Thursday, 19 October 2017

PDC Worlds international qualifiers

Today we finally got a bit of clarity as to what the remaining international qualifiers will be for Alexandra Palace, and it's a touch controversial, not only is it a case of them leaving everything until the last minute, with just eight weeks until the tournament kicks off (by contrast the entire BDO field has been announced and they kick off three weeks or so later), but it seems to be somewhat arbitrary as to how they've allocated the spots. Chucking an extra slot to Eastern Europe seems like a case of "get Ratajski in by any means necessary", and chucking one at whatever the NDFC is seems to be a case of giving Jeff Smith a spot on account of him not making the BDO worlds, due to their comically bad system of international qualifiers. A random spot for Africa just seems like a way to invite Devon Petersen, the only mystery is how they didn't give Max Hopp an auto-berth because darts in Germany is huge, presumably they guess he'll win the German qualifier (or the world youth, which seems even less likely). One spot for the Development Tour seems an odd one - there's already a slot for the best young player, i.e. whoever wins the world youth. Surely if you're going to give one to the minor tours you give it to Wayne Jones?

I'm not disputing that any of the players that had spots announce today don't deserve the spots, they're all excellent players on their day (for Ratajski and Smith it's most days, for Petersen less so), and I think we all want the best players on the oche in the biggest event of the season, but it seems a bit odd that they've allocated things in this way. Does anyone actually think that if Ratajski won one more game on the European Tour they'd give a spot to Madars Razma or Nandor Bezzeg, depending on how they define eastern Europe? If Smith had made Lakeside and took that opportunity they'd give a spot to Dion Laviolette? What if Petersen had won the last Pro Tour event from nowhere, would they give a spot to whoever the next best African player is? I'm not even going to try to work out who that might be. The weirdest thing about Ratajski is that they took away the four spots for next best Europeans, and he'd have got the first one of those positions anyway.

Monday, 16 October 2017

European Championship draw out

That was quick. Got to feel a bit for Suljovic and Kim Huybrechts in getting really awkward draws, but that's the nature of seeding eight players, you'll get oddities like Norris drawing Taylor last year. Ratajski seems to be confirmed in and doesn't have the easiest draw in Peter Wright, and apart from Suljovic the seeds appear to have dodged major bullets. The unseeded games all look to be quite well balanced, which is somewhat refreshing and should allow for some tense moments particularly given the quick race in the first round.

I'm posting the below bunch of stats (my god Google Sheets is so much easier to format on than Openoffice), there are no recommended bets yet as the draw's only been out and there's still a week plus so nothing's going anywhere. One thing I didn't list is that the FRH rankings listed on the sheet include the mincash for this event, so they will look a bit different to those posted up yesterday after Göttingen (i.e. Whitlock's now passed Taylor). So, without further ado, the initial FRH stat barrage, complete with conditional formatting and everything - if it's a bit small, a full size version should be available at if it's too small and can't click through to resize:

Sunday, 15 October 2017

ET12 aftermath

Michael van Gerwen's just claimed yet another title, being pressured well by Rob Cross who forced the Dutchman to pull out some huge checkouts at critical moments. I won't go through the whole best and worst formally for this one, other than saying it was another great performance by van Gerwen, winning his first three matches today for the loss of just two legs, Cross did well again, Andy Boulton can be happy with his weekend although the win against van der Voort was a bit fortunate with just one of six legs won being real quality legs, Keegan Brown also continued his recent resurgence in form with two quality wins before running into Cross. Kist has to be real disappointed with his 6-0 loss to Dekker and a very poor average, Benito van de Pas got whitewashed as well, James Wade also suffered a real bad defeat in the opening round.

In terms of seedings for the Euros, Suljovic and Klaasen held the number 4 and 5 seeds, Cross nipped up to 6 to be in the same section as Smith, knocking Cullen down to 7, while Whitlock was able to hold on to the final seeding spot.

New adjusted FRH rankings:

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

No real big swings as can be expected with van Gerwen grabbing the bulk of the cash, but Cross as reported earlier is now in the top 20 with a seven grand cushion over Mervyn King. Of those that have had big performances since the last update (so incorporating the midweek Players Championship events), James Wilson grabs the last spot in the top 30, Jonny Clayton is up to 37, Wattimena moves ahead of Terry Jenkins who rounds out the top 40, Jamie Caven climbs a few spots to 42, Keegan Brown is back into the top 60, and Andy Boulton is one place outside the top 64. Jeffrey de Zwaan's solid week sees him in the top 80, Alcinas is less than a grand from the top 100, while in ten days' time Colin Lloyd will drop off the list altogether.

With just an exhibition this week don't expect many updates until the European Championship draw is done, I've spotted some small errors in my database that I want to clean up, although as they date back to, at the latest, the BDO worlds, they won't make any difference to any filtered stats if I take it from a year, and all come from players with big sample sizes so won't really affect anything significantly anyway. Not heard anything as to whether the remaining World Masters stats will get posted so I've got to assume they won't at this stage.

ET12 quarter final preview and permutations

Odds are up, a quick run down of the games:

Smith/Cross - Cross is installed as around a 60/40 favourite. My data has this as closer but with Cross still being the favourite, factor in that Cross is the more consistent player (nearly a three point lead on losing average) and I think there's not enough value there to consider betting.

Chisnall/Huybrechts - Can throw consistency out of the window here as they're both prone to missing chunks of doubles and taking legs off, the model has this split pretty much 50/50, so with Huybrechts being the 6/4 dog you might start to think about betting him, especially coming off a final in the last European Tour event, I don't think I want to do that though, Chisnall does have the higher losing average, seems to have been doing more all year and will probably do just enough in terms of outscoring the Belgian to compensate for a bit of doubling flakiness.

Whitlock/Boulton - Boulton's a bit of a surprise package this weekend, I have less than 30 (winning) legs of data on him compared to over 200 for Whitlock, he beat Gurney yesterday so can't be playing too badly, I'll ignore this one from a betting standpoint though as there's too many unknowns.

van Gerwen/Cullen - You can get nearly 6/1 on Cullen, which might not be too ridiculous a play. I've got him at 14% to win the match before a deciding leg, and a deciding leg would happen 20% of the time, however he's not looked on top form this weekend, doing enough against some mediocre opponents, van Gerwen looked good against Bunting just now so will have no bets at the quarter final stage.

The Euro field is set barring Boulton making the final, the only question is who's going to be seeded. With Wright going out early the 1-2-3 are locked as van Gerwen, Wright and Smith, Suljovic and Klaasen are currently 4 and 5, but aren't safe in those spots - Cullen's currently number 6 but can get above Klaasen by making the final and above Suljovic with a win - Cross is currently 7 but can also overtake Suljovic with a win, he's four grand behind Cullen with a better countback so if he reaches the final and Cullen doesn't he'd move above Cullen. Whitlock's the last seed and three grand behind Cross, so would need to reach the final to get any higher, tough given that it'd likely need him to go through van Gerwen. Chisnall is two grand behind Whitlock but with an inferior countback record, so he would need to make the final with either Whitlock not doing the same or Cross losing in the quarter final. For Cross and Whitlock and Chisnall, a win would see them all claim the number four seed. Huybrechts is the only remaining player who might get a seed, he would need to reach the final as a minimum, but that would rely on Whitlock not beating Boulton - if that happens Huybrechts would need to win it all, which would see him get the number 5 seed.

Premier League lineup

Few too many shandies yesterday so no opportunity to post any round 3 analysis from the Euro Tour, I didn't see any outstanding value, but I hope people were on yesterday's 4/4 special.

