Tuesday, 20 March 2018

It's alive!

Quick follow up on a couple of things I mentioned yesterday. Firstly, of course Barney won't be showing up to Leverkusen, because he took part in the UK qualifier to take advantage of the Raymond van Barneveld rule following a clash with the Premier League and lost to Ross Twell, oops. Secondly, Power BI works well enough without a log in to kick serious ass. It can't import .ods files (lol) so I've needed to export my data to .csv in order for it to work, but it does, so I can very quickly enter a table of players that are playing Leverkusen, relate it to my main sheet, set a date slicer to "the worlds and onwards" (in order to get some data on Kantele), and it does this:


I'm not embedding it directly into the blog, as it's quite a wide file and it's hard to retain the level of data you get within a standard blogger template sizing (even after I've made it wider than usual to incorporate some of the other images I've made), but take a look. It's a similar scatter plot of average when winning legs to average when losing legs that I've done before, some things you might note:

- It's quite clear who the best two players in the field are
- Players to the top left of the trend line (if there was one there, which there isn't, I guess imagine a line between Atkins and van Gerwen) are doing somewhat better than the field when losing than winning. This may often be an indicator of running bad/running into good players, as arguably Suljovic has done a few times, or just generally being consistent, as you'd expect Wade to be (although he's much closer towards the main pack).
- If you look at Ian White you can see why he managed to win on Sunday, but if you look at Peter Wright you can see that talk of him having had a poor start to the season is a bit exaggerated.
- Wade seems to be playing a lot better this year so far, and of the unseeded players, look at Chris Dobey - that final run on Saturday may end up being the norm (perhaps not as extreme) rather than an extreme outlier.
- You may be able to win on the Challenge Tour but it doesn't mean you can play that well on the main tour.
- Alan Norris is not playing very well.

I'll need to see if I can incorporate a bunch of my match prediction algorithms into it. If so, that'd be incredibly sexy, but knowing how the software works it may be harder than you'd think. Expect a quick update once we know the European/home nation qualifiers, even if there's no bets should the linemakers be slow, which they often are.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Players Championship 6

Congrats to Ian White, I've highlighted a few times here and there that he's been playing some good stuff, and he showed it yesterday by claiming the title. Bit of a surprise that van Gerwen went out to Wattimena, hopefully that gives Jermaine some confidence heading up in a season where he could push towards the top 32. Elsewhere, Dave Chisnall made the final, slotting in four twelve darters and two fifteen darters against Bunting, which I think is the best I have on record for anyone, while James Wilson was playing some very solid stuff, throwing seven twelve darters across the day. A good run for van den Bergh, this is the sort of thing he needs to be doing more regularly if, like Wattimena, he wants to push up towards the top 32. It'll be a key set of European qualifiers for them and a few others like de Zwaan, Dekker etc as this is where you can really start to accumulate ranking points. Will Barney show up?

Of those that didn't do well this weekend, it was a bit mediocre for Wright with two second round exits, Smith brought home no money, same as Price, Norris and Cullen.

Updated FRH rankings:

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

Exactly the same as two updates ago with White reclaiming #13 from Webster.

Ahead of Leverkusen this weekend, I'm going to see what a bit of software called Power BI can do with my stats. It's something I use at work and I don't know quite how badly it'll be crippled without a licence (it's free, but Microsoft in their infinite stupidity won't allow Gmail etc accounts to register), but if it can work even remotely it should be amazing for producing some real nice looking stats. Will be having a play with it in the upcoming days to see what works and what doesn't.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Nation Wars

Just thumbing through some of the Players Championship results, which seemed to be very much a tournament of two halves - quarter finalists of van Gerwen, Anderson, Wade and Suljovic you might expect in the top half, but in the bottom half you have Dobey, Clemens, Searle and O'Connor? Interesting one to say the least, with Dobey getting back to form and making the final, Searle hitting back after a mediocre start to the season, while Clemens continues a great start as a tour card holder - it's now about getting into the multitude of European Tour events for him. Quite a few surprising early exits which helped open up that bottom half - Wright out round 2 to Dolan, Darren Webster falling to Joyce at the same stage, Dobey dealing with Chisnall in the third, Jamie Lewis losing to Simon Preston in the opener, not sure which of Alan Norris and Steve West has dropped enough that they draw each other in round 1, but West won that then lost to Stephen Burton in the board final, Price lost round one to Mansell and has gone off on Twitter which is most unlike him, O'Connor eliminated the other Lewis in the third, Cross out round one to Luke Woodhouse, complete carnage.

To the title of the post, it's been somewhat suggested in the past on a different scale and Hearn's not been interested, but the concept of a country vs country battle in the style of the Ryder Cup ought to be potentially interesting. Have teams of ten, go with England, the Netherlands, the rest of the UK and the rest of the world. Just play singles, captain of a team decides the orders, quick six leg matches, TV break after each, it's made for TV. If you go on FRH rankings you'd have these lineups:

England - Cross, Smith, Chisnall, Webster, White, Wade, Norris, Cullen, Bunting, Lewis
Rest of the UK/Ireland - Wright, Anderson, Gurney, Price, Lewis, Henderson, Clayton, Thornton, Webster, Dolan
Netherlands - van Gerwen, van Barneveld, van de Pas, Klaasen, van der Voort, Wattimena, Kist, Dekker, Meulenkamp, de Zwaan
Rest of the world - Suljovic, Whitlock, Huybrechts, Anderson, Reyes, van den Bergh, Cadby, other Huybrechts, Lerchbacher, Ratajski

Tell me that isn't money?

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

RIP Jim Bowen

Pretty sad day. I'm of the age where Bullseye was essential viewing as a kid, and I don't think it's unfair to say that it helped to populate the game beyond what it was outside of the limited TV coverage the sport was getting in the 80's. The comically bad arrows, the hilarious prizes (shame, that speedboat would have been a lot of use in Wolverhampton), the catchphrases, it probably helped to make a name of many of the pros that appeared back in the day. RIP Jim.

Answer to previous question: Dean Winstanley

Monday, 12 March 2018

Gary Anderson - what form is he in?

In ranked events so far this season, Gary Anderson's played eight tournaments and won four of them, including the only major to date, only being stopped by Corey Cadby (a loss which he of course avenged in style in the UK Open), Benito van de Pas (er, I guess that's a thing?), Danny Noppert and Adam Hunt. He's raked in over a hundred grand in prize money during that period, but exactly how good is he playing? Let's take a look, but first, a quiz question - which former major finalist, on his way back from an event this weekend, opted not to park at the airport, get a cab or even take the train, but took the same bus as me? Answers on a postcard to FRH Towers, reveal next post.

