Sunday, 24 December 2017

Round 2 Previews Part 6 - the entire Wright quarter, now with added Münch

I believe this period is what people would call the calm before the storm, as we get a three day break before getting repeated darting uppercuts delivered to us on a daily basis - we've just got one quarter to go in round two following yesterday's epic action, both from a betting standpoint and quality of game view, with the Smith/Cross going down as an instant classic, let's preview the remaining games right away:

(2) Peter Wright v Jamie Lewis (evening session, 27th)

Round 1 - Wright 3-1 vs Portela, Lewis 3-0 v Clayton

Set winning chances on throw:
2017 to date - Wright 66.30%, Lewis 48.01%
Matchplay to date - Wright 51.30%, Lewis 62.99%
European Championship to date - Wright 53.26%, Lewis 58.24%

Match score calculations:
2017 to date - 11.88% Wright 4-0, 40.76% Wright 4-1/4-2, 28.53% 3-3, 16.21% Lewis 4-1/4-2, 2.62% Lewis 4-0
Matchplay to date - 3.60% Wright 4-0, 20.27% Wright 4-1/4-2, 30.35% 3-3, 36.37% Lewis 4-1/4-2, 9.41% Lewis 4-0
European Championship to date - 4.95% Wright 4-0, 24.73% Wright 4-1/4-2, 31.27% 3-3, 31.65% Lewis 4-1/4-2, 7.41% Lewis 4-0

Our first game features the surprise winner of the Lewis last longer bet, as Jamie overcame potentially dangerous Belgian youngster Kenny Neyens in a preliminary game before flat out destroying Jonny Clayton in a straight sets win which saw him slot in four twelve dart legs, against Peter Wright, who got past the surprisingly decent Brazilian qualifier Diogo Portela in four sets, nothing spectacular like Lewis but eight out of eleven won legs in fifteen darts or legs is a handy marker, somewhat better than his year long figures. Those stats should immediately start ringing alarm bells, particularly the last two, as they project Lewis to be a favourite in a rematch from this year where Wright won 4-0 with Lewis only scraping a single leg won. Let's look at how this might have happened - obviously Wright was playing much of his best stuff earlier in the season where he won the UK Open and three European Tour events, that's a given, and Lewis's stats early in the season were limited to just a handful of European Tour events. But let's look from September on at what Lewis has done - he played Maastricht and won seven legs, one being a twelve and three more being fifteens. The next week in Mannheim he won eleven legs, nine in fifteen darts, one of those being a twelve. We then have the prelim against Neyens where he had a 50/50 split in quicker/slower than fifteen darts before the blitzing of Clayton as we mentioned. What about when he's losing? A casual 93.5 average, which is within a point of what Wright's done on that stat all year. It's not a huge sample, but I kind of think the stats aren't lying that much, and the eyetest from the first round certainly backs things up. There's an issue that this isn't the greatest sample, but if we factor in that Wright, while he's come through a first round game and didn't show any health issues that worried a few pre-tournament, may not still be 100%, isn't exactly in the hottest of form (let's not forget that his last game before the worlds was a loss to Steve Hine of all people), this is somewhat of a revenge game, and that we're also getting a great price, this seems obvious - 0.1u Lewis 6/1. This only needs to work 15% of the time to be profitable, and it's using the same theory as the Henderson/Gurney game - it needs a lot of stuff to go right, and it doesn't go right that often, but it doesn't need to.

