Sunday, 21 May 2017

Players Championship 11/12 aftermath

I think that most of this weekend's awards should be fairly controversial, not that any controversy can be made if nobody reads things anyway, but here we go:

Performance of the weekend - This is easily Rob Cross. A second Pro Tour title, coupled with a semi final and qualification for one of the European Tour events is easily the best performance. Such is his start for the season, it's incredibly likely that he won't need to qualify for another European event again - Burton's spreadsheet indicates he's currently at #17 on the relevant rankings. There's other contenders - Wright managed to win the other event, Whitlock had two quarters, as did Jonny Clayton, who was close to making both European events which were played for on Friday, losing out in one to a resurgent Mickey Mansell who had a great run today. Lower down the rankings, Andy Boulton did alright but I'll mention him later, Mansell did little wrong, Steve Lennon ran well along with Richard North, also Bryan de Hoog showed briefly why he was close to winning a tour card with two cashes, one for a last 16 run.

Best tournament performance - Andy Boulton for me. A Pro Tour semi final is a tricky thing to make, and he beat Cullen in round 1, Meulenkamp, Hine and de Hoog are no mugs, and then he turned over Suljovic before running into Daryl Gurney. Elsewhere, Ian White's final run is a contender, de Graaf had a nice Saturday as well.

Best single match perfomance - I have to give something to Peter Wright, and I'll give it for the semi final against Rob Cross, it seems as if he managed to win five out of the six legs he won in twelve darts or less, which is phenomenal throwing, regardless of how good you are. To do that two days after one of the most gutting events in your professional career makes it all the more special. Some people I'll mention in dispatches are Vincent van der Voort, who crushed Bunting 6-0, while he's not playing great, neither is Vincent, Mickey Mansell also managed a 6-1 win over Adrian Lewis, which can never be easy.

Worst weekend long performance - Adrian Lewis only winning £500 over the two Pro Tour events is close, although he did make both European Tour events. Whether he later withdraws is another question. I'll give it to Steve West though - messing up the one European Tour qualifier he was in, losing to Lee Bryant as the number 2 seed, then losing in the first round twice to Keegan Brown in the Pro Tour events. Caven deserves a mention, winning 1 leg in the two European Tour qualifiers, but at least he beat Stuart Kellett.

Worst single tournament performance - Wade losing to Searle seems like a good shout if we're not going to give it to Lewis for either of the fails mentioned above.

Current adjusted top 20:

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

Outside of the top 20, Terry Jenkins has now slipped to 27, Cross is now within the top 40, Clayton is within the top 45, and plenty of new names like Richard North, Peter Jacques and Steve Lennon are now solidly within the top 100.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

MvG versus the field

With Michael van Gerwen managing to win the Premier League from a lost position, and with the Matchplay being just around the corner, the question has to be can he be stopped, and can we not just print money by going for him to win it outright? Let's see.

The event isn't up on oddschecker yet, but checking on the sponsor's website, van Gerwen is an 8/11 favourite. I wouldn't imagine that others would have him that far off, but let's use that as a marker. If we want to have an edge betting van Gerwen at this price, we really need to know he'll win at least 60% of the time. Will he? I've taken the stats of all of the current Matchplay competitors and shoved them into the master computer and extrapolated the chances that the other 31 beat him at each stage of the tournament.

As far as the hardest run goes? The opening match (against a non-seed) would be against Kyle Anderson, where van Gerwen is projected to win 91.21% of the time. The only player who could drop out of the top 16 and be a tougher challenge is Whitlock, but we'll keep him as the last 16 opponent. Here, van Gerwen wins 90.9% of the time. Now we're into the quarter finals. There's a clutch of very good players who could reasonably get the 8/9 seed, but we'll go with van Barneveld, who's currently in one of those slots. van Gerwen wins this 81.35% of the time though and we plow forward to the semi finals. Here, the toughest opponent is Adrian Lewis, but van Gerwen still wins this match 83.45% of the time. In the final, Anderson is the clear toughest opponent, but van Gerwen still projects to win that tie 69.42% of the time.