The raw figures of legs won is 233-125 for a solid 65% win rate. In comparison, Michael van Gerwen is not up at 70%, Cadby is down at 63%, Cross is even lower at 58%, Wright is down further still. Michael Smith's the only other player above 60%. That's five of your top ten, for bonus points, guess the other five (assume a minimum of 30 legs won, although everyone in the list has 100+ legs won so it's not some obscure random that won some early rounds of UK Open qualifiers 6-0 and then went out 6-5 or similar). Answers at the end of the post.

How quickly is he winning the legs? Pretty fast. 15.88% of those legs won have been in four visits or better. That said, it's not hugely quicker than what he was doing throughout last season, and of those with a decent sample size of legs won it's not even top five - Cross leads the way just breaking 20%, but van Gerwen, Smith, van den Bergh, Gurney and Cadby are all ahead of him on that count.

That's your explosive scoring, but what of the bread and butter, getting your legs in fifteen to force the opponent to do something special to break, and limiting his margin for error if he wants to hold? He's just a fraction of a percentage point under two thirds, indeed if he wins his next leg in fifteen darts or better it will be precisely a two out of three ratio. But again, it's not even top five - van Gerwen leads the way being the only player to break 75%, while Cross is at 73% and Gurney is over 70% by the tiniest of margins. van den Bergh, Goldie and White are all also above Anderson. If we look further and consider the overall points per turn when you're winning legs, Anderson barely breaks the top ten with a 95.14 average. van Gerwen and Cross are ahead in the 98 bracket, Gurney and van den Bergh are on 96 and change, while Smith, White, Goldie and Wright are all ahead by fractions. Cadby only trails by 0.04 points per turn.

So, you might ask, what happens if Anderson was allowed to convert more chances? What about when he's losing legs? Here he's nearly top, with Cross ahead by less than 0.2 points per turn, and van Gerwen so close behind that less than a quarter of a point separates them all in the mid-93's. Only fourteen players with a decent sample (Suljovic is there but has barely played) even break the 90 barrier here, it's a tricky one to do - of the top 32, Klaasen, Reyes and Norris are below 85, van de Pas is sub-80.

It'd be interesting to see what'd have happened if the legs were allowed to be played out and how Anderson would have converted them? As stated earlier, there's 125 legs lost, so let's have a look at what he had left.

There's only actually five occasions where he was denied a possible twelve dart leg, and only eight legs where he wasn't allowed a fourth visit to the board. On three occasions he wasn't on a finish, and where he was on a finish there wasn't too much easy left, only being left sitting on a two darter once, the rest being big three darters where as a minimum you need either two trebles or need to use the bull, so if we're kind then maybe he hits one of those?

The biggest chunk were where Gary had four visits to the board. Now here, there's 55 legs, of which six weren't an outshot, but there were quite a lot better opportunities here. Nine times he was left sitting on a double, another seven times he only needed a single for a double, there's another ten legs where he's on a two darter needing a treble, but can get there with two singles if he misses, and then another twelve legs where he just needs one treble as a part of a three dart combination.

Now we get to the legs where Anderson's already had five visits to the board, so isn't going to be improving his stats that much. Oddly, it's more or less a 50/50 split where Anderson's had five visits and lost. Seventeen of these legs were real bad ones where he'd used six or more visits (four of these he'd had seven visits and still not checked out), on all but four occasions he was on a double, the others being either pulling a previous attempt into an odd number (double fives, bull etc) and one rogue leg where he was left on 64. You'd think the vase majority of those disappear next visit, but you never know. The legs where he'd had five visits look mostly similar, but not quite so clear - of 45 legs, 30 saw him waiting on a single darter (excluding a couple where he'd left 50, because he's not Royden Lam), and another ten were sub-100 asks. As all he's been denied was a six visit leg, it's not the greatest deal in the world.

In overview, Anderson's playing a solid game, but it's kind of what we would expect him to do anyway - that he's managed to win some titles, three of which van Gerwen didn't even enter, is perhaps overstating his current level of play.

Re: the fifteen dart leg kill stats. You were looking for Ratajski, Stevenson, Joyce, Clemens and Beaton. Bet that surprised you?

Players Championship 3/4 quick roundup

Just back from overseas and have put the results in to do the new rankings, yet to pull everything out of dartconnect but I'm going to come back and look at Gary Anderson's ridiculously hot start to the season once I've done so. Obviously a great weekend for him, but some great performances lower down the order - there seemed to be quite a lot of players making the board final on both days.

Wright's got to be happy with another final, although a first round loss in the second event has got to be a bit disappointing. Whitlock going 0/2 is a bad one, Chizzy getting a semi final and a board final gives him a bit more of a buffer to Gerwyn Price for the last FRH top 10 spot. A few players in the lower half of the top 20 lost potential ground - Barney didn't play, White, Wade and Huybrechts got two wins over the two days between them, Norris was barely better, I'm not even sure at this stage that you can call making a board final a bad result for Benito. Just outside, Lewis and Bunting each won over three grand to close the cap slowly to Cullen, whose quarter final keeps things safe for now, Dekker and Brown's quarters move them nicely into the top 40, of which Mark Webster is no longer a member (he might have been outside after the UK Open, but he's definitely out now). Outside the top 50, de Zwaan's final keeps him moving up and is within six grand of that, Caven managed a quarter final to halt a slide, de Graaf's good weekend keeps him inside the top 64, while Stevenson, Johnson, Hudson and Clemens all managed two four figure cashes. Noppert is less than one win from the top 100 as his solid start to the season continues.

Updated FRH rankings:

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

Not much movement as you'd expect, but Anderson is now within two grand of Taylor for fourth place, but with the world final still two months away from starting to lose value, Anderson probably won't get it automatically without continuing to put money in the bank.

Monday, 5 March 2018

UK Open aftermath

A disappointing event for many reasons, feeling for the fans that were able to get there and weren't allowed in, and the players that had qualified to get there but weren't able to reach the venue, the whole event lost a bit of the magic around it, but still, congrats to Gary on his first major since (I think) the last worlds he won, and also to Corey on breaking through on the big senior stage, both playing some cracking darts over the weekend.

Betting was disappointing but I've gone over that already, we now move on to a couple of European Tour qualifiers followed by two Players Championship events, with another couple following the weekend after, so big chances for players to build towards the Matchplay and look to stockpile ranking points for the other majors later on in the year - it's now literally non stop until the week before the World Cup at the end of May, there's ranking events every single weekend, so with DartConnect in full flow we'll quickly accumulate a lot of data on the full set of tour card holders and others on the periphery of the full pro scene.

Updated FRH rankings:

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

The obvious movers are Anderson and Price following their deep runs (Cross is a clear 140k ahead of Wright but nearly 400k behind van Gerwen so wouldn't have moved whatever he did), while Norris bricking the event saw a group of players edge ahead in what is a congested second half of the table. Lower down looking at those which made runs to the last 16, King is now back up to 21 but a good eight grand behind Cullen, West climbs to 29, Wattimena and Dobey are separated by one spot in 36 and 37, while Cadby is already into the top 40 at number 39. Ratajski continues to solidify a top 50 spot at 46, our semi finalists Owen and Pallett close in on that ranking as well at 57 and 58 respectively, but are still both five grand away, John Part climbs back into the top 100 at 97, and Paul Hogan is up at 113 despite only having money from the UK Open.

