - three quarter finals out of his last four Pro Tour events, 4/6 in recent European qualifiers, he should be too good for whoever qualifies if he keeps this up, and would be live against the current Grand Prix champion who's still looking for his first European Tour win - Gurney would be the favourite but it's not even 2/1 so this could well end up being a good outside punt on Rapid here.

Whitlock v Wattimena/Jones - Even more in form is Jermaine Wattimena, who as I mentioned in the previous post had the best points per turn of anybody last weekend when he made back to back semi finals. The Wolverhampton veteran wouldn't be without chances, indeed the model has this very close over a full year's stats, but if I filtered down on more recent results I'd expect that to swing in the Dutchman's favour. Whitlock will have his work cut out, the full year has him at about 60/40 in the lead over Jermaine, but if I filter down to May onwards Whitlock becomes the underdog.

Clayton v North/NBQ2 - North hasn't really pushed on this season, he did reach that one semi final on the European stage back in March, but only has a couple of quarters apart from that. Still, he's doing well enough on the figures to be able to push the Ferret if he shows up, the model projecting the Welshman to be about a 60/40 favourite.

White v West/DQ1 - Steve's playing far too well to have any issues with a domestic qualifier, and he's playing having reached the semi final last time out in Europe. A match against White would be an interesting one - Ian's won an event this year, reached a final last weekend and has four semi final appearances, but is only just over a 60% shot against Steve, an indication of how well West is playing (as regular readers should know just how underestimated White is).

van Gerwen v Thornton/Taylor - No, not Phil, Scott, who made a Pro Tour final and will be looking for a second pop at van Gerwen who stopped him that day. He may have a chance to do so, as while neither's been playing that great this season (Thornton is at risk of dropping out of the top 32 before Ally Pally if he's not careful and is nowhere near the Matchplay), it's about a 55/45 in Thornton's favour so this could come down to who pins their chances, which they should each get. Not even going to look at the second round match, such is the level of one-sidedness it'll look like.

Henderson v Schindler/Dolan - Our final matches see Schindler, who is having a really great season statistically without having the real landmark result to show for it (at least on the senior circuit - he has one quarter final, compare that with Hopp's Euro Tour win or Clemens' final, although back to back Development Tour wins on the same day is really hard), against Dolan, who's had a few decent runs - the best probably being last month in Milton Keynes where he pocketed over five grand. The German should be the favourite, in and around the 8/13 bracket, and he'd be the favourite in round two against the big Scot, although so small that it's basically a coin flip. Hendo's only had the one quarter final since April so could use a run.

Be back later with news from the qualifiers and hopefully bets.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Players Championship 14 - Double Cross? Yeah Wright

Pretty successful weekend for Cross, although he was to be denied a double win as the two highest ranked players in the FRH rankings that showed up met in the final, Peter Wright coming out on top in a 6-4 match, Wright storming into a 5-1 lead before Cross pegged it back to 5-4, Wright managing to finish the game off when Cross seemingly made a huge mess of some sort of finish, hard to tell off of the raw dartconnect scoring but to go from needing 132 and then leaving 15 before ending on 3, that's not pretty.

Michael Smith was a semi finalist with a decent run, the other was Jermaine Wattimena again, as he's made himself incredibly safe for the majors and is actually high up enough on the Pro Tour now that he's in danger of being seeded for ET 11 onwards. It's a bit of a double edged sword in that if you just sneak in you get no ranking money if you lose and the #1 seed if you win... seems like a silly system to me really. Wattimena had scored nicely enough to leave himself on 80 after twelve in the deciding leg, only for Wright to go out with 161. Not bad.

Lower down, Dimitri van den Bergh really should have seen off Wright at an earlier stage, racing to a 4-0 lead with the darts before forgetting how to double and losing 6-4, Noppert picked up a board win to keep himself within touching distance of the Matchplay but it's really reliant on making Hamburg and having a run at this stage, van Duijvenbode won his board again, don't know what's clicked there but he didn't seem to be having double troubles when I was watching on the stream board, while Adam Hunt made a quarter final from nowhere, which aside from a deciding leg win over Steve West was mostly a fortunate draw thing.