It's getting close to the end of the season, and there's a few discussions on various media regarding what the Premier League lineup should be. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this here, but I think that they should get rid of the Masters (there's very little money in it, it's unranked and you're not seeing anyone you won't be seeing extremely frequently all year, so why bother?) and use that weekend as a Premier League play-in. I'd have it provide two spots from eight invites, with a double elimination setup to allow everyone plenty of TV time - have Saturday afternoon be the winners round 1 (four games), Saturday evening be the winners round 2 and losers round 1 (four games), Sunday afternoon have the losers round 2 and 3 (three games), and then Sunday evening have the winners final and then losers round 4 and the final (three games). This setup would naturally allow a slightly longer match at the business end on Sunday (something like race to 10 on Saturday, race to 12 on Sunday). So what would my lineup be?

van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and Wright are locks to be in the top 4 and get an automatic spot. Suljovic and Gurney have to be in there as well based on what they've done, and one is probable to be the final top 4 spot regardless. Barney seems certain based on popularity (especially given no Phil) and seems to still be doing enough to warrant a place on merit. Chisnall is probably the best English player at the moment and has a win on tour, which takes us up to seven, and I'd probably give my eighth automatic spot to Whitlock, based on three ranking titles this year and making a major final. If someone does something amazing in the remaining majors then he'd be the last man out. This then leaves two spots, which as mentioned above I'd have as a play in - I'd invite the following:

Michael Smith - Euro Tour win, only active player in the FRH top 10 not to be in automatically, still young, high scoring and exciting
James Wade - Would be weird not to at least give him a chance of making it, has done little this year so if he beats this field he'd deserve to be in
Adrian Lewis - Similar to Wade, except he's the better natural talent, has a win on tour this year. Both Lewis and Wade did enough to not get immediately dumped out of this year's Premier League, so should get a shot at staying in
Rob Cross - Incredible opening season, find it hard to give him an automatic place given relative lack of success in TV tournaments, but I doubt you'd find anyone that'd not give him the chance to play in (as an aside, with his win earlier today over Keegan Brown, he is now into the FRH top 20)
Gerwyn Price - Polarising figure, field could use a heel to use some wrestling lingo, can back it up with the game on occasions as seen when he reached the UK Open final
Kyle Anderson - Won a TV event, albeit unranked, has a Pro Tour win, deceptively underranked on most rankings lists due to his absence late last year giving him zeroes where he could easily have picked up 30 grand or more
Joe Cullen - Two Pro Tour titles, seems to be continuing to grow as a player, well inside the top 20 so surely not too ridiculous to offer the chance in a format that includes sixteen players
Corey Cadby - Big wildcard entry, but current world youth champion, nobody is questioning his talent and potential, good World Series performances, this naturally assumes he switches to the PDC full time, sorts visas etc.

Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts I don't think have done enough all season to warrant entry, for various reasons their previous campaigns were disappointing through no fault of their own, but some cycling of players seems necessary. From other names in the FRH top 20, Phil's retiring, Benito's done nothing all year, if he was going to get in it should have been last season, Alan Norris has had way too many events go horribly wrong for my liking, and Ian White's been quiet this season and, despite his quality, isn't the sort of name I think people would flock in to see.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

ET12 round 2 bets

Quick one this before the session starts:

van de Pas/Brown - lacking data on Brown, the data I have leans towards Benito even at the current price, Brown's match (I don't have yesterday's games in my database yet) and the players' respective form should even it out a bit, enough to make it a no bet.

Norris/Richardson - there might be tiny value on Richardson, my data has it as quite close to the current line but possibly pushing Richardson over the edge on form, but it's close enough to ignore. 7/4 would likely be a bet, 6/4 not so much.

Price/Clayton - Clayton, fresh off the back of a tour victory, at near 2/1 against someone in indifferent form who he's already beaten on a much bigger stage? Yes please, 0.25u Clayton 9/5

Smith/Wattimena - Smith's rightly a big favourite here, may be very close to a Smith bet actually, but Wattimena seems to be doing enough to not punt here when also factoring in Smith's swingy form on the European Tour.

Chisnall/Wilson - Chisnall's a big odds on favourite and I really can't see Wilson having enough to win often enough to bet him, but he probably pulls the upset often enough to stop me going on Chizzy either.

Cullen/West - Cullen's been pretty good all year and isn't playing badly at all, I think he's got a much better chance than the market suggests against West, who won 6-1 yesterday but didn't average well in doing so, think Cullen grinds this out comfortably, 0.5u Cullen 1/2

White/van der Voort - seems a fairly even game. I have White having a small edge, so does the market, gun to my head I'd punt VVDV for the upset but it's close enough not to.

Bunting/Eidams - I lack the data on Eidams to properly assess his chances here, Bunting looked alright in Dublin so I'll leave this alone.

Huybrechts/Aspinall - Aspinall looks live here, I'm not sure whether he's quite live enough to get there at 7/4, the foot might be slightly off the pedal after getting the win that looks like it's got him in the Euros, so will avoid this.

Klaasen/Dobey - A lot of the data on Dobey is fairly old, that does put it as a Dobey bet, but I'm reluctant to do so, he's got the critical win already so may relax a touch. Could be worth it if you fancy an upset bet, Klaasen isn't exactly reliable.

Cross/Caven - Cross looks like a juggernaut right now, and is a huge favourite and rightly so. 1u Cross 1/4

Wright/Schindler - Schindler's got the important work done, can't see Wright dropping this one - 1u Wright 1/5

Whitlock/Ratajski - Critical game for the Pole, both are in great form, the line favours Whitlock but not by much, my data favours Whitlock by a lot but it seems a bit false given the situation.

van Gerwen/Lerchbacher - LOL

King/Dekker - Line looks close enough, both are playing OK, think King may be undervalued a touch but not enough to start betting.

Gurney/Boulton - Not touching that at the line with the lack of info on Boulton.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Göttingen round 1 - analysis

Have watched nothing due to equally important priorities due to beers and pub, but will quickly run down each of the games and what it means:

Todd/Wattimena - Not a huge deal, Todd couldn't do anything and Wattimena was safe for the worlds regardless, he keeps his Euros chances alive but it's a long shot.

Evans/Lerchbacher - Similar situation, except Lerchbacher has an extra grand on the Euro tour, but as he plays MvG I'm ignoring these possibilities entirely.

Worsley/Brown - Brown's basically got in the worlds, and while Worsley's quietly had an OK season, he couldn't do anything. Brown would need at least an evening session on the Sunday before anything changes.

Razma/Wilson - Madars has come into form a bit but left it too late to do anything this year, Wilson's win is hugely key as he was very much on the Hasselt bubble before today. Without working out tiebreakers he may be in already but at the very least he may just be relying on Jonny Clayton not going crazy, which is entirely possible.

Clayton/Bilderl - See the above, Clayton needs to keep on winning, the worlds was safe even before Wednesday but to make Hasselt he may need more, fortunately he's in a section of the draw where that's viable, Price then Smith/Wattimena isn't that ridiculous a section.

Meeuwisse/Caven - Nothing really riding on this.

Quantock/West - This was a heartbreaker for team Quanny. The loss, while not knocking him out of Hasselt as far as I am aware, has made his position really precarious, but more importantly it killed any chance of making the worlds directly.

Schindler/Bowles - Martin was already a lock for Hasselt, but this score has taken quite a lot of the random scenarios that would deny him an Ally Pally berth out of the equation. It's probably mathematically certain at this stage, but if I'm wrong I'm not going to bok him and say he's in.