Don't expect to see any immediate ranking updates following the next weekend as I'm overseas watching football and getting drunk, look at Monday/Tuesday for that.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

UK Open semi finals

Very disappointed that West couldn't capitalise on the break chance he had in the first session, then went completely to pieces after Pallett broke in the last leg of the second session (highlight being with 92 left, if you're going to play it safe, start on 20's, but to go bull first and then set up tops after going 25-17? What the hell?), but Owen dominated Part to salvage something.

Ando came through and should be the hot favourite, but he's drawn Pallett while Cadby has Owen, so the two biggest names that are left are separated. Odds are only just trickling through, but the tournament sponsors have Cadby at 1/4 and Anderson at 1/10, while I have Anderson winning at an 87.67% clip (on all darts since the worlds) and Cadby at 83.69%, so I don't think I'll be betting on these at all unless oddschecker shows me more lines (I'm not trawling through every site) and someone has the Cadby/Owen line as a lot closer.

Have projected the potential finals as well, and I have the following winning chances:

Gary Anderson - 54.64%
Corey Cadby - 39.85%
Robert Owen - 2.85%
Dave Pallett - 2.66%

Seems to be a case of lay the hell out of Gary Anderson and/or just back Cadby with Ando being shorter than 1/2. 3/1 Cadby outright seems to be a huge price.

No pyro no Party - UK Open quarter finals

Nice of King to miss eleven darts at double over the space of three legs that Part won, while White played probably his worst game of the season so far when it mattered. If you're going to let the opponent break you, at least force him to throw a fifteen darter - Owen twice won legs in six visits on the White throw, could have been a third if White's worst leg in terms of speed (a 21 dart hold) saw Owen not even get to a finish after five visits. Oh well, we go again now:

The draw, unlike the last round, has given us some real interesting games, including throwing the two best players left in the tournament against each other, the next two best players against each other, so if we hit the one in three shot of Cross/Ando drawing Price/Cadby in the semi final someone is getting a real cheap pass through to the final (and, as a result, the Grand Slam).

For our bets we're just going to look at the graphic above, which'll tell you everything you need to know. Pallett's legs in par is a little bit better in this tournament than overall, but nothing spectacular, it's still five points lower than West's overall score, and his points per turn are a remarkably consistent 90 across the board. West has managed a solid 60% clip of legs won in par, including four twelve darters, although his points per turn are a bit down and a bit more inconsistent than in the overall sample, with the overall points per turn being pretty much the same as Pallett's. West seems to have got the whole play mediocre on TV thing behind him, so I'll go for a bet here - 0.5u West 8/11.

Part against Owen is a quarter final nobody would have called before the tournament, the bookies have this quite close, but Owen's figures are superior on every metric, having beaten White and crushed Jamie Lewis, while Part's not beaten a single player in the FRH top 20 to get to this stage. Part's par legs won in this tournament alone are comparable to his overall stats, and his points per turn when losing (and thus overall) are a couple of points better than the full sample. Owen's overall numbers are also very similar to his numbers just for this tournament, the only way I can see him losing is if the occasion gets to him and Part, having done everything before for 25 years, is able to hold his nerve having kept it close. I doubt this happens, Owen's demeanour when I've seen him on the European Tour is one of a confident player and I think he pulls through - 0.5u Owen 4/6.

Price against Cadby won't be a quiet one, the bookies have this as the second closest match while I have this as the closest match, barely able to separate them. Price is the better player overall on par legs, but in this tournament he's been able to get by with much lower figures, finishing less than half in fifteen darts, Cadby's is down a bit as well but only about five points lower. The winning averages overall are similar, while Cadby is more consistent resulting in a small edge in overall points per turn, but in this tournament it's the other way around - Price is actually averaging more when he's losing (over 94) than when he's winning (91 and a bit). There's enough conflicting information in a close match that I can't bet on this one.

The main event will set the clear favourite for the tournament, the bookies have it evens, while the percentage win chance calculated by the secret FRH master computer reckons Cross is a solid favourite. Ando's par legs is a bit better in this event than overall, but not quite up to 70%, while he's been very tight on all points per turn stats, everything when rounding to a whole number being 95. Cross has been more explosive, with five twelve dart legs to Anderson's three, par legs won being less than a point down from the overall sample (so higher than Anderson), while his points per turn are basically the same as the whole sample. The only worry is head to head, with Cross being 0-3 against Anderson, including most recently in the semi final of the qualifier Anderson won. I think that may be enough to not make this a bet, there'll be a bit more added pressure given that this may end up being a virtual final (I'm sure the winner of Price/Cadby at least would have something to say about that) so I'll pass this one and probably regret it.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

UK Open round 5 bets

Follow up from the previous post:

- no bet on Smith/West, might be some fractional value on Steve but nowhere near enough for me to recommend it as a bet.
- no bet on Wattimena/Anderson, again I think the favourite is a bit too short but Jermaine isn't quite long enough to recommend a play, Ando looked clinical earlier.
- Cadby line again looks OK, I thought this might have been a bit longer and we could speculate on Dobey but only 5/2 isn't the edge that we need.
- 0.5u King 1/4, both my line and the Elo line (whose stats do take match length into account by the way) have King at 88% in a match where we're being offered an 80/20 line, that's good enough for me. Would fire stronger, but Part's game seems better this weekend than the stats going in so won't go crazy.
- 1u White 1/3, the Elo stats look on the money but I've got him at over 88%, hitting 8/10 legs in under fifteen darts in both games so far (including three four visit legs earlier) and good consistency stats make me think Owen can't keep this close enough.
- Pallett line looks close to perfect, when I have it 70/30 and Huybrechts is 2/5 I can't go here.
- No bet on the Hogan game, we're on fairly limited info with him and while Betfair offer an outlier price that'd be tempting I think that gets palped.
- Cross/Ratajski line looks very close to accurate, if I'm going on Elo then Ratajski could be worth a minor punt, but I'm not, so he isn't.

UK Open round 5

That didn't go as planned, special thanks to Ron Meulenkamp for missing match darts when 9-7 against Part, changed what would have been more or less a break even afternoon into a three quarters of a unit loss, overall down 0.85 units for the tournament so far. Such is the closeness of how things go, but then again we got out of jail a couple of times in earlier games - Meikle going 5-0 down, letting Mansell have nine visits to win the match where he only gets a dart at the bull (although I guess he had a dart where he bust 136), and then reel off the rest of the legs to win 6-5 is my favourite.

