Sunday, 17 September 2017

World Grand Prix draw

It's out, and given the limited number of seeds in relation to the field size, it's thrown up quite a few interesting first round ties - the seeds can easily get a top 10 player in the opening round, as Adrian Lewis has found with Daryl Gurney, similar with Dave Chisnall and Jelle Klaasen, while it also offers the opportunity for lesser or out of form players to draw another and have a chance of getting a run going, as Alan Norris and Justin Pipe have (well, until they likely meet Michael van Gerwen in the second round). The double in format also gives opportunities for surprise results, particularly with the first few rounds being on the short side, particularly the opener being a rapid race to two sets - if your opponent is getting away pretty well, it only takes one leg of yours where you kick off with three misses at double and you're out pretty quickly.

I'm going to post up the chances of each player winning a set on their throw if it was a normal format - as such, I'll also list each player's double percentage this season based on the table of ochepedia's mentioned previously (thanks for replying with North's figure by the way), and you can think about how to adjust winning percentages from there. As an aside, I'd think that the figures for starting will be higher than these - you can always aim for your favourite double to start, and can switch if you miss in such a way that you block things horribly (mostly thinking those players who have a flat angle of entry who like tops).

Michael van Gerwen (82.2% to win set on throw, 43.1% doubles) v John Henderson (29.1%, 38.9%)
Alan Norris (72%, 33%) v Justin Pipe (42%, 26.3%)
Raymond van Barneveld (63.8%, 38.5%) v Kyle Anderson (51.2%, 37.5%)
Steve Beaton (50.3%, 40.7%) v Rob Cross (64%, 36.6%)
Dave Chisnall (67.4%, 37.6%) v Jelle Klaasen (46%, 37.7%)
Robert Thornton (42.7%, 31.8%) v Kim Huybrechts (69.5%, 37%)
Adrian Lewis (75.3%, 38.5%) v Daryl Gurney (37.9%, 38.1%)
Joe Cullen (59.9%, 40.7%) v Darren Webster (55.3%, 35%)
Gary Anderson (94.3%, 40.9%) v Richard North (11.5%, 31.9%)
Simon Whitlock (74.4%, 39%) v Christian Kist (39.5%, 36.5%)
Michael Smith (65.9%, 36.8%) v Gerwyn Price (48.3%, 34.2%)
Benito van de Pas (51.9%, 41%) v Cristo Reyes (63.3%, 41.8%)
Mensur Suljovic (64.2%, 38.3%) v Ian White (51.1%, 44%)
Steve West (50.7%, 36.8%) v James Wade (62.3%, 38%)
Peter Wright (73.8%, 41.3%) v Stephen Bunting (40.7%, 33.8%)
Mervyn King (70.3%, 39%) v Ronny Huybrechts (43.4%, 34.5%)