Ratajski/Thornton - Ratajski has declined his BDO worlds spot, which seems absolutely fine given that he'd only get a spot into the prelims, and that doing so gives him free entry into the PDC Euros, which financially makes a lot of sense. If he can beat Whitlock I think he's in the PDC worlds, which would be huge.

van der Voort/Blum - Vincent picked up another grand which, while he's safe in the worlds regardless, just gives a bit more buffer room in case there's random weird stuff that could threaten his seed. Blum seemed to play OK and is very much looking like one to watch as the new world youth Master.

Richardson/van den Bergh - Huge result for James, who, considering other results, looks to have locked a Hasselt spot and taken any weird worlds qualification scenarios out of the equation, if they still exist. Dimitri was safe in everything that this event affects, so no huge loss there.

de Zwaan/Eidams - Bit of a surprise result, but the game affects nothing re: the majors.

Aspinall/Wade - Oh god James, what was that? He's now confirmed out of Hasselt, Nathan's got to be very close to confirmed if not confirmed, Aspinall would need a final to get anything extra out of this, but wow. At least Wade tried, unlike other big names.

Dobey/Allenstein - Other results had helped a lot, but Chris's win here looks to have made the worlds safe.

Painter/Boulton - Critical loss for Kevin, as we stand he's the last man into Ally Pally, but one win for Ratajski tomorrow and he's done. Until someone has visa issues.

Dekker/Kist - Oh dear Christian. Dekker dotted the I's and crossed the T's today, it probably didn't need doing but you may as well make sure.

Round 1 in the bag. If bets arise for round 2 I'll post them up tomorrow morning with minimal writeup just so you can get on.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Players Championship - done!

If you had a Clayton/Wilson/Caven/de Zwaan last four, then can I have a few ounces of whatever you're smoking please?

Big congrats to Clayton for getting his first victory, Caven managing a semi final from nowhere to grab a Minehead spot, Alcinas made a quarter to do the same, while the likes of Dekker, de Graaf and Dobey did what they need to in order to make it there. Also congrats to Rob Cross for winning the whole thing and getting the number 1 seed

I've thrown together a few spreadsheets, finding out the following:

- There's a huge face off in Göttingen between Alan Norris and Kim Huybrechts to see who can lose the most ranking money on the European Tour through the seeds losing in round 2 get nothing rule, both of them on a tie for £12,000 lost. If they both miraculously win, Ian White or Benito van de Pas could join them in a tie for first.

- Terry Jenkins is, barring playing the Grand Slam qualifier, winning it and then getting out of his group as a minimum, out of the World Championship following James Wilson's final today. It puts him £4,250 ahead of Jenkins for the final seed with all certain qualification for majors counted, with Wilson getting another grand guaranteed from Europe this weekend.

- As such, it makes calculations for Ally Pally a lot easier. The seeds are presently van Gerwen, Wright, Gary Anderson, Gurney, Adrian Lewis, Suljovic, Taylor, Chisnall, van Barneveld, Whitlock, Wade, Klaasen, Michael Smith, van de Pas, Norris, Price, White, Kim Huybrechts, Cullen, King, Bunting, Beaton, Kyle Anderson, Darren Webster, Reyes, Thornton, Cross, Mark Webster, Henderson, Pipe, van der Voort and Wilson. Of those just outside, Kist has the best realistic chance, sitting £7,250 behind Wilson and also in ET12, but unlike anyone else just outside, he has the European Championship in the bag for more potential money. Wilson however looks pretty decent to make it himself, but not a certainty. Regardless, everyone that might be in danger at the lower ends of things is safe to make it from the Pro Tour regardless, barring VERY weird Grand Slam results.

- That leaves the Pro Tour as the alternative, with Clayton now topping the standings above North, Kist and Ronny Huybrechts, who are well ahead of everyone else. Wattimena, van den Bergh, West, Lerchbacher and Jacques all look very safe with just the European Tour to go, all being more than three grand ahead of last man out Martin Schindler, and with more to add in Göttingen (except for Jacques). Richardson, Dekker, Keegan Brown and Lennon should be OK, with all but Lennon also in Göttingen, all are safely ahead of last man in Darren Johnson and last man out Martin Schindler (who can qualify for ET12 through the home nation qualifier, so the biggest weekend of his career so far potentially - Johnson didn't qualify). Dobey and Painter are both just ahead of Johnson as a result of this weekend's minimum grand, but can easily be overhauled by Schindler if he wins the qualifier, while Quantock and Ratajski are both outside but within striking distance of Johnson with a win, and reaching Sunday would put both over Dobey and Painter should they go out on Friday. Nobody else in ET12 is close, the next nearest being Aspinall but he'd need to reach at least a semi final. Just outside are Brendan Dolan, whose Ally Pally hopes may rely on a Minehead run through at least Mervyn King and probably Darren Webster, Robbie Green and Ryan Searle also fell just short, but can't realistically get a seed.

Everything's going to be a lot clearer after this weekend, which could easily have some huge pressure games dependent on the draw, both in terms of the worlds and also in terms of locking in the last few Hasselt spots. I'll hopefully be back late tomorrow with some quick odds, failing that Saturday morning. Regardless, that PDPA qualifier is going to be stacked.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

FAQ Rod Harrington

Not really an accurate title, given that these questions have not been asked frequently, or for that matter asked, but I thought with it getting towards the business end of the season I'd answer a few things that might come up often:

What's with the name?

It comes from the old blog Fire Joe Morgan, criticising bad journalism/punditry etc, and Harrington's the worst of the lot (at least in darts, if I was given godly P45 powers to use on one commentator, he'd be at the back of a queue containing Dennis Taylor, ITV's entire football unit, and if someone ever gives him a job again, Phil Simms), lacking the knowledge of a Part, Nicholson or a lot of those who aren't even ex-players, lacking the entertainment value of a Mardle, continually likening darts players to electricians or other tradesmen, having an irrational fear of switching from one double to another at the same level straight in the middle of two that most players like (nobody thinks 8's to 4's is a bad switch, oddly enough, despite 4's being the same height as 9's, and 8's being close to the opposite side of the board), seemingly being completely clueless as to why anyone would ever switch from treble 20 despite it being obvious to anyone who's analysed things even slightly, I could go on.

What are the FRH rankings you post up after each event?

I posted up on this right at the start of the blog, but that's over 120 posts away by now. They work exactly the same as the PDC rankings except they favour recent results, namely keeping everything at 100% of value for around four months, then degrading at 1% every six days until, after two years, they reach zero at the same time as the official rankings do. They also do not arbitrarily remove money for non tour card holders at the end of the year, don't arbitrarily score a first round seed loss on the European Tour as zero.

How do you derive a lot of the winning chances you list?

I have a large spreadsheet containing the results of (at present) over 1,000 darts matches on both sides of the PDC/BDO divide which tells me how quickly each player finished the leg when they won, and how many points they scored if they didn't. It's easy from there with a pivot table to tally everything for a player over a given time frame, then look at percentages of how quickly they kill legs. I then throw them against each other - it's a fairly simple formula, if someone on throw finishes in four visits they win (I exclude the remote chance of a nine darter), if they finish in five visits they win unless the other guy finishes in four visits, etc etc. These then give chances for each player to win/lose a leg on throw, from there I can extrapolate to set victories and so on.

What are all those unit things that you list in the bets?

It's typical to vary a bet size depending on confidence and odds, 1 unit would be a standard bet for however much you want to bet, if something's a longer price or I have less confidence I might reduce the amount bet or vice versa. It's easier to track this way and you can then multiply by whatever your standard stake would be. ROI means the same as it does in normal usage.

Do you play yourself and do you suck?