Multiply all of these percentages together, and you have van Gerwen taking the title slightly less than two times out of five. Thus it's a horrible bet. But what if we have the easiest run possible? Here we've got to be a bit more realistic in terms of projecting opponents - let's say that, at most, a seed can advance one round further than than expected, and we only play against a non-seed in round 1. We open up with Ronny Huybrechts where van Gerwen has a 98.35% shot of advancing. In round 2, we'll say that Robert Thornton continues to drop down the rankings and is overtaken by Whitlock, putting Thornton at the #16 seed (dartsdatabase right now puts Whitlock five grand down on Thornton, which has been cut by a third already today thanks to Thornton's first round exit and Whitlock is still alive in the last 16). Thornton goes out 94.34% of the time. Now to the quarter finals, for which it becomes a touch trickier, as we've got to use an 8 or 9 seed. Klaasen isn't that far behind Suljovic, it'd only take a Pro Tour win or a European Tour final to be within a couple of grand of overhauling him, so not unrealistic. van Gerwen takes this one on 95.67% of occasions (for reference, if you think that Klaasen can't catch Suljovic, Suljovic wouldn't even win 10% of games). To the semi finals, and we have number 5 seed James Wade, who van Gerwen defeats at an unbelievable 98.67% clip. Then, in the final, he'll play Peter Wright - who van Gerwen beats 86.95% of the time.

Multiply all those up and you get van Gerwen binking more than three times out of four. That looks like a much better bet, but that even with the easiest reasonable draw, it's nowhere near the automatic win that some people might think.

Will round up Milton Keynes tomorrow night - big weekend already for Chris Dobey in terms of Matchplay qualification by getting the European Tour qualification double, Clayton got one and is in the last 16 today, Henderson also qualified twice and added on another grand earlier today.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Gibraltar aftermath

Well, I don't think anyone predicted Michael Smith claiming a fourth European Tour victory, but there you go - certainly rode his luck in some spots, but got over the line each time and gets a nice boost up the rankings to within a grand of my adjusted top 10. Good runs for Suljovic, getting back to his best form, Gurney with another deep run, and of course Magnus Caris making the final session from nowhere.

Best player performance: I'm giving this to Magnus Caris, while Smith is a good shout obviously, Caris was able to take out a Premier League player and a potential Premier League player, both in the adjusted top 10 as of today, a regional qualifier making the evening Sunday session is great work.

Best single match performance: Going to give it to Michael Smith against Rob Cross, three legs in under twelve, and he needed to do that with Cross averaging 106 in the legs he lost, an impressive standard.

Worst player performance: Could easily be Klaasen, but Caris did hit two twelves and a further two fifteens in their match, so it was going to take something quite good to prevent the Swede from winning, as such I'll give it to Wade - nobody else particularly stands out.

Worst single match performance: Mario Robbe could only get a 75 average in being whitewashed, but that was a big skill differential. Will go Bunting, while he should lose to Wright, he shouldn't get whitewashed.

New adjusted rankings:

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

Lower down, Terry Jenkins will be out of the top 25 soon, maybe even before those just below potentially add cash next weekend, James Wilson cracks the top 30, Dimitri van den Bergh is now in the top 45, Rob Cross is in the top 50 now. Darren Johnson is closing in on the top 60, Magnus Caris enters the top 70, while Martin Schindler enters the top 100 with Ratajski just a few hundred quid off that marker.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Gibraltar quarter finals and how good is Rob Cross

Nice win for Cross putting us close to a whole unit up for the tournament. This evening's quarter finals are as follows:

Wright/Johnson - Johnson's estimated at having less than a 12% chance of winning, I get him up to 11% to win before a deciding leg (these figures are from a new, fresh, up to the second table including this afternoon), with about 18% of legs getting to a decider. If he'd managed to beat Norris in more convincing fashion (Norris could have won any of the legs he lost just by finishing in fifteen darts) I might have a micro play, but he didn't, so I won't.

Smith/Cross - bookies have this evens for all intents and purposes. We're starting to get a decent sample on Cross now (more of which later), I'm up to over 60 legs won (by contrast Smith has twice as many) so I'm feeling confident enough on sample size. The calculator gives Smith as a good favourite - winning 44% before a last leg to Cross' 29%. Bearing in mind that all of the data on Cross comes from the UK Open and earlier, this seems representative of his current form, Smith I think is certainly playing well enough for this to be, if anything, an underestimate of his quality, so I think the Cross run ends here enough to bet - 0.5u Smith evs

Suljovic/Caris - Mensur is listed as an 80/20 favourite. Huge sample size problem for Caris in that we have this tournament and this tournament only, but I get Mensur at nearly 79% to win before we look at last leg wins. Caris is also really, really bad in the legs he doesn't win - averaging only 76. Suljovic is looking as good this weekend as he has done for a while so I think he continues a run here - 1u Suljovic 1/4

Wilson/Gurney - Daryl's about a 2/1 favourite, I have Wilson at 24% before a decider and Gurney at 50%. That's pretty much straight down the line, if it gets to a decider and they win the bull equally then there might be enough there for Wilson to be tiny value, but I'll leave this one.