Overall in the weekend, Alan Norris only picked up a grand, but as his Matchplay chances are reliant on Adrian Lewis doing something and he only picked up 500 quid (Deller's bokking extending to this weekend as well it seems) it's probably a bit too much for Lewis to overhaul him, given he only has the one shot in Europe. It's also need Kim Huybrechts and Darren Webster to edge past him, they're not far behind but Huybrechts at least isn't showing any inclination to be able to do so. Sven Groen's now 0-14, how far will this run go?

Everything's in the master computer, interesting to see who has the best points per turn over the weekend - if we say a minimum of 25 legs played (just to troll Paul Nicholson and exclude him), the top 10 are, from the bottom to the top, Gabriel Clemens, Ian White, Peter Wright, Dave Chisnall, Mensur Suljovic, Jason Lowe, Martin Schindler, Ron Meulenkamp, Rob Cross and Jermaine Wattimena. Probably some names you expected up there, also some that regular readers might expect but casuals wouldn't, but the order's got to surprise you?

New FRH rankings:

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

Not a huge deal of change. White edges over Chisnall by less than a grand after finalling on Saturday, Chisnall's quarter not quite being enough to get him back over Ian. Cullen only needed to match what Huybrechts did to gain the spot, getting the extra grand over the weekend is just a bonus, but he's very close to van Barneveld for the top 16 and should get above him before the Matchplay guaranteed unless Barney shows up for something. There is only three grand separating Jamie Lewis, King, Henderson, Klaasen and Bunting in the 21-25 bracket, Wattimena's runs have taken him to number 31 on the rankings and very close to Justin Pipe, van Duijvenbode's weekend has placed him just outside the top 80 by only 100 points or so.

I'm tempted to do some in depth Matchplay qualification scenarios, but as they mostly write themselves and the World Cup is on I probably won't bother with it. Be back later in the week for Copenhagen previews.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Players Championship 13 - World Champion wins tournament shocker

Weird how that the clear second best player in the world, who is putting up clearly the second best averages in the world, has actually won an event. Seems some people don't quite get the huge amount of variance there is in a short race format, heck it may possibly be the only reason I make money on betting darts at all, but for those who are of the "Cross luckboxed one tournament and is a fish on a heater" mentality, he's won one.

It was overall a very weird day - Wright went out first round. Smith went out first round. Dootson and Darbyshire won games. Crazy stuff. White made what was a weird final, going from 4-0 to 4-4 to 6-4, but his appearance in that stage is not unexpected, given how much I've been raving about his game in recent months. Jermaine Wattimena reached the semi final, and by all accounts should have reached the final, getting down to 47 after nine darts against White while leading 5-4 on throw, but being unable to pin the winning double. Shame, as while the longer term stats indicated that he was basically killing a lot in six visits and taking what was given rather than imposing himself on the game, here he had the best adjusted average of anyone on the day (Wright excepted but he only played one game) - 98 flat with seven twelve or better dart legs on the day is a pretty decent standard. The score's now lifted him into the top 32 on the FRH rankings.

Elsewhere, Dirk van Duijvenbode made the quarters, riding his luck a bit in winning three last leg deciders, but hopefully this gives him the confidence to kick on. After Wattimena, the best adjusted average of people to get out of the first round was Martin Schindler - playing some great stuff including a demolition job on Mensur Suljovic, before running into Ian White at the last 16 stage. Bunting also showed some more recent signs that he's getting back to his best in his semi final run, running into a Cross-shaped wall at that stage, but there's enough of an indication that he's getting things back together and isn't one you may want to face in the Matchplay. Interesting return to the quarters for Peter Jacques as well, averaging more or less the same as van Duijvenbode but getting there when it mattered. Lennon, Cullen and Clemens also put in better numbers than their finishing positions suggested.

Tomorrow's a new day, and it's a big one before possibly the most important ten days of the year so far - that period with two European Tour events on back to back weekends with two Players Championship events sandwiched in between is critical, as they're the last events before the Matchplay. We had the UK qualifier for ET9 (the last one before the cutoff, we already knew the ET8 lineup) on Friday, Norris didn't make it so, having not made Copenhagen either, is just reliant on tomorrow and the two midweek PC events to get home, as he's not even close on Pro Tour rankings. Beating Pipe and then losing to Meulenkamp today isn't inspiring. Looking at Burton's table, he should still be safe as he's reliant on both Webster and Huybrechts to do more than him going forward (although he has less than a grand of wiggle room there), and would need Adrian Lewis to close an effective ten grand gap. Then again, it's not like Lewis hasn't won ten grand in one event recently.