Yes and yes. Presently using 24g Winmau Simon Whitlock darts (not the current version, from about 2014-15 or so), cheap standard poly stems and thick standard flights (pink, naturally) off of Darts Corner, all carried in Target's Tacoma wallet which is a great bit of kit. Previously used 25g Designa straight knurled darts, again from Darts Corner.

Will edit this post as and when I think of new stuff to add and/or get asked relevant questions.

Players Championship 21

Rob Cross grabbed yet another title in an incredible debut season, while Adrian Lewis had somewhat of a return to form, and there were a couple of surprise semi-finalists in Jermaine Wattimena and Willie O'Connor, Wattimena ending any doubt about worlds qualification with that result. Yesterday I posted up players high in the FRH rankings who were in doubts for various comps, how did they do today?

Dobey - first round bust to Andy Boulton. It's not looking good, he requires, ideally, to at least win his board tomorrow (unlike today, it looks like he won't be seeded, although today he was seeded on Wright's board, so whether that'd be a help, who knows), hope that Jenkins misses on the worlds to effectively free up another Pro Tour spot, and at least win one game in Göttingen, if not reach Sunday.

Jenkins - got to the board final but then got thrashed by de Zwaan. With Adie waiting in the last 16 he's not left much on the table, but every little bit counts. Needs a good run and then to pray to god that the likes of Wilson, Kist, Dolan etc don't sun run at any future majors, or even this weekend as most people just below him are playing in Europe.

van den Bergh - first round casualty to Max Hopp. While he's safe for the worlds, he is now outside the top 64 so needs two wins tomorrow to start to feel safe.

Hopp - went out the round after to Robert Owen, needing snookers at this stage to make anything.

Lewis - only made round two where he ran into Daryl Gurney, needs a quarter final to make Minehead and, with not playing Göttingen, a round further to stand any chance at making the worlds.

Caven - made the board final, losing to Willie O'Connor, a quarter final in theory could get him into Minehead if results went perfectly for him, but realistically would need a semi.

Payne - out round one to Jonny Clayton, not the easiest draw but not the hardest, making the board final tomorrow might be enough to make Minehead, but would like to win the board to be really safe.

Meulenkamp - got Rob Cross round one and didn't win a leg. Ouch. Presently a grand off Minehead, with no Europe this weekend he's left himself too much to do for the worlds barring a run like he had in Riesa.

Gilding - drew Steve West first round and went out, needs a grand minimum and realistically a board win to reach Minehead.

de Graaf - lost round one to Kist, which ended realistic Ally Pally hopes, but as stated yesterday he was at least the right side of the Minehead line. Would require a bizarre set of results for him to not make it at this stage, one win should be enough to seal a spot.

Rodriguez - not a bad effort to get to the board final and run Wade close, but nowhere near the sort of spectacular performance needed to get close to any sort of qualification.

Murnan - now just the right side of the line after a close win over Darren Johnson before running into Lewis, but his position is incredibly precarious and needs a board final tomorrow to even start to feel safe.

McGowan - lost first round to Callan Rydz so for all intents and purposes is done.

Petersen - got a tough opening round draw in Joe Cullen, ran him close but running him close doesn't make money so he's looking at a quarter final to stand any chance of Minehead.

Michael - edged out in a decider round one to Justin Pipe, so will need at least a couple of wins tomorrow, and winning the board to feel really safe. He doesn't have Europe this weekend as a backup, so for Ally Pally he's going to need a semi final run and to hope that results go his way.

Evans - lost to Harry Robinson in a not particularly close game, so almost certainly done for the season.

Dekker - lost round one to O'Connor, probably needs one win to be safe for Minehead, his worlds qualification is a touch closer following today's results, but with Göttingen as a last chance saloon if results go very odd, he's got room to play with.

van Duijvenbode - opening round loss to Warrick Scheffer, so barring at least a quarter final he's going to need a regional qualifier to have any chance of anything.

Pallett - lost opening round to Harry Ward. Probably needs one win to be sure of Minehead, which is all he can qualify for at this stage.

Other people to keep an eye out on tomorrow for worlds qualification purposes - Peter Jacques, James Richardson and Keegan Brown are all in the worlds right now, but certainly not immune to strange results. Brown and Richardson are in Europe at the weekend so will have that as a last chance if things go badly. Lennon, Painter, Dekker and Schindler are the last four in, but should be beneficiaries of Jenkins dropping out of the top 32. Dekker and Painter have Europe as a boost, Lennon doesn't (who lost to Painter in the final qualifying round, ironically enough) while Schindler should get through the home nation qualifier, the extra grand should make a big difference. Darren Johnson and Chris Quantock are currently the last men out, Quantock has two shots to get money with Europe this weekend but is £250 behind Johnson as things stand. Dobey and Ratajski are a further £250 behind again, Dobey we've mentioned and Ratajski isn't playing, so would need to win a game in Göttingen, possibly two. Green and Dolan are further behind again and needing a minimum of a board final, Dolan still has an outside shot of making Ally Pally as a seed, he's not far off Jenkins but is really going to need a good run at Minehead and hoping that in particular Christian Kist doesn't do well anywhere, who's currently ahead of him and has an extra major to try to hit paydirt in. Everyone else is looking at miracles, although James Wilson is in the mix for a seed as well, West could bring himself into contention with a good run.

Monday, 9 October 2017

I've been in the danger zone

So this is it, the next two days will decide who will make the Players' Championship Finals, and in a large part decide who will make the World Championship, with just one European Tour event left to count towards the Pro Tour rankings. Let's take a look at who, in order of FBH rankings (who are in the top 64), is currently in the danger zone for qualification to Minehead - which I'll classify as being at under 10 grand in winnings in Players Championships this year, i.e. having less than £1,500 worth of cushion to play with (currently number 65 in the rankings is on £8,500), I'll ignore Phil as he's not playing the events:

#36 Chris Dobey - Currently on £9,500. Huge event for him as he's outside of the worlds cutoff right now, even counting the grand he will get from Göttingen.

#38 Terry Jenkins - On zero. He needs some money in the bank to try to edge ahead of James Wilson or John Henderson, both of whom are directly above him accounting for Burton's projections re: major qualification. Presently he's out of the worlds, it'll take some effort to get anything like safe for it.

#42 Dimitri van den Bergh - On £8,750 and the last man in as it stands. He seems to have been playing OK but really needs two cashes or to win his board one day to feel really comfortable. He is at least looking safe for the worlds based on European money.

#43 Max Hopp - On £3k, so way, way off the mark. With continued failures in Europe putting him well below the qualification point for anything, he's going to need a career best senior performance or risk missing out on everything. Should still be able to have a shot at Ally Pally through the German qualifier if worst comes to worst.

#44 Jamie Lewis - On £7k, so a board final or better plus a last 32 is probably going to be the minimum requirement. He's not made the last European event, so making the worlds will need a miracle at more than £3k below the cutoff.

#46 Jamie Caven - In even worse shape than his namesake on £6k. He is at least in Göttingen, but as this is only his second appearance in Europe, he's so far off worlds qualification that it'll be the PDPA qualifier or bust barring miracles (like, say, the one he had before the 2016 Matchplay).

#48 Josh Payne - Not too much to do, he's currently on £8,500, so a couple of cashes will likely be enough, likely too far off the worlds as like Caven he's not done anything in Europe, but in Riesa he at least showed signs of life so ought to make the last 64 for Minehead.

#49 Ron Meulenkamp - On £8k, so a bit trickier than Payne's ask, but like Payne he was showing form in Riesa, so this is certainly possible.