(15) Alan Norris v James Richardson (afternoon session, 27th)

Round 1 - Norris 3-0 vs Viljanen, Richardson 3-0 v K Huybrechts

Set winning chances on throw:
2017 to date - Norris 51.74%, Richardson 61.88%
Matchplay to date - Norris 49.78%, Richardson 63.79%
European Championship to date - Norris 51.31%, Richardson 63.68%

Match score calculations:
2017 to date - 3.89% Norris 4-0, 21.29% Norris 4-1/4-2, 30.63% 3-3, 35.28% Richardson 4-1/4-2, 8.91% Richardson 4-0
Matchplay to date - 3.25% Norris 4-0, 18.81% Norris 4-1/4-2, 29.76% 3-3, 37.92% Richardson 4-1/4-2, 10.26% Richardson 4-0
European Championship to date - 3.47% Norris 4-0, 19.83% Norris 4-1/4-2, 30.23% 3-3, 36.86% Richardson 4-1/4-2, 9.61% Richardson 4-0

Our second game features Alan Norris, who overcame Kim Viljanen in a straight sets win that was probably a bit closer than the scoreline suggested with Viljanen at least threatening in places, against James Richardson, who after a break of a few years stunned the general darting viewership (but not FRH readers) by knocking out Kim Huybrechts in straight sets. Both won just the nine legs obviously, Richardson with seven of his nine in fifteen darts, while Norris managed just the five, although one was a great twelve darter to help claw back the second set.

The figures look pretty consistent throughout the year, and they all favour Richardson by a small amount, while the line has Norris as a favourite, but not by much, in the 60/40 bracket. I've been stung by betting against Norris a few times, particularly on TV where he seems to do somewhat better than on the European Tour. Let's sanity test these figures - Norris is certainly a bit more consistent, although neither can really call themselves that. Over the whole season Norris averaged just less than a point lower than Richardson on winning legs, but was about the same amount higher on losing legs, so his range is a bit tighter. The full year certainly has a much bigger sample for Norris, closing in on 400 legs played (albeit with a slight losing record), while Richardson is down just over 160 legs played, but went into the black following the Huybrechts match. 160 legs is enough that it's somewhat significant, and it's come from throughout the season - regular European Tour play, a couple of his UK Open games were captured, the European finals as well as the previous round here.

This should be a Richardson bet, but both of them are pretty swingy so there's a lot of variance involved. I'm inclined not to bet as I think Norris has more gears that he can move into if needed, which he often does in the big games. Then again, I remember the European Championship where both players had a common opponent in Simon Whitlock - Richardson lost 6-3, but Norris lost 10-0. There's also probably more pressure on Norris - he's defending a quarter final, and given how wide open things are, if he gets through this and can push Wright (if it is Wright) hard, or even win, then he could get a Premier League invite. I won't bet and probably regret it.

(10) Simon Whitlock v (23) Darren Webster (afternoon session, 27th)

Round 1 - Whitlock 3-1 vs Schindler, Webster 3-2 v Petersen

Set winning chances on throw:
2017 to date - Whitlock 54.25%, Webster 61.55%
Matchplay to date - Whitlock 50.34%, Webster 64.51%
European Championship to date - Whitlock 29.59%, Webster 83.35%

Match score calculations:
2017 to date - 4.35% Whitlock 4-0, 23.15% Whitlock 4-1/4-2, 31.22% 3-3, 33.35% Webster 4-1/4-2, 7.93% Webster 4-0
Matchplay to date - 3.19% Whitlock 4-0, 18.69% Whitlock 4-1/4-2, 29.78% 3-3, 38.08% Webster 4-1/4-2, 10.27% Webster 4-0
European Championship to date - 0.24% Whitlock 4-0, 2.42% Whitlock 4-1/4-2, 11.13% 3-3, 51.77% Webster 4-1/4-2, 34.44% Webster 4-0