On the cutoff for the Pro Tour places, Keegan Brown did himself a world of good by getting to Hamburg, while Lennon and, more critically, North, did themselves no favours. They did lose in the last round 6-4 and 6-5 but should be beating Martin Atkins and Paul Rowley. Dobey added a second shot having already made Copenhagen, but other than him it's mostly Euros that are just outside. Payne and Jame Lewis missed out and are probably too far behind at this stage.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Guess who's back, back again, Adie's back, tell a friend

It didn't work out for him in the final, but Adrian Lewis is at least back chucking at a decent level, and while he couldn't really get close to van Gerwen, he at least has been able to push up several rankings as a result of this run. Got to start to worry Norris that Lewis has just put a 10k dent in the gap there was between the two given Norris's weak Pro Tour ranking, he's going to desperately need something going forward to grab one of the last seeds.

Steve West and Paul Nicholson certainly will be happy with their weekends, although Paul's got to be thinking what could have been after breaking in the penultimate leg, starting off 140 then not being able to leave a finish after twelve darts, with Adie going out in 14 that was very costly.

I feel like I don't really review individual games too much, so I'll give that a try:

van Gerwen/Clayton - even enough through the first four legs but van Gerwen clearly looked the better player, Clayton then missed one dart at tops to break in the fifth as part of a double-double 100 out combination, it then all went downhill from there - missing double 14 to hold and letting van Gerwen in on 82 to get a break, a regulation 15 dart hold followed to put Michael on the hill, Clayton had the chance to extend the game but his scoring deserted him, allowing van Gerwen to clean up 75 on his sixth visit for the match.

West/Cross - how to average 10 points lower than your opponent and win. West has the darts and both players had one dart to break in each of the first three legs, all of which were scrappy, before Cross's finishing deserted him in the fourth and he misses six darts to equalise, West breaking in six visits. Cross breaks straight back with West unable to consolidate the break with mediocre scoring, and it's then routine holds from there, West getting another four visit deciding leg to ice the game.

Price/Nicholson - slow first couple of legs, Nicholson's able to get some scoring going and leave 121 after nine in the third, he can't finish on the bull but Price isn't able to hit a big 149 out and Nicholson gets the break in five visits. Price breaks straight back in the same as Nicholson's scoring falls apart, but his scoring goes away and he misses a dart for 170 to hold as Paul makes it 3-2. Price has the chance to get on level terms but misses four darts at double as Nicholson makes it 4-2, and breaks again to go one away after Price can't kill 74 to hold. Paul's set up play disappears in leg 8 as Price gets one break back, and his scoring goes away in the ninth as Price holds in six visits. In leg 10, with Nicholson drakking around on 228 after twelve darts, Price hits nine perfect darts - a maximum to leave 103, 103 out, and then kicks off the decider with a maximum, but despite a 140 follow up he can't finish the game - missing six match darts to allow Nicholson to clean up double sixteen in his sixth visit and advance.

Lewis/Wright - pretty routine game through five legs with it going on serve to 3-2 Lewis, he's then able to break in the sixth after Wright misses three clear at 32 which he'd left after twelve. He immediately rectifies matters with a 140-140-140-81 out break back, but proceeds to miss two darts at tops in the next and Lewis pins tops to get his break back, sealing a 6-3 win on double 12 after Wright can only leave 140 after five visits.

van Gerwen/West - couple of routine five dart holds to start, before van Gerwen misses three darts to make it 2-1 and West steps in to break with a 76 out. West holds a scrappy fourth leg, before van Gerwen puts on the afterburners - back to back four visit finishes in legs six and seven get things back on throw, and a fifteen dart break seals the game in leg six with West unable to leave an out after twelve darts. An eleven dart ninth leg puts van Gerwen one leg from victory, and a solid tenth leg from West is just delaying the inevitable as van Gerwen hits tops to move to the final.