Early thoughts (no bets yet, will wait for data from Riesa and there's very few lines up at this stage, although scanning bwin I'll point out if anything looks OK):
- Henderson is going to need to be on top of his game to stand a chance, but looking at those numbers it's not completely drawing dead, even if you assume that the difference in doubling knocks Henderson's chances of winning his set down to, say, 25%, that's still a one in sixteen chance if he wins the bull, ignoring the possibility of breaking the van Gerwen set.
- Big chance for both of these to get a few extra grand, Norris to solidify his top 16 spot and Pipe to stick around in the top 32, both seem quite bad at doubles and aren't in the best of form so this could end up in a deciding set.
- Bit of a big game here, neither can be that happy with the draw, Raymond should have an edge but it's not by that much.
- Two form players clashing here, should again be quite even, think Cross has the small edge but if Beaton can get going then anything goes.
- Interesting one between two players who score well but who can double badly (ironically their stats are real similar), will just be a case of who's able to keep things consistent for the small race to two.
- Another couple of players who are a bit inconsistent - Thornton's got course and distance, but really shouldn't be here at all, Huybrechts' form has been quite mediocre as well. If he hits doubles well enough at both ends he should have too much, but it's a big if.
- Lewis against Gurney in round one, jesus. Jackpot comes up good on my stats a lot as he's either unplayable, or really mediocre (his games yesterday seem like a perfect example of it), Gurney averages better in losing legs. Bookies have it even, which given Gurney's form and homefield advantage seems not too unreasonable, but this should still be a Lewis bet. Probably.
- Cullen and Webster are both playing decent in what looks like one of the closest games of the first round. Cullen's double figures could be the difference, it's a bit better, nobody questions Webster's scoring, he's just got to be in a position to use it.
- North is here but probably one and done, Anderson should just be far too good. On what I've seen of North, he simply doesn't score highly enough to threaten.
- Decent draw for both Whitlock and Kist, Whitlock looking to solidify a place in the top 16 while Kist is knocking on the door of the top 32. Whitlock could be a bet, he seems to have more of an edge than the current line suggests.
- Smith/Price could be tasty. Two confidence players, difference could be form, Smith's upswinging a bit whereas Price isn't quite at his peak level.
- Benito badly needs a result here, and Reyes isn't the player he'd want to face at this stage. It's the only game between players with over 40% on doubling, so it shouldn't be a cagey affair, it may well be a close one though, with Benito likely drawing some confidence from his recent European Tour run.
- Another game against solid, consistent players who can double in Suljovic and White, White is very much live in this one, although Suljovic has answered a lot of questions that were flying around in terms of form yesterday to ease through to the Cardiff exbo semi finals.
- Wade isn't seeded but got an alright draw, thing is with Wade is that even with alright draws today he's not going to be a name that'll scare anyone. Could be worth a West punt, he performed great here last year.
- Wright can't be too displeased with this draw, but he's not that big a favourite that he can mess around missing doubles as he did again today, Bunting's good enough on his day to pressure, and he'll know he needs to make a TV run sooner rather than later.
- Have mentioned that King has been playing well a few times on here of recent, he cannot complain at getting Ronny Huybrechts, who's a fair bit weaker in all aspects of the game than King, the line I see doesn't even have this as a 2-1 game, it might be a King bet.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Mannheim round up

Another 25 grand for Michael van Gerwen, as Rob Cross reaches a first European final, continuing his incredible first professional season. Before I give out awards, I'm up for the weekend, but not even a quarter of a unit, van der Voort really should have made it home throwing at 4-1, can't really complain about the positions most of my lost bets got into.

Best player performance: Rob Cross absolutely killed it this weekend. Getting six twelve darters out of 27 legs won, and another eighteen in fifteen darts or less, is quite the solid scoring. Averaged a cool 96 when losing legs as well. Truly elite stuff. Worthy of mention is van Gerwen obviously, some of the Dutch lads did better than expected.

Best single match performance: Michael van Gerwen in the final. Three twelve darters, was waiting on a double in two of the three legs he lost (one having missed a dart at 14's for another twelve) and 25 in the other having missed bull for yet another twelve darter. Amazing stuff, and absolutely needed to handle Cross in this form. Darren Webster came very close to this, with identical winning legs to van Gerwen, although that was in round one. Kyle Anderson against Kim Huybrechts wasn't bad either.

Worst player performance: Most of the seeds got through so this is somewhat limited, Alan Norris probably takes it for his 75 average in going out 6-3 to Darren Webster. Wright and Chisnall both went out by fairly large scores, but weren't playing bad, Norris was. A mention to Richard North as well, while he was never beating van Gerwen, he never even threatened to get close and would have been 9-0 down to 15 Dart Bot in the opener as well.

Worst single match performance: Kyle Anderson was very disappointing against Jelle Klaasen, Max Hopp was gifted a great draw and didn't do it yet again, Andrew Gilding really struggled against Vincent van der Voort. Will give it to Anderson, if only because it was off the back of two fantastic performances to get there - that loss came out of nowhere.

New adjusted FRH rankings:

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

Lower down, Rob Cross gains just the one place over Grand Prix make up the numbers merchant Robert Thornton (Taylor's confirmed out, who just has the one competitive event left before the worlds in the Grand Slam), while van der Voort gains no places but has closed a bit of a gap to a clump of people from 31st to 35th.

The Grand Prix seeds make interesting reading - if they all win through we'd have van Gerwen/van Barneveld, Anderson/Smith, Wright/Suljovic and Lewis/Chisnall. The first two have their own tales told for them, while the Wright game features two of the most solid players on the circuit who'll not throw too much bad stuff, while Lewis/Chisnall could be explosive or they could each need three visits to kick off.

Elsewhere, Wayne Jones and Mark Dudbridge have regained tour cards for next year following the end of the Challenge Tour, while the remainder of the top 8 who get free Q-School slots is a right mix of young and old names, with Tabern, Frost, McDine contrasting with Peter Jacques, Luke Humphries and Aaron Dyer.