The odds for this evening aren't out yet, but due to the usual lag between the TV stage finishing and the outer boards finishing mean that I've been able to project the matches already, and here's the stats:

Not exactly the most awe-inspiring set of games, with every single match having someone with a better than two in three shot, and five of the games having someone with a better than three in four shot. The guy doing the Elo ratings is almost as lacking in optimism, although he only has Cross at 65% and Huybrechts at 62%, so there is that. I don't know whether his model adapts for greater lengths of match or not.

Will post shortly when odds are released, but with the above you can at least look to punt yourself.

UK Open round 4

Quick bets as time is of the essence:

Dobey/Lowe - Dobey should be favourite but not by as much as this I think, 0.25u Lowe 21/10

Hughes/White - White looks to be more than a 2/1 favourite here in my book, 0.5u White 8/13

Part/Meulenkamp - Meulenkamp seems an even bigger favourite than White but the odds are about the same, 0.5u Meulenkamp 4/7

West/Edgar - line looks about fine, West not quite a 2:1 favourite

Gurney/Huybrechts - Gurney's actually been playing decently well on the floor of late and Kim's not really been up to his level, 0.5u Gurney 8/15

Brown/Ratajski - this looks close with Ratajski having the minor edge, which is how the bookies see it as well

King/Clayton - Seems pretty much even money to me, Clayton not being quite long enough odds against to punt against someone who beat Barney just yesterday

Owen/Rafferty - Even closer to a flip than the previous game. Bookies also have it even closer to a flip, so no bets here

Bunting/Wattimena - Bunting close, but not quite at, a 2:1 favourite, we're being offered 4/6 which is nearly enough but not quite

Anderson/Evans - Anderson is a big favourite, seems a bit too big, should be more like 1/3 than 1/5, Evans is a tempting outsider but I'll pass

Pallett/Wade - Line looks close to OK, Wade almost a value punt at just the right side of 1/3, looks safe for acca chasers

van Duijvenbode/Price - This looks a good Price bet, seems a much bigger favourite than the line suggests, 0.5u Price 2/5

Hogan/de Zwaan - Big story either way here, with limited Hogan knowledge of recent I can't suggest a bet

Meikle/Smith - Smith is a big, big favourite and rightly so, no real underdog value on Meikle here, who can certainly play but it's too big an ask against Smith in this form

Cross/Anderson - Similar analysis to the Wade game. Cross is rightly favourite and should get this home around the amount the line suggests, perhaps a little bit more often

Cadby/Schindler - Schindler might be a live punt, but given the trip he's made just to be here he might not be 100% which is what he'd need to realise his equity

Friday, 2 March 2018

UK Open round 3 bets

Less than an hour to go and I've not looked at any individual stats (other than seeing Reyes missed three clear at double sixteen to win, bastard) so I'm going to be very brief and very cautious on tipping, and look in depth at lines that look :

- Stevenson looks close at 3/1, especially given a big run in the last Pro Tour weekend, but Wade also had one and was actually playing good darts for a change.
- Would have fired on Wattimena against Beaton at slightly odds against, but he didn't play well today even though he won 6-0, Beaton's misfiring but Wattimena will need to do better to clean up.
- Aspinall is kind of tempting at 10/1 against Cross, I've seen weirder things happen - what the heck, 0.1u Aspinall 10/1
- Pallett's kind of tempting at around 6/4 or so, but Thornton looked OK in the second of last weekend's Players Championship events so will pass.
- Part of me wants to go for de Zwaan against van Gerwen at even longer odds than Aspinall against Cross, but I'll avoid that.
- White over Whitlock looks to be decent value, Ian was playing incredibly in the second Pro Tour event in a run to the semi final that'll walk all over Whitlock, 0.25u White 11/8
- Would go for Keegan Brown over Joe Cullen, but Keegan managed to get through and not throw one good leg (see also Wattimena, Jermaine), Cullen had a good four run spurt that put Perales away and seems to be on it today to a large enough extent that I'll avoid it.
- Ward looks an OK punt against Dobey. Dobey's getting a bit better but Ward's won 12 of 13 legs today, while his first game he didn't need to do much, against Evetts he looked to be putting in enough decent darts that he could cause damage often enough to get home given the line, 0.25u Ward 23/10

Nothing more, I'm going to enter today's matches so far then brave the winds and go down the pub. Expect a round 4 preview tomorrow morning.

Edit - this afternoon was effectively break even at down a tenth of a unit, had two matches voided.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Oh the weather outside is frightful

But that means great news - our game Saturday is off, which'll allow for proper analysis of round five, assuming the UK Open goes ahead - the weather's already taken care of the Premier League and Minehead's not that far away from it, but hopefully it should be OK.

The unfortunate news is that a few players have apparently withdrawn - Wiki's indicating that Berndt is out due to illness, while apparently O'Connor, McGowan, and Goldie are also out, although there's no sources and until I hear anything from the PDC or the horse's mouth I'm assuming nothing (for example, some guy on Twitter says James Wilson is out, whereas James Wilson says he's in Minehead - bookies are also still taking bets on van Duijvenbode). Will wait and see, none of our bets have been affected at this stage, but if something's a scratch beforehand it'll be void should anything else develop.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

UK Open betting preview

Now for the bets - I'm going to analyse in the order I've written things up in the previous post. As stated I won't be about to post any live bets once round 2 matches are known, and analysis is based off the eight floor tournaments so far this year:

Chisnall v Eidams/Johnson - Eidams is shorter than 1/3 which seems a bit short given Eidams isn't tearing things up massively, but if Eidams does come through then look to get on in round two as the model reckons it'd be a coinflip.

van Barneveld v Norton - Market has Barney as huge odds on, the way he's playing possibly too huge but he should be solid enough and there's too much unknown about how Norton adapt to the stage.

Price v Wilson - Market has Price 4/7, model has Price at around 66%, seems too close to the line for me.

Norris v McGowan/van Duijvenbode - Line has DvD at 60/40 odds, model has it 62/38, no real bets here. Norris is about the other way against van Duijvenbode in the model, so if he starts as too much of a long odds on punt, go with the Dutchman.

van de Pas/Reyes v Evans - Model has Reyes as a huge favourite given how poorly Benito is playing, yet Benito starts as a tiny favourite, first bet here is 0.25u Reyes 11/10. Evans would be about a 2/1 dog against Reyes if he did come through so that's a marker for the next round, if Benito does come through then unless he slots in at least half his legs in fifteen darts I'd just keep firing against van de Pas.

Cullen v Perales - The Spaniard's darts have quietly been decent, so while he's a dog, he shouldn't be as much of a dog as the bookies' suggest with Cullen being erratic, 0.25u Perales 23/10.

Bunting v Brooks/Quantock - First round line of 4/6 Quanny seems perfect, Bunting should be heavily favoured, take anything better than 1/2 against Chris.

van den Bergh/Evans v Dobey - Dimitri is playing incredible darts and this seems automatic, 0.5u van den Bergh 2/7, this should be a 1/5 type of matchup or worse. Against Dobey, it'd be a bit closer, with Dobey having chances to get home one time in three.