#50 Andrew Gilding - On £8,250, hit a little bit of form in Ireland so seems like a fair punt to sneak in. Isn't getting much help at all from Europe or UK Open qualifiers, so it'll be last chance saloon at the PDPA qualifier unless he miraculously returns to early 2015 form right now.

#52 Jeffrey de Graaf - Should be safe on £9,750 if he can win a game over the two days, two ought to be close to absolutely safe. Probably too much to do for Ally Pally at four grand under the cutoff and not being in Göttingen though.

#53 Rowby John Rodriguez - way down at £5k, and with little help from other Pro Tour events, is going to need to final something to make Minehead or win the whole thing to make the worlds.

#54 Joe Murnan - has had a quiet season but has picked up £8,500 over the course of the year to make him the last man out as of right now. He doesn't even get up to £12k on all Pro Tour winnings so would need to win the thing to make the worlds - but he's at least done that before, so that's something.

#55 Mick McGowan - on just four grand. Has made more in Europe and about half that in the UK Open qualifiers, so not getting it done on the bread and butter that is the UK circuit is costing him, and can't even rely on the Tom Kirby now.

#56 Devon Petersen - at £7.5k isn't too far off the mark, but unlike last season can't rely on Europe to push him into the main event at the end of the year. Far too many zeroes and £500's on his record, must improve this week or he's going nowhere.

#57 John Michael - only just outside right now on £8,500. Is a couple of grand below the worlds cutoff at present, so isn't completely out of things in terms of direct qualification rather than needing a regional qualifier.

#59 Ricky Evans - languishing on £5,500, and showing little form to indicate he can get close to making Minehead. Is in the final European Tour event, but he's barely in five figures for all Pro Tour events so can't really backdoor the worlds through that.

#60 Jan Dekker - currently safe on £9,500, decent work in Europe means he's also about the same above the cutoff for Ally Pally. Just picking up a couple of wins these next two days should make him safe for both, with Göttingen being a potential safety valve if results don't go his way.

#62 Dirk van Duijvenbode - at £7,250. Needs a board win as a minimum really, and needs to do that twice to have any chance of the worlds, being three grand below that cutoff as we speak.

#63 Dave Pallett - at £9,500 like Dekker, unlike Dekker he's not done enough elsewhere to be within touching distance of the worlds so is going to need the PDPA qualifier.

Thanks to Burton for posting up the at a glance guide to who's won what making this post a lot easier.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

World Grand Prix aftermath and other musings

Huge congrats to Daryl Gurney, claiming his first major title, and in fairness congrats to everyone that made the semi finals who can all be happy with their week's work - Simon Whitlock for coming so close to binking, making a first major final in quite some time, John Henderson for two tremendous upset victories, and Mensur Suljovic continuing to solidify a great autumn. Obviously given there were no posts since before the quarter finals I didn't see a great deal of value in the betting, probably should have shot on Suljovic over Wright but I won't be losing any sleep over it.

The result is that Gurney and Whitlock claim Grand Slam places, and it's getting a bit crowded with fourteen players now having spots through the various majors and other events that the PDC calls majors, meaning that once Michael Smith takes one of the remaining spots from his European Tour victory, there's only one slot left from the Pro Tour - currently allocated to Adrian Lewis, which is far too precarious a position to be in. It only takes someone like a Rob Cross, Joe Cullen etc to bink Göttingen (not that unrealistic a suggestion and are in the other half to MvG giving four people shots to take him out before they have to do it themselves), or someone going on a mad run and finalling Hasselt in order to knock him out of it.

BDO update - someone got back to me on email, which is nice, and the last 16 game that wasn't uploaded did get done in the end, although there's still no sign of anything beyond that. I would just grab it manually, it's only first to two leg sets so it wouldn't take that long, but I'm not sure I can be bothered with VPNing in order to manually scrape data that I'm not that likely to use to make bets given it's the BDO. They've also set their worlds field following their qualifiers, I don't know how effective their ranking system is given the quality of the non-seeds looks a fair bit better than the quality of the seeds, particularly the lower ones, I'd take Waites/Adams/Labanauskas/Noppert/Ratajski over Williams/Mandigers/Baetens/Phillips/Hurrell very, very quickly. Ratajski's going to have to make a decision soon, I think it'll depend on how he does at Göttingen, if he wins enough games to qualify for Ally Pally then that seems like a very easy decision, otherwise he's got to assess whether taking the European Championship money is worth it (and if that eliminates him from Lakeside which I assume it would).

Willie O'Connor won the Tom Kirby and thus makes the PDC worlds. I'd guess that he's got enough in the rankings that he gets straight to round 1, and could potentially be a danger to a few seeds. He's really hot and cold but seems to be having a decent enough season.

It's a busy and important week now, with the final Pro Tour events (Jenkins has at least entered these, but if Burton's figures are correct as they usually are, he definitely needs something as he's provisionally out as of right now) before the final European events, after those have finished we'll know the fields for two more majors and be able to work out World Championship permutations with a lot more certainty.

One thing I do want to do is to have a year end awards post, although I'm unsure on what categories to use. Here's what I have in mind as of right now:

- Player of the Year
- Most Improved Player of the Year
- Best Young Player (no real cutoff in mind for top age, am likely to consider everything as a whole and think that someone towards a sensible upper age would have to do more than someone who's barely started)
- Best New Tour Card Holder (not really thinking that best new player is a great category, as nobody's completely new nowadays)
- Best Tournament Win
- Most Disappointing Year
- Favourite Moment of the Year

I could add match of the year, but I'm reluctant to do so, as I could roll that up into the last category which is basically a personal favourite category anyway, and I don't watch extensively enough in order to really think of what to go for, whereas I have ideas for all of the other categories (which would include somewhere between 2-4 runners up for each one). Thoughts for categories that I could add?

New adjusted FRH rankings:

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

Henderson jumps to number 28 following his semi final, one place behind fellow Scot Robert Thornton. Out of second round players, Beaton climbs to number 24, Steve West enters the top 30 while Richard North is up to number 47. Gurney is less than 20 grand behind Gary Anderson for the number 3 spot - who knows what might happen with a good weekend?

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

World Grand Prix quarter final preview

And then there were eight, while yesterday had a couple of well contested affairs (thanks for missing five match darts Chizzy), the latter half of that event and today as a whole was mostly one sided, so there should be plenty of people coming into this in form, in an event that's fairly wide open, let's have a quick look at the quarter final lineup - note that the percentage to win sets on throw is, again, based on the data I have on winning legs assuming a straight start, make your own adjustments to account for doubling in (stats again taken from ochepedia's Twitter page):

John Henderson (FRH ranked 28, 41.43% to win sets on throw, 38.87% doubling) v Raymond van Barneveld (10, 72.35%, 38.48%)

Lines in general, at least for the games that will be played in Wright's half, are somewhat tentative right now, so I won't list them in the headlines or place bets yet, they've got Barney at around a 75-80% favourite. This seems fair on historical data, Hendo's only going to win two sets in any given set of two less than 12% of the time, while Barney can do the same over 42% of the time, so it's going to require quite some parlay for Henderson to even force a decider against someone who's not dropped a set so far and is the highest (only) seed left in this half, although he was gifted a freebie by Beaton who was way off his game. The line looks like it'll be close enough to accurate to correctly account for Henderson's underdog chances, if you think that it's around half the time that each pair of two sets will be 1-1, then it's around a 25% chance of reaching 2-2 with Barney cleaning up far more often than Henderson will. Pressure should be off Henderson though, while Barney will have some expectation on him.