So, Rob Cross. Already in my live top 50 after his victory over Chisnall, with the potential to climb another two places with just one win, he's taken the PDC by storm winning a title already and looking a cert for the Matchplay and all other major events in his first season. As mentioned, I now have over 60 legs of data when he is winning, and over 40 when he's losing. His stats are as follows:

Legs in 12 darts or less: 4.69%
Legs in 15 darts or less: 59.38%
Legs in 18 darts or less: 92.19%
Average when losing: 92.05

Straight off the bat, apart from being 0.03% behind on twelve darters, he beats Glen Durrant in every single category. The twelve dart finish is actually quite a low stat, but not necessarily a terminal one, there's plenty of high class players in single digits including Kyle Anderson (9.68%), Benito van de Pas (8.65%), James Wade (7.66%) and Alan Norris (6.54%), but nobody of note below 5%. There's only two players in the entire top 32 that are below that figure, Brendan Dolan (on 4.29%) and Justin Pipe (down on 1.49%). This could become an issue when running into a good player and he absolutely needs to break and the opponent will be killing in fifteen darts.

On the 15 dart percentage, this is a lot better, at just short of 60% he's easily in the top 20 in the database that has a good sample size, within 1% of Michael Smith, Jelle Klaasen, Daryl Gurney, Gerwyn Price and Joe Cullen, not a bad group of players to be among.

On the 18 dart percentage, he's not messing up too many legs at all, this is a better figure than Wade, van de Pas, Lewis, White etc, but it's the losing average which is really outstanding - this is in the top 10 of the whole database of players who've lost at least 20 legs, behind only the four that are at the O2 this Thursday (who are ranked 1-4 on this stat), Barney, Chisnall, Lewis and Suljovic. This indicates that he will be pushing opponents hard consistently - and in terms of consistency, it is within a tenth of a point of what he is doing when he wins the leg. If he can just convert one of every ten legs he finishes in five visits into one he finishes in four, then we're talking Premier League quality. Not easy to do, but the potential is there.

Gibraltar round 3

Klaasen should roll Caris, whoops. Still, a good day, nicely in profit thanks to Darren Johnson mostly, that more than covered the losing bets leaving White to add bonus money. Of the losses, Clark took it to a deciding leg so I'm absolutely fine with that, Clayton also did better than the line suggests but wasn't able to get the one extra hold or break that he needed. The less said about Beaton the better but it looks like Whitlock did some good stuff on the other end so I think even if Beaton doesn't average 86 and miss a stack of doubles he still loses.


Bunting's less than a 20% shot against Wright, this seems fine, in all the legs he lost yesterday he had the opportunity to win them in 15 darts, Wright will not be allowing those opportunities and will not be allowing Bunting to win 3/4 of his first won legs in over 15. If he plays like he finished, then maybe there's a chance?

Johnson's shorter today against Norris, understandable given that Price is playing better than Norris right now (and I have him ranked ahead, I guess the official rankings don't yet). I think it's slightly too short to bet Johnson, he's a live dog but I don't think it's enough to want to take a bit at 7/4.

Dimitri van den Bergh is in the same spot price wise against Michael Smith, Smith played fantastic in the first half of the Kist match, and didn't drop off too much later on, it was more Kist coming back and playing better. Dimitri edged out Wade having survived match darts, but I think he'd need to step up or Smith drop off to win here, both can happen but I wouldn't bet on it.

Rob Cross on the other hand shouldn't be more than 2/1 against anyone that isn't a top 3 player over a short race right now. Chisnall's at number 4 as I see it, and his low average yesterday was down to two things - some legs where he missed multiple doubles (standard), and others where he lost his scoring completely. Clayton was able to punish most of them but wasn't good enough to step up in the extra leg he needed where Chisnall wasn't chucking nails, Cross probably is - 0.25u Cross 9/4

Reyes had a cracking comeback win over Richardson yesterday and is a 2/1 dog against Suljovic in a match where the winner could easily go on to reach the final. Reyes wasn't playing badly in going 4-0 down, although he did miscount badly once and miss doubles in another, but powered back strongly. Suljovic was a fifteen dart machine yesterday in a performance which looked pretty by first level statistics, play like that and Reyes doesn't stand a chance.