Hamilton/O'Connor v Wattimena - We don't really know how the Hammer is playing, but Willie's been putting in a solid high 80's type game (i.e. higher in conventional averages and not per turn, so call it low 90's), which should be fine but at 8/13 I'm not jumping in. Wattimena should be favoured against the Irishman in round two, but only just, an 8/11 sort of game.

Richardson v Rickwood/Berndt - These two are separated by less than a tenth of a point in the adjusted overall averages, Berndt having the bigger heights which makes him the favourite, he should have more big game knowledge as well so will leave the game alone, against James he should actually be favoured according to the model, maybe about 60/40 - if Berndt isn't being wildly inconsistent then look for that as the second round play.

Brown v Jenkins/Killington - The two have similar stats, but not so similar that the model doesn't throw Jenkins out as a favourite, maybe not quite as much as the line suggests but I wouldn't want to bet on Killington in his first real big game. Brown is in the top 20 of adjusted averages so far and rates to be an enormous favourite, take anything up to 1/4 against either opponent.

North v Jenkins/Nicholson - The model can barely separate the two first round players, Jenkins not even getting to 51%, there may be tiny value on Nicholson given he's had much more match practice over the last twelve months but I'm not punting. North should be value in the second round if you can get 4/6, 8/13 maybe, as the two first rounders are so close this goes for either player.

Alcinas v Walsh/Roy - Bookies have the first game at evens, that seems like it might be worth a tiny Walsh punt given he's playing at a higher standard and hit higher heights in their peaks, but I don't think he can trouble Antonio, who's better than a 2/1 favourite, maybe even snap off 4/9 if offered.

Meulenkamp/Hibbert v Read/Davis - Meulenkamp had an incredible tournament when he had his run at the weekend, with twelve dart legs everywhere. 0.5u Meulenkamp 1/4, I can't see how any of these challenges Ron.

Evetts v Lee/Ward - Ward's a favourite as I thought, but he's quite a large favourite at 4/11 which doesn't look like value for a non-Hogan pub qualifier. If he looks decent and you're offered good odds against Evetts, who's not playing tremendously, then take 2/1 or so.

Aspinall v Pullen/Rice - Aspinall has a 90+ adjusted average, which'll be close to a lock against either player, we know nothing about Pullen, know a bit about Rice, the bookies have it close to even so let's speculate, 0.25u Rice 4/5

Gilding v Clemens - Bookies have this as a flip, probably just on name value, I have Clemens at near 60/40 without any stats from his good Bundesliga weekend, so will add more money here, 0.25u Clemens evs

Evans/Hajimena v Wilkinson - Evans is rated as more than an 80% favourite in the market which I'm really not interested in, if he gets through and faces Wilkinson then he should be about the same again - if the line is closer because Wilkinson came through the PDC route then lump on the rapid one.

Owen v Davidson/Burgoine - Was thinking that Davidson might be the better pick, but he's listed as a dog, gamble gamble, 0.25u Davidson 6/5, Owen should be able to handle anything up to a 90 average from the winner with ease.

Mansell/Meikle v Winstanley/Craddock - Not going to consider even looking at such an unknown amateur game, or think about the winner's match, it's just Mansell/Meikle here, and the stats make Meikle better than a 2/1 favourite, we're being offered evens, let's go, 0.5u Meikle evs

Johnson/Scott v Lowe - Johnson's 1/3 which is a little bit too short to really consider, against Lowe he should be a dog according to the model, not quite 2/1, so set your betting sights based on that.

Shepherd/Hunt v Kamphuis - Hunt looks to be about the right side of a 5/4-4/5 match per the model, the bookies have it evens, not quite enough value for me here, against Kamphuis they both might be in trouble with the model giving Vincent over a two in three shot against Hunt, so prepare to fire if the market makes it closer.

Jones v Humphries/Kelly - Kelly is live but it's only a 2/1 line, so I'm not too interested here, so let's look at a potential Humphries v Jones game, which should be very, very close, their legs won lines are close to identical, so if the market opens up unbalanced either way, get on.

Harris/Mitchell v Barnard/Robertson - Both pros playing good stuff recently, both big odds on, so leaving the round one match, if the two pros did face off I would expect Harris to be a big favourite and 1/2 would look like a great bet.

Noppert v Burnett/Harrington - Burnett is 4/6 whereas I have him with over 70% chances, auto bet territory, 0.5u Burnett 4/6, if he was to go through to face Noppert he'd be a 35/65 dog according to the stats.

Kellett v McClelland/Airey - 0.25u Airey 4/5 is a minor speculative play based on his record, Kellett hasn't been doing too much so if Airey can put up mid 80's and you're offered more than slightly odds against then think about a bet.

Langendorf v Rasztovits/Tate - Michael is 2/7 which is too short for me, that's nearly the sort of price he should be against Langendorf, snap off 4/9 or better.

Hogan/Brown v Goldie - Hogan is 2/9 so lol no, Goldie is actually in the 90's on adjusted average so could be worth a punt if they install Paul as a favourite on name value.

Part/Morris v Atkins/Whitworth - Not betting Part at 1/2 against anyone, Atkins is the same price but not quite worth value, we don't have much on Atkins but if Part is the favourite lay him small.

Jiwa/Mold v Rafferty - Mold seems worth a small bet, 0.25u Mold 13/10, just based on Jiwa being mediocre, Rafferty would rate as just over a 70% favourite against Prakash.

Nentjes v Pilgrim/Jopling - Jopling at 8/11 is really close to a bet but will refrain, Nentjes is very close to a 90 adjusted average, so if offered around 1/2 it should be an automatic bet.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

UK Open preview ├╝berpost

Less than a week to go before my favourite tournament of the year, 128 players from all over the darting spectrum face off with all kinds of possible storylines to tell. This year, we've got full data from all the pro qualifiers, which I've taken and dumped into my database, a time consuming process which has more than doubled the number of games in it, but it's allowed me to create graphs like these:


This is a series of three scatter plots for each of the three sets of pro qualifiers - those who are straight into round 3, those who are straight into round 2 and the rest who kick off early with the Riley's qualifiers. There's so much data, and seeing how rank average some of the players are is eye-opening. Karsten Kornath takes the spoon more or less, but Dean Winstanley's game seems to have completely imploded. They're huge so I'm not embedding directly into the blog.