Next week sees the Champions League exhibition which is only useful for a Taylor form check, before we return to European action in Riesa (as mentioned previously, coverage will be limited to non-existent as I'm at the event on the Sunday and in Germany the whole time) then the Grand Prix kicks off the following week. In terms of the Grand Prix, I've seen an interesting table that Chris Kempf (@ochepedia on Twitter) has made of season-long doubling percentages. Of the qualifiers, it reads (in this order) White, van Gerwen, Reyes, Wright, van de Pas, G Anderson, Cullen, Beaton, Whitlock, King, Henderson, van Barneveld, Lewis, Suljovic, Gurney, Wade, Klaasen, Chisnall, K Anderson, K Huybrechts, West, Smith, Cross, Kist, Webster, R Huybrechts, Price, Bunting, Norris, Thornton, Pipe (Richard North lacking enough stage attempts to feature). These figures swing from 44% at the top end (equating to 82.5% chance of getting away in your first visit) to 26% at the bottom end (or just a 60% chance of getting away in the first visit). I'm not going to bet hard on the event, as it's super high variance, the formats are surprisingly short and I've historically done badly, but having this order will be somewhat useful in terms of tweaking things once the draw is out. Not that I'd be rushing to bet the bottom of the list, but some of those higher up are a bit surprising and may swing no bets to small punts.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Mannheim final session

Much like yesterday, particularly in the evening session, there were a few one-sided affairs in the last 16, but our quarter final lineup is set, and here's what I make of it:

Ian White - Rob Cross: Cross has been one of the standout performers so far this weekend, only dropping five legs and checking out eleven out of twelve legs in under fifteen darts, three of which were twelve darters all coming at crucial times to ice each of his matches, but White also hit a critical twelve darter in his win over Daryl Gurney in the deciding leg. He's been steadier and very solid, the master computer is reckoning White takes this 31% of the time, Cross 42% of the time with the remainders being deciding legs - Cross on the betting markets is slightly better than a 60-40 favourite so that line looks plum, no bets here. Should be tight, think Cross just nicks it.

Benito van de Pas - Vincent van der Voort: van de Pas didn't need to do too much against Jamie Caven, the only legs he lost were twelve darters from nowhere but in the rest Caven didn't really pressure, against Webster he stepped it up somewhat. van der Voort's had the extra game, easily beating Gilding with just one fifteen darter, winning from a lost position against King with a good last five legs, and earlier he whitewashed Ronny Huybrechts, although he only had the two legs in under fifteen darts, the final leg being a twelve when the match was done. The odds have Benito as a favourite, but I have van der Voort having a slight edge instead. This is over a year's worth of data - recent form would make you think that Benito's not playing so well while Vincent's back seems fine and he's getting better. I think it's worth a small play - 0.25u van der Voort 5/4.

Simon Whitlock - Michael Smith: The only game where the top seeds in their sections meet, Whitlock had no trouble against Daniel Larsson, he played better against Aspinall today, with a clean run of four fifteen dart legs to pull ahead enough to clinch the game. Smith survived a scare against Jamie Lewis where every leg went with throw, and took advantage of Joe Cullen having an off day, playing alright after the first comedy leg to claim a 3-1 lead, then didn't need any fifteen darters to grab the last three. Smith's installed as a small favourite, while my stats have it as a coinflip, maybe with Whitlock having the slight edge. This could go the distance, perhaps even to a decider, I'm just not feeling Whitlock's form quite enough to warrant a bet.

Michael van Gerwen - Jelle Klaasen: van Gerwen's lost just two legs so far, it could have been more but Price let van Gerwen break him in six visits twice, if he cleans those up as he should (he had six clear darts at double in the two combined) it's 4-4 and he has the throw and anything can happen. Jelle stuffed Kyle Anderson 6-1 earlier but didn't have to play well to do it, don't know what was up with Anderson today because, while I didn't watch the game, his numbers against Kim Huybrechts were great, and Klaasen got through a tricky opener against Jamie Bain in a topsy turvy game where if either player was able to put a run together of holds in fifteen darts they claim it easy. van Gerwen is obviously a huge favourite, and the line looks to be set just about right where we can't print money by betting the favourite, or go micro and hope for the upset.