Our second second round rematch of this post features Simon Whitlock, who'll hope to take advantage of the draw opening up to get a run to the quarter finals, if he can avoid a repeat of the 4-0 reverse against Darren Webster. This game is somewhat similar to the previous one, where Whitlock is installed as around a 60/40 favourite, but the figures favour Webster, by around the same amount in the largest sample, but gradually getting larger and larger until you get to the European Championship onwards, whereby Webster is reckoned to destroy the Australian like he did last year. How is this working? Let's look at what they've done in that time period - Whitlock had three games in the Euros where he got around half his legs in fifteen darts. He then had a nightmare of a Grand Slam, but didn't actually record that many winning legs to affect things, his performances at the Players Championship weren't great either, a similar 50/50 split of legs in his opening game, but again, in a reverse to Jan Dekker he only got one of his five legs in fifteen darts. In his first round against Martin Schindler, he won eleven legs, and he could only finish two of those within fifteen darts. That's not good. Is it a case of his opponent's pushing him really well and causing him to miss out on premium leg winning chances? Not really, in the Euros he had James Richardson and Alan Norris, then MvG to be fair, but at the Grand Slam he had a guy with dartitis and a BDO opponent, at the Players Championship he had Christian Kist and Jan Dekker, then he had Martin Schindler in the previous round. So only one real truly elite player, and in his losing legs there he managed 91 - bang on his season long average.

Webster came through a surprisingly resistant Devon Petersen, and the worry is that Petersen won his legs the same way that he's done all year - by his opponent letting him. Petersen won eight legs in the match but only one was a fifteen darter. Webster did well enough to get eleven legs, seven in fifteen darts, but only averaged 84 on the legs Petersen won, which is kind of bang on an 18 dart leg performance. He needs to tighten that up quite a bit, but I think he should be able to do that - at all the other majors in the run up to Christmas he's been clocking off in fifteen darts in good order. Webster's got to take a bunch of confidence in coming through a bit of a grind of a game, and should be able to open up against an opponent who he knows he can turn over - 0.5u Webster 11/8.

Kevin Münch v Antonio Alcinas (afternoon session, 27th)

Round 1 - Münch 3-1 vs A Lewis, Alcinas 3-1 v Reyes

Set winning chances on throw:
2017 to date - Münch 86.74%, Alcinas 20.96%
Matchplay to date - Münch 81.43%, Alcinas 27.68%

Match score calculations:
2017 to date - 47.01% Münch 4-0, 46.45% Münch 4-1/4-2, 31.22% 3-3, 0.83% Alcinas 4-1/4-2, 0.08% Alcinas 4-0
Matchplay to date - 34.67% Münch 4-0, 51.37% Münch 4-1/4-2, 11.19% 3-3, 2.50% Alcinas 4-1/4-2, 0.26% Alcinas 4-0

And finally to the one that's the most awkward to analyse from a statistical standpoint, as Münch only has this event in the database, and Alcinas for the whole year only has 23 won legs, 11 of which are from this event. Neither Alcinas nor Münch played a game between the Matchplay and the Euros so those figures are the same, so I'll just ignore the last one. There's not much to go on here apart from the worlds so let's look at that. Clearly Münch's performance was a lot more impressive - Adrian Lewis, a two time world champion, is clearly a more difficult opponent than a somewhat out of form Cristo Reyes, and they both came through by the same scoreline. Moreover, the manner of victory was much more impressive. Münch managed seven of his ten won legs in fifteen darts, including two twelve dart legs, tacking that on to getting three from six won legs in his prelim where Oreshkin didn't test him at all. Alcinas on the other hand got eleven legs against Reyes, but only three were in fifteen darts, and in the legs Reyes won Alcinas averaged under 80 - and neither of these can really be put down to bad doubling, 40% from Alcinas is perfectly respectable. I'm really not sure why the bookies have this even - sure we know that Alcinas was a very competent player five years ago, but that's five years ago now, and sure we know his floor form has been good, but we don't know how good and whether he can actually bring it to the stage. Münch has at least shown a good game here and came through a better qualifier, while it's possible he's a fish on a heater, I'm thinking probably not but will exercise caution in bet sizing - 0.5u Münch evs.

Will aim to get a couple of third round games up each of the next two days, but that may be done quicker or slower, they'll be up before kickoff regardless, particularly the Barney and van Gerwen games which are the first two up.

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