Anyhow, we've got 96 players looking to punch their ticket into round 3 and a near two grand payday, let's look at each section of the draw in turn, ordered by the highest player in the FRH rankings for each section. All the stats from legs won/lost on are based just on the UK Open qualifiers - I'm not taking anything further back for this, nor have I put the first weekend of the Players Championship in yet. I reference Elo a bit - follow DartsElo1 on Twitter who does that. Basically it's a number that rates how good you are, the higher the better. Bets will follow nearer the kickoff, once I've put the full data through the master computer and made some projections, I'm at work on the Friday so won't be able to get anything up for round 2 games that are not known already, round 3 may be very brief and round 5 may not get anything up at all (Blades home game at 3pm), the random draw, while amazing, doesn't allow any what if analysis to be done. Without further ado, the preview:

Chizzy's the highest ranked player (other than Taylor and Suljovic who didn't attempt to qualify for different reasons) not to make it straight through to round 3, and he's not got the easiest of tasks given the level that we know Eidams can hit. Chisnall could have avoided this by playing the second weekend, but he didn't, so he has work to do. Eidams' numbers aren't bad, not too far off Dave's, so he's not without chances, especially if he can do anything like what he did in that two set spell against van Gerwen a couple of years back. Johnson tried Q-School in 2017, but could only muster a solitary round of 128 appearance over the four days, prior to that he played the Challenge Tour in 2016 with little success, he did play one European Tour event in 2013 but lost 6-3 to Jamie Caven in round 1. The dartselo account reckons Johnson is about 100 points worse than Eidams, which seems about right.

If you look at the big visuals you can see that Barney ran really bad - a 99 losing average thanks to getting Ratajski twice for early exits is huge. He got home thanks to one last sixteen performance where he went out to Adrian Lewis and should have more than enough for Norton, who made it on the last day with a last 16 run involving wins over Prins, Adie and Cullen, and three last leg deciders in that run. He doesn't have a card despite a semi final run where he lost a close game to Robert Owen, but is a finalist on the Challenge Tour, albeit three years ago now.

Big clash in round two with Premier League player Gerwyn Price coming up against World Championship seed James Wilson, as both players were right at the top of the list of those that didn't get a free pass to round 3. Price's numbers across the board are better, as you would expect, but there is a fair bit of variance, and if Wilson can put together a solid three or four leg run as he can do, then in a short format it's not unreasonable to think he can pull off an upset.

Intriguing one this, Norris has put up some pretty average numbers in qualification with as many legs lost as won, and has shown the biggest difference between winning and losing of this section, highlighting inconsistency. His numbers are better, but it's not by much, and the first round game looks pretty close with van Duijvenbode seemingly finally getting over that infamous loss to Barney in the worlds and playing some better darts. Whoever comes through this tough game should gain a bit of confidence, but it will be a stage game in round two, and Norris always seems to do a bit better in that environment.

Holy living crap, how bad is Benito playing? Only making it through on countback, only just getting more than three legs out of ten in fifteen darts or legs, less than 80 points per turn, and he's up against Cristo Reyes first round on the second stage. Fortunately Cristo's been poor for around six months or more, but those figures in qualification when he's winning look a lot more like the standard we expect. That said, there's a huge difference between his winning and losing. The winner will face David Evans, who's not far behind on Elo, and made a last sixteen on day five to go with an earlier last 32 run to get one away from the money. He seems a lot more solid, if only through looking at the tightness in his winning and losing average, and that could be enough if either opponent continues to be hit and miss.

Straight round two game here, with Cullen nearly getting through to round 3, only missing out by a couple of wins. His opponent is new Spanish tour card holder Perales, notable mostly for his incident with Lewis on the opening day, but that overlooks the good darts he played that day to reach the quarter finals. His numbers throughout are pretty solid, and not that far off Cullen's, who has had occasional struggles and loss of form (two opening round deciding leg defeats in the Players Championship not helping). If Cullen steps up he should have enough, but if the Spaniard can stick around he could spring a surprise.

Bunting could do with a bit of a run here to restore some confidence, which was starting to come back towards the end of last season in places. A near 60% clip of legs won in par is fine, but could certainly tighten up on consistency. His opponent will either be Chris Quantock, who we've seen a few times as he nearly made the worlds and is in the second year of a tour card run, most noticably in this tournament last year where he lost heavily to Simon Whitlock, or Bradley Brooks, a new tour card holder who won it outright on the final day and also got in here on the final day with a last 32 run, just enough to creep into round 1. Quantock's numbers are slightly better and he'll certainly have the experience advantage over someone who's played pretty much only Challenge/Development Tour games, which should see him through, and he could challenge Bunting if he shows up.

Vincent's got the draw he would have wanted, while he didn't tear anything up in the qualifiers, not making it past the last 32 in any of them, he's picked up cash in five qualifiers and isn't playing horribly bad, although he'd like to get more legs in under fifteen than he is doing. He'll play one of two Riley's qualifiers from two of my former haunts, with the Elo rankings only splitting them by one point. Lacey hasn't much record but he did make the quarters of the big Worthington's open that Paul Hogan won last year (Hogan knocked Lacey out), while Biggs has nothing other than making this comp last year, going out 6-4 in the opening round to Yordi Meeuwisse, who's a competent enough operator. Vincent should be too strong but can't afford to be complacent at all here.

van den Bergh can count himself incredibly unlucky to be in round 1 here, getting some tough draws and being on the wrong side of them. His numbers look outright spectacular, continuing what he was showing in the worlds, and should come in as a big favourite against Evans, who has course and distance for cashing, having made the last 64 in 2015 and 2016, and the last 96 last season, only being edged out by Ron Meulenkamp. The winner faces Chris Dobey, who got all of his qualifying money in the fifth qualifier, busting every other event in the last 128. Dobey's numbers look fine and steady, but Dimitri should be able to overcome him if he produces anything remotely like what he's been doing.

Wattimena will be looking to replicate his run to the last 32 from last season as he pushes up towards the top 32 in the world. He could certainly do with converting legs quicker, but is looking quite tight and consistent. His opponent will not be easy, as he'll get either Willie O'Connor, who we know on any day can bring a game to damage a lot better players than Wattimena, and whose game in the qualifiers isn't far behind, or former world finalist Andy Hamilton, who has come through the Riley's qualifiers as he looks to rebuild on the BDO/open circuit. Andy's still rated the second highest (behind Hogan) of the Riley's qualifiers on Elo so despite a bad couple of years he's still dangerous.

Richardson, after his last 16 worlds run, hasn't kicked off this season in a great fashion at all, only just doing enough to get into round 2, and putting up mediocre numbers. Oddly there's not a big difference between winning and losing legs, inconsistency always used to be the issue. His opponent will be either Robert Rickwood, a Challenge Tour winner last season but someone who didn't get close in Q-School, or Rene Berndt, who we saw three times on the European Tour last year without success. The two have the same overall points per turn, but Berndt shows a lot more variation between winning and losing legs - despite being the only player of the three to win even 40% of legs in par. This'll depend on which Berndt turns up, and which Richardson turns up, if Berndt throws bad legs then Rickwood wins, if Richardson keeps playing like this then he could easily go out.