Still yet to hear anything official in relation to Taylor playing Dublin (I think the scenario right now is it's either him or Thornton that plays as a result of his decision, enough money's been made by those near the Pro Tour cutoff that Thornton can't now back door his way in), meanwhile elsewhere the BDO are having a decent sized event as they build up to the World Masters, and I should also mention Paul Hogan won that Red Dragon sponsored Champion of Champions event, such a shame that he's not interested in punting at the PDC circuit.

Doubt I post anything before the semis/final, the only game that would be of real betting interest would be the first semi final assuming van Gerwen doesn't get upset, NFL's on which'll distract my attention on Sunday evenings.

Mannheim final day

Some brief bets:

0.25u White 9/4 vs Gurney, this seems like a big overreaction to Gurney's recent form. White hasn't been playing at his peak, but was very good yesterday and thinking that he can grab this one times in three isn't a ridiculous statement.

0.5u Webster evs vs van de Pas, this is a simple form bet, Webster was great on Friday, and while he'll not need to miss a trillion doubles as he was allowed to vs Norris yesterday, Benito didn't do enough against Caven to make me think that he's back at the level where he wins this half the time.

Aspinall seems close but his price is a lot closer than yesterday where it seemed obvious to bet him, so I won't, the Huybrechts/van der Voort game seems very interesting but I don't know what to make of it. Real shame King managed to throw it away to deny a double, from 5-2 he should take it, but Vincent held in 12 which you're not beating, managed to take out 124 on the bull with King waiting on 32, missed a dart for another hold in 12 and cleaned up next visit, then King inexplicably missed three match darts in the decider. Oh well, still up for the day.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Mannheim day 1 recap, day 2 thoughts

Very quick as I'm off to football in 15 minutes:

- For the love of god Hopp, after sun running with the draw and getting Caven (PDC Europe Facebook obviously posted the draw wrong, contradicting my previous post), he lets Caven win five legs in six visits? You're better than this Max.
- Must be nice to be Mick McGowan, being in the high 200's with Schindler on a finish after botching a nine darter, throwing fifty-something or there abouts, then next visit hearing "Mick you require 144". Now maybe Schindler might not be paying attention to McGowan's score, but surely a combination of McGowan, Noble (I think he was ref) and the scorer have got to think for a second "wait, Mick required two trebles to leave a finish, hit no trebles, how is he on a finish?"
- Webster looked really, really good, three straight twelve dart legs, then breaking in fifteen in a decider after Meikle broke him to force it. He's got to fancy his chances against Norris today.
- Taylor might not be playing Dublin. That'd be an interesting one which throws all sorts of spanners into the works, primarily helping Ronny Huybrechts if true.
- Jamie Lewis/Andy Boulton was a surprisingly good quality game, particularly in the later stages, worth a watch back if you have the time. Similarly with Ratajski/Owen but I think most people would have called that one as being quality.
- Andrew Gilding really is struggling, Vincent didn't need to do much at all to cruise to a 6-2 victory.

For today, two bets I like:

0.25u Aspinall 7/2 vs Chisnall - Nathan looked good against Roith yesterday, and Chizzy's had a bit of a break so may be a bit rusty, seems worth the shot.
0.5u King 19/25 vs van der Voort - King's been playing well the last few months, and I don't think Vincent was really tested yesterday, or has been playing to the standard where King doesn't beat the line.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Five things to watch for in Mannheim

The draw is out, and while at this stage I have no news on the German domestic qualifier, there's a few things to watch out for:

1) Can Ronny Huybrechts reach Dublin?

This is going to be a tough one - he needs to reach the last 16 as a minimum (to overcome Richard North, who's ahead on countback - if North beats Mick Todd he'll need a quarter final, if North beats Mick Todd and then Michael van Gerwen then tear up everything), and while Zoran Lerchbacher isn't the hardest draw he could get, it certainly won't be an easy game, and then he'd run into Peter Wright in round two. He's also right on the borderline for making Hasselt, so at least getting the first round win is very important for the Belgian's ranking.

2) Will Robert Thornton survive as a Dublin seed? Or player full stop?

Alan Norris and Simon Whitlock need one win between them to nudge him down to the Pro Tour qualification spots - Norris has a potential banana skin against Darren Webster or Ryan Meikle, whoever it is and especially how he's been playing on the Euro Tour this year, while Whitlock faces either a home nation qualifier or Daniel Larsson, he who whitewashed Justin Pipe earlier this year. You'd think Whitlock should win at least, so it's then down to the Pro Tour race - Thornton is done at £30,500, and the most likely way he goes out is if Richard North wins one game and Ronny Huybrechts wins two. He should be fine.