Daryl Gurney (6, 60.38%, 38.32%) v Robert Thornton (27, 53.07%, 31.82%)

This one, however, should be a good deal tighter. Thornton's on the freeroll of his life, given he shouldn't even have been here, and has dodged plenty of bullets - Huybrechts missing six darts to get in on throw in a deciding leg, while Chisnall missed five darts for the match. That aside, he's been playing some pretty solid stuff, possibly the best since this time two years ago, and we all saw what happened then. Gurney's quietly been getting business done on home soil and is around a 65-70% favourite in the markets. The figures listed make this seem a bit tighter, Gurney grabs a 2-0 lead 28% of the time to Thornton's 21%, but those don't account for doubling, and Gurney's figures across the year and general form across the year should more than compensate, early in the game he couldn't miss going in or out. I'd fancy Gurney to take this, but I think there's enough random stuff that can happen that I can't bet at the likely price offered, plus I don't recall having suggested a Gurney bet all year, so why start now?

Simon Whitlock (8, 67.12%, 37.70%) v Benito van de Pas (12, 48.36%, 39.90%)

Bookies have this close to even, so you'd think this'd be a Whitlock bet, but let's take a second - Benito was absolutely crushing it earlier today against Price, he couldn't do anything wrong, and was remarkably clutch against Reyes in the first round as well, getting the key outs when he needed to and holding it together in the deciding set. Whitlock had close to a free win in round two, with North still getting used to the stage and perhaps being a bit overawed by the occasion, and Whitlock needed to dodge a match dart then get a big kill to finish off Christian Kist in round one, so perhaps, for the first time in a while, Benito's the man in form coming into the game. It's the sort of statement game that Benito needs to win after a mediocre season, and he may be able to do it - about half the time perhaps?

Peter Wright (2, 61.42%, 40.71%) v Mensur Suljovic (5, 55.04%, 38.92%)

The two highest seeds left and the two highest players in the FRH rankings left, meet in a matchup that could easily be a final, and you would think will decide the finalist. Mensur's around the same sort of underdog as Thornton is, and the differential in set winning chances is around the same as in that match, although they're both higher than Gurney/Thornton on account of both being better players. The doubling stats are a lot closer though, Mensur was red hot in getting away for large parts of the match, and he needed to be in a second set where Steve West was hanging around quite well. Wright got past Mervyn King, but seemed to be indicating he had some sort of elbow issue, which I won't try to analyse but will keep in the back of my mind. Suljovic won last time out 10-8 in the BBC exbo he won, and also beat Wright in their only other TV matchup, 11-8 in the semis of last year's European Championship. Wright has been putting up good averages, but could easily have been dumped out round one, so I'm leaning towards a small Suljovic bet, all factors considered. I've only seen a preliminary price on one bookmaker site, so will edit in a bet once more lines are up if I decide to punt.

Has been moderately disappointing gambling wise so far, Chizzy ruining everything changing what would have been around 0.6 units made into the same lost, and I feel that Reyes and Lewis might have been able to take their chances better, but on balance it could be worse - Whitlock survived a match dart missed after all.

Still plenty of possibilities for people to rise up the FRH rankings - Suljovic is within two grand of Taylor for the number 4 spot, Barney can rise back to the top 8 with one win and good results elsewhere, Benito would get very close to the top 10 with a win while Thornton can jump four places if he overcomes Gurney, who could reach the top four himself if he reaches the final (and Suljovic doesn't). Obviously a six figure result will rocket anyone (apart from Wright, who's got nearly a 200 grand gap both above and below him) up the charts, Henderson would hit around twelfth if he produced the miracle result.

Keep an eye out for a possible Suljovic bet being edited in once I see the lines. It'd likely arrive some time around the start of the session if it did.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

World Grand Prix round 2 - Seedocalpyse!

van Gerwen out! Anderson quit! Smith out! Lewis out! Wright avoids match darts! Crazy stuff, round two kicks off soon, thoughts on the matchups (figures in brackets indicate the chances, using the same methodology as round 1, of winning a set on throw - the + figure shows how many more percentage points they lead in doubling percentage per ochepedia's latest postings:

Chisnall (68.6, +6) v Thornton (44) - can't look past Chizzy here. Seemed to be the standout performance of round 1, and with things opening up as they have I think he'll take his chance to get through here - 1u Chisnall 1/3

Gurney (51) v Cullen (63.93, +2) - Gurney's the favourite? The stats don't seem to agree. Both came through tight games, will lean towards the same thinking of betting against Gurney as we did in round 1 - 0.5u Cullen 13/8

Henderson (58.4, +5) v Norris (56.6) - Norris dodged somewhat of a bullet in round one, with Pipe playing OK early before falling off under a barrage of 160's, Henderson we all know what he did, Henderson's got to have all the confidence in the world, seems to be in better form, and also seems to have the better stats, and is too large an underdog for my liking - 0.5u Henderson 19/10

van Barneveld (69.8) v Beaton (43.4, +1) - both came through 2-0 against in form players from the Pro Tour rankings, Barney's the same price favourite as Chisnall is, but here Beaton's a lot closer in terms of doubling and his form is that much better than Thornton's. Will pass.

Price (60.3) v van de Pas (54.89, +6) - Benito needed a 144 out after Reyes missed a dart for a 155 to get the critical first set, he wasn't too convincing, didn't see Price's game but 2-1 over Smith has to be OK, Price seems a touch better but may allow Benito some shots given Benito's better doubling, line is about even so won't bet.

Suljovic (73.6, +2) v West (38.3) - Suljovic is a very big favourite on the numbers but not quite so much on the odds, only being around the same price as Chizzy and Barney which I really don't understand. Seems an automatic bet given Mensur's red hot form - 1u Suljovic 4/11

North (21.3) v Whitlock (88.1, +6) - can take these numbers with a pinch of salt, North's very much learning the stage game and has yet to really bring his floor form to it, Whitlock's a favourite and should come through but I don't really have enough information on North to start firing Whitlock at large odds-on prices given he survived a match dart and needed a ton+ checkout to get here.

Wright (66.1, +3) v King (48.4) - Wright dodged a huge bullet from, er, the Bullet, who missed clear darts to win, Wright didn't seem too hot, King's been looking OK for quite a while now and we're being offered good odds on Mervyn, if I was to bet it'd be on King but Wright's been getting a knack of closing out tournaments when he is the favourite to do so, if you want to punt go ahead but I'll leave this one and stick with these four bets.

As an aside, I've scoured the BDO's website and can still only find the stats for the last 16 games, well seven of them, one of the links is broken. Have emailed to see if they'll post up the remaining information but have had no response as of yet, I'd like to cover them in more detail but they're not helping themselves by not coughing up the numbers (and I can't even look back at the stream and do it manually, as it's still region blocked on Youtube - live stream while it's on Eurosport, fine, now it's a VOD it seems daft).

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Players Championship 19/20, Grand Prix bets, random roundups

Will kick off with the random thoughts first - straight up it's Ratajski, your new World Master. This is quite the interesting one, the BDO allows for those PDC players that have only played the European and Challenge Tours to play it, so Ratajski entered and won the whole thing, coming in at the round of 144 (!) after a first round bye, coming through some close games but ripped everyone apart once the seeds came in, taking out Veenstra, Soutar, Durrant, Menzies and McGeeney in the final, not a bad list. I would imagine he'd play Lakeside now, he has an automatic berth into it, and didn't qualify for the PDC worlds through the Eastern Europe qualifier, which was won by relatively unknown Croat Alan Ljubic, and he's right on the borderline for the Pro Tour spots, with only ET12 to go while everyone else has two more Pro Tour events, so with the likes of Dobey and Quantock also qualifying for it, it'll be very tough for him to make it. Elsewhere in worlds news, Diogo Portela made it from the South American qualifier, which I can't imagine was a great standard, he's not made any real inroads on the Pro Tour so I can't see him making it out against most qualifiers he'd face.