Keegan's numbers look very good - enough explosive scoring to get double digits in four visit percentage, solid enough that he's nearly at 60% in five visit kills, and consistent enough that he's at a 90 average when losing legs, so it'll take something good to beat him. In round one there's two players at hugely different stages in their career - Jenkins with multiple decades of experience while Killington is barely into his twenties. Jenkins' experience could be important here, as their numbers are quite close in the qualifiers, Jenkins being marginally better - if it gets close then having been there before so many times might be the difference. Whoever wins will need to step it up hugely if they want to get close to Brown the way he is playing.

Spectacular looking first round match, which earlier in the decade could easily have been a major quarter final or similar, as Terry Jenkins is having one more punt at the circuit, while Nicholson, after winning his card back in 2017, is looking to get enough in the bank to retain it. We've barely seen the Bull throw a dart in a year, so seeing that his numbers still look good is critical and he should be a slight favourite in what is the first game on the stage in the afternoon. Their opponent is Richard North, who's still yet to transfer his floor game to the stage, but if you look at the figures from his floor game you can see why he's been able to get into positions to play on TV last season. The game is on an outer board so it should be a bit more comfortable a situation for North, but still a tight game to call whoever he plays.

An opening round game which makes you think it's 2004 again, Alex Roy continues his record of qualifying in the UK Open, and has a circuit veteran in Mark Walsh in the first round. Walsh probably could have qualified with a last 64 run on the final day, but did one better to be absolutely sure. Neither player can really claim an experience advantage, and Walsh's figures don't look too far out of Roy's reach. Alcinas is a different question, having a good World Championship and doing enough to push straight into round 2, his numbers look a step up from Walsh in all areas and should be playing well enough to advance into the money rounds.

Almost the closest thing we have to a guaranteed qualifier in the money, but Meulenkamp is a tough out for anyone. Nearly 90 points per turn with a good record of putting in big legs when needed, he may offer up enough chances for someone to break in fifteen/hold in eighteen if he's not careful though. He faces Andy Hibbert, who tried Q-School between 2011-13, getting nowhere, and played the pro qualifiers in those years, only getting three mincashes from 24 events. Of the 28 qualifiers that have an Elo rating, he ranks number 27, so shouldn't trouble Meulenkamp. Read and Davis are quite close in that metric, about 100 points higher a piece (but 200 points below Meulenkamp), so either should be a tougher test. Read tried Q-School but couldn't get out of the last 256, he qualified last year but lost to Jamie Caven, but he's still young enough to have played the world youth (lost 6-1 in the opening round) so has time on his side to gain this sort of experience. Davis also played the world youth (lost 6-0 in round one to Hopp), but did one better at this event last year, getting past Paul Harvey before narrowly losing to Ross Twell, having got in through the pro qualifiers. He also seems to like the Malta Open, playing that frequently and making the final last year.

Evetts is looking to rebuild after not doing quite enough to save his card last year, and not doing enough to win it back at Q-School. This is a good potential starting spot, saving his bacon on the last day of qualifiers with a last 16 run after putting nothing on the board previously, and he'll face one of two Riley's qualifiers from the same part of the country. Ward we know a bit more about and he's the fourth highest qualifier on Elo, still developing (he made the world youth, but went out in round two to the same guy that beat Read above in round one), but has been able to get into a couple of Pro Tour events, making a board final and winning one game on the other day in the last weekend of last season. He was here before two years ago, losing to Josh Payne 6-1 a round before the money. Lee is over 150 points lower on Elo, and in two years of attempting Q-School he's not made the last 128 on any of the eight days he's played, so you've got to put Ward down as the favourite in this one. Evetts should take the second round tie though.

A second straight young player versus one of two Riley's qualifiers game, with Aspinall continuing his resurgence, putting nearly three grand in the bank in the qualifiers, and hitting impressive statistics which shows why he did enough to make the European Championship last year. Pullen is close to unknown - no dartsdatabase record at all. Some quick googling shows he's not been putting up any sort of impressive averages on the county circuit, so let's look at Rice in comparison - he does have an Elo ranking of nearly 1500, over 200 points below Aspinall. He qualified two years ago but lost in round one to Ronny Huybrechts, and has minor cashes in the Worthington's Open and Welsh Open last year, so I think he should be favoured, but Aspinall is a class apart here.

Straight face off between Gilding and Clemens for the money here, as Gilding's three years removed from his amazing semi final run. The stats look quite close but Clemens has a minor edge - he won more legs, lost less legs, and is a fair bit more consistent. I can only see this being close, but Clemens has a small Elo edge and the recent form, having to have come through the European Q-School and nabbing an outright card on the last day to follow a semi final earlier.

Evans is the known name here, but is needing to come from round one, not being able to add anything after a last sixteen run on day two. The rapid thrower is looking OK on the numbers, with solid stats in kill speed but a bit too much variance between winning and losing. His first opponent will be Hajimena, who played Q-School from 2015-17 but failed to reach the last 64 on any day, and has mostly been drakking around the Challenge Tour with a best run last year of a quarter final. Evans should advance through that to face Wilkinson, who made it through with a last sixteen run on the final day after not being able to claim a tour card, adding nothing of note following an opening day quarter final at Q-School. Evans looks comfortably the superior player, and should add to three straight cashes.

Two Riley's qualifiers in the opening round that we know something about. Davidson is here for a third straight year, he lost a deciding leg to Lee Evans in round one last season but two years ago made the money with wins over Jan Dekker and Cristo Reyes, before going out 9-5 to Darren Webster. Still learning the game on the Development Tour, his opponent is Burgoine, who's tried the pro method for a few years but not got close, only making it in 2012 and 2013 through the amateur qualifiers, with a best in 2013 of getting one leg off the money in a loss to Richie Howson. A Challenge Tour regular but with no real success, Davidson I think might be the better pick here. Owen was having a good 2017 but couldn't do enough to retain his card, needing to reclaim it at Q-School which he did outright on day two, he nearly did enough to make it straight to the money, and should comfortably have enough to see off either potential opponent.

This game will see a pro vs amateur faceoff for the cash. Let's look at the pro's first - Mansell has been around for a while and we know what he can do, whereas Meikle is still in the infancy of his career at half Mickey's age, grabbing back his card. Meikle has been known to put up some red hot darts, but also be quite poor at times, whereas Mansell is a lot steadier with less ability to hit peaks. I think Meikle has enough if he can hold his game together, he's done well enough last weekend to win a board on the Pro Tour and make the first two European Tour events, so has form at least. Winstanley has no Elo rating, no dartsdatabase record, the only thing I can really see is some BDO inter-county averages that put him at about 75 or so. Craddock is 26/28 on Elo of the qualifiers with a rating, playing quite a few BDO opens around the UK and Europe, picking up fifty quid here, twenty quid there, nothing to really trouble the scorers, but he should have played a bit more and come in as a favourite in round one, but I doubt either can trouble the pro player in round two whichever one it is.