3) Will the commentators mention Mannheim's ridiculous road naming system?

Seriously, go onto Google Maps right now. I stayed a night there while watching Kaiserslautern last year and it's a huge mess.

4) Can the domestic qualifiers do anything?

As mentioned above, one faces Daniel Larsson, which is feasible, another has a great draw in Jamie Caven, then Benito van de Pas followed by the winner of the aforementioned Norris section, one has Mick McGowan which might be on, but would then face Mensur, and the final one has an in-form Nathan Aspinall into Dave Chisnall combination which'll be the toughest of the lot in my opinion. The easy section is, if PDC Europe's draw that was posted literally minutes ago corresponds with the qualifier numbering, the section that Schindler would head in to, so their best player right now (sorry Max, do something) getting the best opportunity is interesting.

5) Last week's quarter finalists clash!

Ratajski's facing Owen in round one in an amusing draw, both would have to fancy both this and Gerwyn Price in the second round. Ratajski's closing in on the worlds which would likely secure him a tour card, and every penny here counts as he's only in one more event that counts to the Pro Tour rankings, while Owen is looking to gain ground on the top 32 in the Euro Tour rankings for Hasselt qualification.

May be some bets later when odds get out, can't see anything yet and obviously four matches are yet to be

Monday, 4 September 2017

Maastricht aftermath

Michael van Gerwen claimed yet another title, but what awards shall I give?

Best player performance: A lot of good contenders here. van Gerwen was in pretty hot form, nailing 23/30 won legs in fifteen darts, Robert Owen and Krzysztof Ratajski had great runs, but I'm giving it to Steve Beaton for his final run. After grinding out the first two rounds, his Sunday was very good, ending close to a ton average against Schindler, then slotting in 10/12 legs against Henderson and Wright in fifteen darts or less, averaging three figures in both games. van Gerwen would be a game too far, but this result will solidify Beaton's position in a lot of rankings for the next twelve months.

Best single match performance: Beaton's semi final with three twelve dart legs is up there, Whitlock against West, Aspinall against van de Pas and van Gerwen against Gurney were all very high quality, while Kyle Anderson blitzed Justin Pipe in the performance of the opening day, but it has to go to Ratajski against Kist - as mentioned previously, nobody apart from van Gerwen has managed to win every leg on the European Tour this year in under fifteen darts while getting three twelve darters at the same time, an incredibly impressive feat.

Worst player performance: Benito van de Pas was very disappointing, only getting one leg against Nathan Aspinall and averaging under 90. He'd have needed to be on point to have beaten Aspinall as he played, but he never gave himself a chance.

Worst single match performance: Jamie Bain wasn't able to win a single leg, which is surprising given that Owen only got one leg in less than fifteen darts, an 84 average isn't great and I'd have thought on most days Bain beats the performance that Owen does - and who knows from there whether Bain would have been able to take advantage as Owen did?

Gained a fifth of a unit on the betting, basically purely down to getting Owen/Whitlock right. I'd transposed the stats in the career to date by accident on the right, so it was showing about half a unit better off than it should have been, this is now corrected.

New adjusted FRH rankings:

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

Of this weekend's competitors, Beaton climbs up to #23, Kyle Anderson climbs to #25, knocking Robert Thornton out, Kist and Henderson solidify spots in the top 35, Mike de Decker moves into the top 70, Martin Schindler is less than £500 outside the same, Ratajski and Aspinall move inside the top 80, while Robert Owen is just outside the top 90. Mannheim has become very interesting - it's the last event before the Grand Prix, and Robert Thornton is in some danger, but North and Huybrechts both losing opening round here has given him a slight bit of breathing room, and it's probably a case of if Ronny Huybrechts can make a last 16 run, which is the minimum he'd need to qualify with the way results have worked out. We're also now three quarters done with European Championship qualification, for which there's a very close battle for seedings which those who have a bye to the second round are involved in - only three grand separates Joe Cullen in sixth and Dave Chisnall in eleventh. It's also very tight for qualification as a whole, eight grand is currently enough, but James Richardson in 26th and Jonny Clayton in 38th are separated by just two grand. And, of course, this all counts towards qualification for the worlds, and the race for the Pro Tour spots is incredibly tight.