The Ireland Pro Tour events are in the book, only two remaining now so the field for the Players Championship Finals is getting a lot closer to being set, there's quite a lot of big names that aren't in five figures like Dobey, van den Bergh, Gilding, Payne, Jamie Lewis, Caven, Rodriguez, Hopp, a big final weekend is needed. So from what's in the book:

Performance of the weekend - This has to be Mensur Suljovic, grabbing a second ranking title to go with the Champions League in what's been an amazing September, only losing to an on fire Rob Cross in Friday's semi final. He's got to be one to watch out for in Dublin this week. Elsewhere, Vincent van der Voort had two quarter finals, Ron Meulenkamp continued his good form from Riesa in reaching two board finals, and Steve Lennon got two cashes, one of them being a quarter final.

Best tournament performance - Rob Cross for sure, he absolutely nailed it, the PDC reporting three twelve darters in the final against Peter Wright, meanwhile earlier he beat van der Voort and Suljovic losing only one leg, and also had to get through James Wade, Justin Pipe, Raymond van Barneveld in the first round as well as Dave Pallett. Not the easiest run you'll ever see, and apart from against Wade he was never in trouble at all. Shouts to Madars Razma and Antonio Alcinas for their best runs to date, and Bunting hit a bit of form reaching the final yesterday.

Best single match performance - Not a great deal stands out from either of the Pro Tour events, most of the real great scores come from those players who already got mentioned. Nothing really stands out from the European qualifier either, so this is a tough one. I'll go Ryan Meikle for his 6-2 win over Dave Chisnall, Shepherd 6-1 over Cullen and Gilding over Adie by the same score coming close. Hendo whitewashing Richardson can't have been too bad either.

Worst weekend long performance - With everyone playing except Gary Anderson that's in the Grand Prix field you'd expect the real elite to grab at least one title, but they didn't, so I think it has to be Michael van Gerwen, losing to Suljovic in a quarter final and not even winning his board in the other, going out to Vincent van der Voort. Gurney lost a pair of 6-4's in the first round to Kirk Shepherd and Vincent Kamphuis, Cullen also went out first round both times, Benito van de Pas continues to struggle with just the one win, and that needed a deciding leg.

Worst single match performance - Adrian Lewis going out 6-1 to Andrew Gilding came out of absolutely nowhere. Really surprised that Lewis didn't win that one, let alone lose by that scoreline.

New adjusted FRH rankings (this includes Grand Prix mincashes, although that makes no difference to the order):

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

Rob Cross is now up to #22, James Wilson re-enters the top 30 following his semi final, Antonio Alcinas jumped a bunch of spots to near the top 100, while Madars Razma creeps in to the top 150.

In terms of potential movement following the Grand Prix, the top 3 are set. Taylor can drop if Suljovic reaches the semi final, Chisnall or Gurney reach the final, or if anyone down to Cullen binks it. Places 5-7 are separated by less than ten grand, while Smith down to Lewis has just 25 grand separating all of them, then there's about a 10 grand drop to Cullen before King's a further 25 grand back. Darren Webster and Rob Cross can get into the top 20 with a quarter final appearance if King goes out first round (Cross would technically be short right now, but King will almost certainly lose enough in comparison to Cross on the gradual prize money reduction system this week), while Reyes, Bunting, Beaton and Kyle Anderson could get in the top 20 with a semi final.

So, bets. I've yet to put the Riesa data into the system (or, for that matter, the World Masters, although I can only find the last 16 so far in the BDO's god-awful designed web page), so I'm just going to consider the form from there and that over the last two days. Looking in order of play, I'm firing the following:

0.5u Norris 8/13 v Pipe
0.5u Lewis 21/20 v Gurney
0.5u Reyes 11/10 v van de Pas
0.5u Whitlock 1/2 v Kist
1u Anderson 1/9 v North - Sunday evening edit - Anderson's withdrawn, so void

Very nearly also firing on White against Suljovic, but Suljovic's form and confidence is unquantifiable and puts enough doubt into things that I don't want to fire. I'm being very cagey here given the very short format and bad previous performance on these, in particular I think I could go a lot heavier on Anderson, but I'll play it fairly safe for now and wait to see what develops in longer races.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Riesa's a ****hole, I want to go home - round up and trip report

Got back from Germany yesterday afternoon, straight back to work today so I'm only just done with pulling the stats off the PDC website, yet to plug them into the master computer so I doubt I get any Grand Prix bets up before Friday at the earliest. Peter Wright binked as 26 of the 32 players for Hasselt are now confirmed, but what awards for the weekend?

Best player performance: A few contenders. I'm not giving it to Wright, he was let off on quite a few legs (heck, his first leg won for the weekend took twenty five darts) - Ronny Huybrechts could easily have had leg two and opened up a 3-0 lead, and he then allowed Wright to get the key break in six visits, Klaasen let Wright do that three times, after that he wasn't bad at all. I'm also not giving it to Huybrechts, his best game was his first and he didn't produce a single twelve darter all weekend. It comes down to either Dennis Nilsson or the two semi-finalists. Nilsson took what was given to him and pinned some important legs when needed, Meulenkamp had a pretty straightforward run, not needing much to see off either McGowan or Smith, Payne wasn't that great a performance but the game against Nilsson was quality, particularly towards the latter end. I think it has to go to Cullen, threatening the nine darter, having the single best performance of the weekend against Richie Corner (matching Ratajski's three legs won in twelve darts and three in fifteen darts), following it up with very consistent arrows against Norris and Whitlock, it was only Kim Huybrechts that could stop him, where Cullen really couldn't get going for three legs.

Best single match performance: No multiple award for Cullen. Corner was OK in round 1, Price looked decent in the second, as did Klaasen, Chisnall, Suljovic especially and Norris, on the final day Nilsson looked good against Chisnall, Price again looked good against Suljovic. Will give it to Mensur for his crushing win over Willie O'Connor, every leg in under fifteen darts, with two in twelve.

Worst player performance: Could go for Benito, but I think Cristo Reyes - letting Huybrechts cruise into a 3-0 lead, only getting the legs he did because he was allowed to, none of his four legs were under fifteen darts. 

Worst single match performance: Andy Hamilton I think has to take this one, losing 6-0 to Brendan Dolan in a match where Dolan needed more than fifteen darts in all but one leg, averaging only 70. On Twitter he did post that his mind might not be in the right place and I hope he can get himself back on track, albeit looking like it'd be without a tour card for next season.

New adjusted FRH rankings (these do not include any Grand Prix money, although that would make no difference to the standings):

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
9 James Wade
10 Simon Whitlock (UP 1)
11 Raymond van Barneveld (DOWN 1)
12 Kim Huybrechts (UP 5)
13 Alan Norris (DOWN 1)
14 Ian White (DOWN 1)
15 Jelle Klaasen
16 Benito van de Pas
17 Adrian Lewis (DOWN 3)
18 Gerwyn Price
19 Joe Cullen
20 Mervyn King

Outside these rankings, Ronny Huybrechts moves into the top 40, Ron Meulenkamp reaches the top 50, Peter Jacques is inside the top 70 while Dennis Nilsson debuts at number 156.