Caris produced the shock of the round by knocking out Klaasen, and looking good doing so with two twelve dart legs, and being left on double in every leg he lost. Benito easily dealt with Schindler without really getting out of first gear, the first leg was a comedy double missing fest, and he was allowed more than fifteen darts to win three further legs. It's almost long enough to consider betting Caris, but not quite. 7/2 no, if it was 9/2 probably.

Wilson/White is around 65/35 in favour of White, who got gifted a break yesterday to lead 3-1, couldn't clean off for 4-1 having left 121 after 9 darts, then held out from there, slotting in a break at 4-3 for insurance. Wilson took down Huybrechts winning four straight legs having been broken at 2-2 and then had an 11 darter chucked at him on throw, apart from that one leg he was never threatened on throw, but was gifted the break back he needed and the insurance break to close the game out. White shouldn't allow those chances, but may not be able to pressure enough to challenge the Wilson throw as much as needed to bet.

Whitlock/Gurney has the Aussie installed as a marginal favourite, Gurney was playing well through to about 3-3, then didn't need to do anything as well he took his foot off the gas, Webster applied the handbrake. Whitlock we mentioned above, I think this will be as close as advertised and a great paced match to end the session.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Gibraltar day 2

Day 1 is in the books, let's see what I like on day 2:

- The Reyes and Gurney lines look close enough to right to not consider
- Clark at 7/2 vs Norris is an interesting one, he wasn't bad when he ran into Chisnall in god mode last weekend, and had some good legs mixed in with some bad legs in winning yesterday. I think there might be value given Norris hasn't exactly been setting the tour on fire, especially in Europe. We only need 23% to bet here and I think we have enough, so 0.25u Clark 7/2
- Benito should be fine against Schindler, there were just way too many long legs from Martin yesterday to consider betting
- Quantock, while he's looked alright when I have seen him, didn't do enough yesterday to make me think he's on top form, which I think against Bunting I think he'll need, if he did a bit more I'd probably bet Quantock as Bunting's been incredibly unconvincing for a while now
- Klaasen should roll Caris
- Kist's a strange one, he got some good holds but then allowed Huybrechts to break with relative ease in others, very inconsistent. I don't think that he can pull together enough good legs to win enough against Smith
- Cullen/Cross is a pick'em game, which looks about right
- Johnson had some good fifteen dart legs against Vilerio, should have had another in the one leg that he lost, Price is a step up but we're being spotted decent odds, I think he can get there enough so 0.25u Johnson 13/5
- Huge opportunity for Suljovic this weekend, so I can't see him messing up against Tabern, who I don't think played well enough for long enough to truly threaten
- Chisnall, as mentioned a few times, is on great form, but 1/5 against Clayton? If Clayton misses doubles like he did yesterday then I think that it could be accurate, but I'm not sure that he does that again, and Chisnall was a bit of a clown show in the Premier League, at least until Wade got to match point and he remembered how to play. Very small bet here, 0.1u Clayton 5/1
- Ratajski at 9/1 vs Wright is nearly tempting, but I can't see Wright tripping up here
- Wade's over a 75% favourite against van den Bergh, who was pretty sloppy in round one but still won 6-2, Dimitri could turn up and cause the upset, but I doubt it's enough to bet
- Wilson didn't really start yesterday until he was 2-1 up, if he does that today he's probably 3-0 down instead, 89 average with no help from his opponent isn't as bad as it sounds but Wilson did hit 6/10 doubles, I think he can't win enough times here.
- Hendo only had two good legs yesterday - a fifteen darter which he rescued with a 170 kill, and a twelve darter to break and lead 5-3. White's been playing well over the past month and should capitalise on the up and down game of the Scot - 1u White 4/11
- Whitlock/Beaton has, if Beaton plays like he did yesterday, the potential to be closer than the linemakers suggest, this looks like a decent value play against the Aussie who was bad on the last Pro Tour weekend, and looked OK last week when running into Cross but nothing like peak Whitlock - 0.25u Beaton 9/4