Nicholson/Lewis - Lewis got an immediate break, missing bull for a 167 but cleaning up in fourteen, neither player is able to threaten the other's throw until the eighth leg. Nicholson, after a great twelve darter the leg before, slots in a maximum to leave 24 after twelve darts, Lewis can't finish 164 and we're at 4-4. The Asset can't pin tops to hold and Adie finishes last dart in fifteen to break straight back, and leaves himself tops after twelve in the next leg, cleaning it up to lead 6-4. Nicholson finishes 121 on the bull for another twelve dart leg with Jackpot waiting on 100 for the match, and then equalises with a 128 out on the same target after Lewis misses two match darts. The decider is a horror show as Nicholson, after starting with 140, can't find a treble in his next three visits, while a 180 from Lewis is enough to give him time to finish on tops.

van Gerwen/Lewis - one sided really. van Gerwen held in five, broke in four, held in six before Lewis got on the board with a ten dart leg. van Gerwen makes it 4-1 with a five visit kill, before ending the game as a contest with another break, Lewis missing four darts at double to hold. van Gerwen slots in another twelve dart leg to make it 6-1 in the race to eight, Lewis is able to hold and recover to 6-2 as van Gerwen's going through the motions, but it's routine from there, van Gerwen pinning double twelve for the title with an eleven dart leg.

New FRH rankings:

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

As mentioned earlier, Klaasen's gone and down to 23 (and falling). West is up to #26 following his semi final, another player now ahead of Benito van de Pas, Nicholson rises to #66, while Boulton and Barnard crack into the top 90, with Mike de Decker holding on in the top 100.

Evetts got his third title of the year by claiming the last Development Tour event of the weekend. Scary how he's cleaning up, qualified for the worlds, but didn't get a tour card at Q-School. Maybe it's making him stronger? Who knows.

I'll update the Second Division Darts rankings shortly. One thing I might do for next season is add another tier of it, and have a third division, but only eligible to players under 30. Thoughts?

Gibraltar final session, ah, that's better

Only the Dobey bet missing is quite the result and more than makes up for yesterday. Cullen's got to be kicking himself for missing all those match darts, but we'll take it. If you get a chance, rewatch the Lewis/Wade match, one of the better games we've seen all year.

So we're at the quarter final stage - here's what we've got:

I wouldn't have thought the model would only give van Gerwen one out of every three wins, but it's a pretty short format - heck, Clayton won the last meeting between the two over the same distance, Cross clearly would have the game to beat him, and anyone from the bottom half (with the possible exception of Nicholson, but even then the model's giving Nicholson about a one in six shot at it) could do so on their day. Wright looks to be the pick from the bottom half, and looked in decent nick against Dobey, but Lewis will be no pushover as he looks to climb back up the Pro Tour rankings, and you can guarantee Price would give him a game.

This table obviously gives you the projections which I can directly compare to the odds - 0.1u Clayton 7/1 just because, otherwise the market has Cross/West at 75/25 which is near as damnit to what I'm getting, it's got Price at 8/13 which, if I've done my maths right, is 62% give or take a fraction of a percent, so no value there either, and they've got Wright at the same price as well. They're giving nothing away here, and as I'm going to the pub soon I won't be about to look at the semis, but you can extrapolate what the model would have said from these figures if you want to punt on it. As a result, we're booking a 1.5 unit profit for Gibraltar, unless Clayton does pull the upset, in which case it's 2.3 units, and a new high water mark in terms of career profit. Which would be nice.

One thing I would note away from Gibraltar which I should have done yesterday is that it's been a pretty good weekend for German darts - Schindler booked a double on the Development Tour yesterday, and Unterbuchner won the Swiss Open on the BDO side. On the Development Tour, Ryan Meikle's bagged the first one today, which gives him a second title at that level, and Rowby made the final, so maybe he'll make a bit of a comeback at higher levels. Last one's still in the running but I'll let you know who grabbed it when I do a roundup later today. Worth noting that Adie's back in the top 20 of the FRH rankings as we speak, knocking out Jamie Lewis who had knocked out Jelle Klaasen (who's now also below Mervyn King). He'll stay there unless West wins the title, so...

Gibraltar day 3 - Murphy's Law

Not a good day 2 after a great day 1. Didn't need much to change to be good - think I was clearly on the right side of the Wade/Smith game, Smith leading 5-3 but not getting the last leg he needed (should have been leg 9, with Wade offering Smith eighteen darts to win but Smith wasn't even on a double after then, Wade was clinical in 10/11 to be fair). Huckvale didn't show up outside of the big kill he had in the one leg he won, White/Hopp was a poor game where Ian never really got going outside of a couple of legs spell midway through, and Smith/Wattimena, I have no idea what happened there. Pity Smith didn't get his twelve darter in the last leg when he needed it, rather than the tenth, where he didn't, Jermaine was just good enough to get enough legs home in fifteen darts and took advantage of missed doubles in leg 8. Pretty much the perfect storm of things happening for him to win it.