So, trip report. Riesa is a dump. An enormous dump. Now, somewhere that is twinned with Rotherham should automatically set off nuclear level drudge sirens in relation to that it might be a bit of a crap town, but for the love of god. On leaving the station you walk through some questionable looking tower blocks, through a town centre that seemingly has nothing there, in terms of actual activity I think I saw one supermarket (naturally shut, it was Sunday in Germany after all) and that's about it. I can only assume the PDC hold it here because it's cheap? It is somewhat well located (not far by any form of transport from three decent-sized cities) and does have a venue well capable of holding a Euro Tour event, but that's about it.

Of the darts itself, it wasn't a bad session. Wright/Huybrechts was a bit cagey, Ronny getting a couple of unfortunate bounceouts at key moments which might have extended the game. Klaasen/Jacques was decent until Jacques got 4-3 up with a break, then his game kind of fell apart as the finish line approached. Chisnall/Nilsson looked like being one way traffic but Nilsson hit back well, holding his game together and getting over the line when Chisnall managed one dart in a big treble out of 21. Meulenkamp/Payne seemed to be the designated piss/beer break match and I don't recall much of it (at this stage I was as focussed on updates on us smashing the Pigs in the Steel City derby on my mobile, paying five euros for the privilege of WiFi as, despite my phone telling me data roaming was on, it was silly enough to give me that option despite somehow having turned off mobile data completely the day before, which I didn't notice until back in the UK, oops), Suljovic/Price was probably the highlight in terms of quality, obviously the crowd were supporting Mensur, but fair play to Price for coming back after being broken in the critical ninth leg and getting the last two. Huybrechts/White was another decent game that went the distance, just the pair of back to back breaks in legs four and five, everything else being held in good order, Cullen then put together a good blitz at the end of his game with Norris to rattle off four straight legs to close out the match after the first five went with throw. Whitlock/King closed out the session, a bit of a damp squib which was one sided.

Didn't look too much at merchandise, although what they had at Munich last time was horribly overpriced (60 euros for an Eclipse Pro lol), beer was 4.50 with a two euro deposit on the cup (rolled Whitlock, Wright, someone else I can't remember which might have been Smith followed by Suljovic twice), was sat on a table next to a bunch of Union Berlin fans who oddly also follow Nottingham Forest, who despite my German not being the greatest (although they said it was OK) and their English being almost as bad provided for decent banter, sure they loved their result yesterday.

Would definitely go back to the Euro Tour again, although I doubt it'd be next year - nothing really works that well in terms of scheduling, Leverkusen would work fine except it's during an international break, and most of the rest of the German events are either in the middle of nowhere or outside of the football season which I'd look to tie the weekend in with.

Look back later this week for Grand Prix tips, let's tentatively say Saturday once the Pro Tour is in the books (Jenkins again not playing, although rumoured to be trying the last two) and we can see any super late form.

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.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Maastricht final session

Nice to have a long shot hit to cover other losses

Michael van Gerwen v Daryl Gurney - Gurney's 5/1 which would ordinarily be a Gurney bet against anyone in the world, van Gerwen included, but Gurney's not really looked at it so far - only two legs won in under fifteen darts against Aspinall, and only four out of six against West in the second round. He has hit two twelve darters across those two games, but will need more of those against van Gerwen, who steamrollered Anderson. He wasn't great against Jeffrey de Zwaan, and I think it'll need van Gerwen to revert to that game and Gurney to step it up, which could happen, but it seems rare.

Michael Smith v Robert Owen - Owen's now properly in uncharted territory, and has little to lose here. Statistically he's not been great, with only six out of eighteen won legs in fifteen darts or less, but that has improved round by round. Smith won five straight against Cullen to get here, but hasn't been in top gear really - he should come through, but with a line at around 80/20 I'm not enthused to bet either side.

Peter Wright v Krzysztof Ratajski - Ratajski became only the second player all season on the European Tour to hit three twelve darters and not need more than fifteen darts in any other leg (van Gerwen v Reyes in Jena), and if he plays like that and Wright continues to be mediocre, the Pole wins. Given he also managed 5/6 in fifteen darts against Lennon, it's no fluke (only the two against Klaasen mind you), while Wright has been rank average - only one leg in under fifteen darts against Jim Walker, and just the three earlier against Cross, whose game seemed off. Seems like an alright underdog punt at the price - 0.25u Ratajski 18/5.

John Henderson v Steve Beaton - Henderson won the last five legs to pull away from Mike de Decker, while Beaton was involved in a close one against Martin Schindler, while the oddsmakers put this close to evens, Beaton just having the tiniest of edges. It's not one I want to rush to bet, if there is value I think it'd be on Hendo, who also has the slight edge in the metrics I monitor, it's not quite enough to bet on one that could come down to who wins the bull.

Maastricht day 3

Busy all day yesterday - was able to have a quick look at the odds and didn't see anything I liked though, so didn't post, today should be very interesting following the seedocalypse, opening things wide open. Was fine with my bets, Searle really should have got it done up 5-3 with the darts, Ceder at least kept it close, Robinson not so much. Today we have:

van Gerwen/Anderson - this top quarter of the draw is unbelievably stacked, at least compared to the rest - Anderson's 6/1 which seems like it's worth a micro play - 0.1u Anderson 6/1, two 100 averages isn't bad at all, while van Gerwen could easily win the throw and go 15-12-15 and be 3-0 up within five minutes, I think Anderson keeps this close enough that it's worth a bet.

Gurney/Aspinall - Aspinall's done well here to put himself in the Hasselt picture, a 6-1 win over an out of sorts van de Pas is still good, Nathan played well enough that he should have beaten Benito in better form as well. Gurney's got through with a solid win over Steve West, if Aspinall repeats form this could be a corker, think the market is a bit too much in favour of Gurney but not enough to punt.

Smith/Cullen - Two seeds against each other here, Smith looking comfortable against a bad Rowby-John Rodriguez, while Cullen needed every leg to edge out Jimmy Hendriks, Smith will need to up his game but should do, line seems fine at about 60/40 Smith.

Whitlock/Owen - Owen is having a good weekend, with a whitewash of Jamie Bain and then edging out Cristo Reyes with a 120 out in the deciding leg, while Whitlock got through a decent quality encounter with Kirk Shepherd. Owen is listed as a big dog, he may need to be a bit cleaner on doubles to realise his chances but I think that they're there - 0.25u Owen 16/5.

Wright/Cross - Winner of this one really should reach the final given how the rest of the half has collapsed, it's 60/40 Wright in the markets, Cross had no trouble with Jamie Lewis while Wright survived a match dart against Jim Walker where he averaged well below 90. Line looks alright so I'll leave it alone.

Kist/Ratajski - Two non-seeds here with Kist having the homefield advantage, round 1 Kist needed every leg to edge past Justin van Tergouw, while Ratajski whitewashed Steve Lennon, yesterday Kist got through 6-4 over Kim Huybrechts while Ratajski pounded in the tons with a 6-3 win over Jelle Klaasen. Odds have Kist as a tiny favourite, and it should be very even.

Henderson/de Decker - Two more non seeds, Hendo having come through a tough game against Ronny Huybrechts before seeing off Ian White, while de Decker damaged the Dublin hopes of Richard North and then needed a decider against Alan Norris. Hendo's probably the better player with the better performance, but it's not a big deal, and the line having him at not quite a 65% favourite looks accurate enough to ignore.

Beaton/Schindler - Beaton's got through 6-4 over Nico Blum in a mediocre game and then 6-3 over Mensur Suljovic, averaging around 85-86 both times, while Schindler came through Chris Quantock and survived three match darts to beat Gerwyn Price. Beaton isn't playing great, but the line is such that I think it's worth a small play - 0.25u Beaton 4/5.

Will look through the previous games now whilst watching the above matches, and hopefully be back for quarter final analysis.