Friday, 12 May 2017

121 out, early Gibraltar thoughts

Another weekend, another European Tour event. With the severely depleted field (no MvG, Anderson, Taylor or van Barneveld we knew about, Lewis dropped out yesterday) it's open season for this title. Obviously Wright is a big favourite, but he's in the same half as both Chisnall and Wade (although neither is in Wright's quarter), so there's great opportunities in the other half - Suljovic and Klaasen being the only players in the adjusted top 10 to be in that side of the draw (although numbers 11 through 14 are as well). Come to think of it, why the hell is it being held in Gibraltar? Surely Spain would be a much better bet when it comes to both growing the game and in terms of quality of player making it through - Reyes is seeded here but Alcinas and Rodriguez have both shown they can compete at a much higher level than any Gibraltan has ever done, Barbero's no mug either, giving them a shot would surely be better. Of course, the PDC is sponsored entirely by bookmakers, most of which fled to the Rock once the internet became a thing, so it's probably just an excuse for the PDC to nice them up or something.

Saw no bets I liked this morning. Keep an eye out tomorrow morning or later today for round 2.

So, a 121 out. Should we go treble first or bull first? Let's assign similar probabilities as we did when analysing the 135 - no bounceouts, no missed big numbers, hit trebles 1 out of 3, doubles 2 out of 5, and when shooting at bull we hit 1 in 5 and also miss completely 1 in 5.

Warning - lots of maths follows

Going treble first - a third of the time we leave 61 by hitting treble 20. Here, if we hit treble 11, we are either out or leave a shot at double. If we hit single eleven, we are out if we hit bull, or leave single for double most of the time, either by hitting 25, or hitting any other single number that isn't a large enough even number to get below 40. This gives:

Out: 2/45 (T20/T11/D14) plus 2/45 (T20/11/bull) = 4/45
On a double: 3/45 (T20/T11/miss) plus 1/75 (T20/11/even miss 10 or over) = 2/25
On single for double: 37/225 (T20/11/anything that isn't bull, 10, 12 etc)

The other two thirds of the time we leave 101, and go treble 17. Here, we either hit and have the same bull scenarios listed above, or miss and then go back upstairs and leave either a double or something in the 61-80 range (can go 16's to try to leave 36 if blocked, it doesn't change the equation). This gives:

Out: 2/45 (20/T17/bull)
On a double: 1/75 (20/T17/large even number) plus 4/27 (20, 17, T20) = 109/675
On single for double: 37/225 (20/T17/anything that isn't bull, 10, 12 etc)
On 61-80: 8/27 (20/17/20)

So in total, going treble first:

Out: 13.33%
On a double: 24.15%
On single for double: 32.89%
On 61-80: 29.63%

Now let's go bull first. If we hit the bull, we are either:

Out: 2/75 (bull/T13/D16)
On a double: 13/75 (bull/any other two dart combo)

If we hit 25, we are either:

Out: 2/25 (25/T20/D18)
On a double: 3/25 (25/T20/miss) plus 2/15 (25/20/T20) = 19/75
On single for double: 4/15 (25/20/20)

If we miss completely, it gets quite sketchy as there become lots of permutations, so let's be careful. Four misses don't actually kill us as they leave 101, 104, 107 or 110 so if we hit one of those we have:

Out: 1/375 (20, 17 etc/Tsomething/bull)
On a double: 1/1250 (20, 17 etc/Tsomething/big even number) plus 2/225 (20, 17 etc/miss treble/hit treble) = 109/11250
On single for double: 37/3750 (20, 17 etc/Tsomething/anything that isn't bull, 10, 12 etc)
On 61-80: 4/225 (20, 17 etc/miss treble/miss treble)

If we hit 2 to leave 119, this is the only shot which doesn't leave a fat number to leave a double if we hit a treble, assuming we go 19 first, so this leaves:

On a double: 1/900 (2/T19/T10) plus 2/900 (2/19/T20) = 1/300
On single for double: 2/900 (2/T19/10)
On 61-80: 4/900 (2/19/20)

The rest of the permutations don't give us a shot, but all give us a dart at a double with exactly one treble. Thus we have:

61-80: 1/15 (random big number/miss treble/miss treble)
On a double: 1/12 (random big number/hit one treble in two darts)

Sum all that wall of figured together, and we get:

Out: 10.93%
On a double: 52.30%
On single for double: 27.88%
On 61-80: 8.89%

Cliffs: going bull first goes out 2.4% less often, or 1 in 40 legs, but leaves us on a double more than twice as often if we don't, giving us an extra dart next visit much, much more frequently.