End result is we are ever so slightly up, about an eighth of a unit. Both Smith's getting home would have changed that to up over a unit and a half, such is the way things go. A few interesting results other than those that we looked at, people were drooling over Cullen's average, but that's heavily inflated as in three legs he killed with the first dart of the visit, Vincent actually put up a bit of a fight against van Gerwen until Michael pulled away as only Michael can. I say that, but Cross did similar to get out of a huge hole against Cristo Reyes. West played really well in beating Darren Webster, although he didn't particularly think so in his post match interview, a clinical twelve dart leg in the decider on throw is as much as you can ask for in that situation really. Boulton beating Bunting was a little bit of a surprise, Nicholson got through Chisnall but didn't play that great in doing so, Barnard was OK but Wright gave him nothing, and Dobey's reached the final day, but only got the one leg in fifteen darts and (conventional) averaged under 85 in a sluggish game. Let's see what we have today:

van Gerwen/Boulton - Kind of a hilarious match. Boulton may actually be value at 13/1 but he doesn't really strike me as the sort of player that would actually believe he can pull this upset.

Clayton/Hopp - Bookies have this match between two winners on the European Tour as a flip (hands up if you thought that sentence would be used at the start of the year. Anyone? Nope? Good). Clayton wasn't really tested at all against Schnier, Hopp should have been against White but wasn't, I've got Clayton as having a bit of an edge here, the model really doesn't like Hopp at all as he's not finishing legs too quickly at all. With this price I can't not bet - 0.25u Clayton evs.

Gurney/West - Talked a bit about West's game earlier, Gurney came through a slugfest against World Cup partner Brendan Dolan, leaving it quite late to get the break he needed but doing so and getting home 6-4. The bookies favour Gurney quite a bit more than I think they should - they have him at 2/5 when I think West can get home more than 35% of the time. It's a tempting underdog bet, and with West playing what I thought was well but also with him having motivation to be better, I think it's worth a shot - 0.25u West 13/5.

Cross/Whitlock - Cross put in three twelve dart legs against Reyes to rally from a 5-2 deficit, while Whitlock didn't need to get out of second gear against Adam Huckvale, the line is similar to the Gurney/West line. I've got this as around 70/30, which isn't quite enough to bet on Whitlock.

Wattimena/Price - Jermaine edged past Michael Smith as described above, while Price was relatively untroubled against Mike de Decker, with Wattimena getting that win it's a surprisingly tight line. I've got Price winning nearly three out of four trials, which makes this automatic - 0.25u Price 4/6.

Cullen/Nicholson - The European Tour specialist eased past Labanauskas 6-1, while the Asset got through Dave Chisnall, getting a key break midway through the game to give him a decent lead and diving over the line 6-4. Cullen's listed as having about a 2-1 edge, I think it's a bit closer than that, getting Nicholson to just above a 40% chance. We're being offered good odds here, and while I'd like to see what the model would throw out if we just filtered on Cullen's stats in the European Tour, I think we have to go with this - 0.25u Nicholson 21/10.

Lewis/Wade - Two players having somewhat of a resurgence after a poor 2017, Wade's done a bit more than Lewis in terms of making notable runs, and the market finds it hard to split the two. Lewis looked really solid against Suljovic taking out five of his six won legs in fifteen darts or less, and Wade struggled to get past Ross Smith. I'd have thought the model would say bet Lewis given how it works, and then I'd need to account for consistency and the sorts of things the model doesn't account for, but it's calling it a coinflip as well, so no bets here.

Wright/Dobey - Last game up, Dobey is definitely going to need to play better to keep this close, he needs what he threw against Lennon rather than what he did against King. At least we know the game is there. We're offered a good price here with the market thinking Wright wins more than three out of four, and I don't think he wins two out of three. I'll be a bit cautious given how they played yesterday, but 0.1u Dobey 10/3 regardless.

Mostly underdog punts here, but we only really need one to hit to stay level and then think that the Clayton and Price bets get home. Let's go!