Johnson only just missed out on the World Championship last year, and will face a Riley's qualifier in John Scott, who is here for a fourth attempt, in 2016 he lost a decider to Dean Winstanley in round one, and in 2013 he lost 5-2 to James Hubbard (remember him?) - the year before he didn't even make round one proper, losing a prelim to Brian Woods. He's played the Challenge Tour but not really shown anything that should concern Johnson. Lowe was unimpressive at Q-School, which made it a real surprise when he made the semi final of the fourth qualifier, coming through the likes of Adie, Hendo and Keegan Brown. His numbers seem legitimate and a fair bit better than Johnson's, but it'll come down to whether Lowe can keep that form going into the main event, he'll need to as we know what to expect from Darren and he will bring what he can do.

This is an interesting pod, with former world finalist Shepherd being the highest ranked player, but having the worst numbers of the three. His first opponent is Adam Hunt, still in his early twenties despite seemingly having been around for a long time, Hunt can produce very good darts on his day but he's not really been able to do it often enough to push on at the senior level, having claimed six titles at Challenge/Development Tour level. When he can, as he did in Germany last year to make the final day of a European Tour event, look out. Shepherd was close to making round two outright and has had a few decent results in the last twelve months, winning his board on the Pro Tour last time out, so it has the potential to be close. Kamphuis reclaimed a card this January and is into round two following a quarter final run in qualifier five for his only cash of the series, and he is beating Shepherd's four visit kill percentage and Hunt's five visit kill percentage, producing a much better winning points per turn score. He should go in as a favourite against either opponent, but if he doesn't turn up he will lose.

Jones is back on the tour and back to accumulating cash - three cashes from six qualifiers being enough to get him into round two, and he added a board final and one European qualification last weekend to keep things ticking over. His opponent could be someone with very similar stats but at the opposite end of his career in Luke Humphries, the winner of the other secondary tour, who left it a bit close but got four mincashes to get in. Like Jones, he made a board final last weekend, but did the double in European qualification. If Humphries gets through it could be very tight, but Kelly is a wildcard in the top 5 of Elo for the Riley's qualifiers, and coming through the Wolverhampton qualifier could be someone Jones knows well. Kelly dropped off the scene for a few years but made the final of an open in Wolverhampton last year that was big enough to attract Durrant to play who beat him in the final, and in a brief PDC stint in 2012 he made the last 16 more than once on the main tour to qualify for this event, losing the round before the money to Kellett. Tough set of games to call.

Into the depths of the sub-100's in FRH rankings now, with two pro vs amateur first round games. Harris has adapted to the game on this side of the world well, with good stats all round, although having not got a card and only having got £50 on the opening Challenge Tour weekend, you wonder how often he'll play here this season. His opponent Mitchell is fairly unknown, last having an appearance in trying to qualify for this in 2009 through the amateur route, having done so the year before, missing out on money by one round losing to Alan Warriner (told you it was a while ago). Harris has the game now and should be fine. Barnard has been on the lower fringes of the circuit for ages and seems to be on a big upswing this season - he didn't get close to a card, but did make two finals on the Challenge Tour already this year, nick qualification on the wire in event six, and win his board on the opening Pro Tour weekend. Robertson could do without that form swing, he's here for a fourth time, cashing in 2012 but losing to Tabern in the opening round last year. It's probably the wrong time to face Barnard, who could give Harris problems in round two.

Noppert, after needing countback to get his tour card, has adapted to the PDC well, although he needed a great last day to qualify following 4/5 misses and a mincash up to then. A quarter final was more than enough and gets him into round two with very good finishing speeds and points per turn which are easily better than either opponent. Two board wins last weekend indicate that this is more likely to be the usual than the earlier results. Burnett/Harrington might have been an exciting matchup in 1999 or something, but this may be less so. Richie clocked four out of six cashes in qualification with much better figures than Ryan, and has kept things going with a board win last weekend, as he looks to keep edging up the rankings to try to retain the card he won in 2017. Ryan got to the last 32 of the first qualifier, adding a mincash later to be safe, and would like to get a good start after winning a tour card at the 29578th attempt. Burnett however ought to be too much of an ask on the main stage, and if not, Noppert will surely be too strong.

Let's look at the qualifiers first - McClelland is another unknown with no Elo, no dartsdatabase record, and I can't even find any sort of averages at county or Superleague level. I know nothing. Airey's dartsdatabase isn't much more extensive, but it does at least show him making the last 48 of the World Masters two years ago, so I think I've got to go with Airey. Kellett wasn't close to getting his card back after losing it in 2016, but cashed four times to make the event. He went out at this stage last year, but should do better against either opponent this year, and having shown a bit of a resurgence he could, with a decent draw, get close to the last sixteen run he made two years ago.

Two German speakers in this section, so let's look at Tate first - Elo isn't impressed with a score just below 1400 compared to either opponent who are in the mid-1500's. He's not known before Q-School, where he made one last 64 but not much outside of that, hence why he could play the amateur qualifiers. He made no money in the first Challenge Tour weekend, which is hardly threatening. Rasztovits has better numbers than Langendorf, but got done over on countback and a playoff to need to start at this stage. Someone who's played the worlds before and did enough to make a last 16 run in one of the qualifiers should have enough. Langendorf also made it through one last 16 run, so while he also seems hit and miss, he doesn't seem to do so to as high of an extent as Michael who I'd fancy to get out of this section.

We're now in the bizarre zone where a Riley's qualifier has the highest FRH ranking - that'd be the legend that is Paul Hogan. We know exactly what he can do and has done, which should be more than enough to dispatch Brown, whose six hundred quid on the Challenge Tour isn't a great resume. Goldie is a bit of a surprise package who won a tour card on countback after a final day semi, and after just one mincash in the last five events, smashed his way to a quarter final and a first round bye, beating Price, Aspinall and Michael Smith on the way. His numbers look fantastically good, the question is whether it's sustainable against someone of Hogan's quality and experience. I want to say no.

A multiple world champion and three qualifiers. Part only just got in with a single last 32 run, and the stats that he's churned out are distinctly un-Partlike. Whether any of the qualifiers can do anything about it is the question - Morris is low on Elo, went out in the round of 512 on every day of Q-School and has career earnings of four hundred quid, so I doubt it's him. Whitworth has been a regular participant here, but is the lowest ranked of all of the qualifiers with an Elo rating, and it's his tenth attempt to cash, getting one game away three times, so I doubt it's him either. Atkins could be the one, while he wasn't close at all at Q-School, he did win on the Challenge Tour already and qualify for one European Tour event, so is doing enough recently that I think he can get out of this segment.

Rafferty is into round two with a last 16 and last 32 run on the second weekend of qualifiers, while he's not finishing legs in a particularly quick fashion, his averages aren't quite so low as you'd expect with those figures. Jiwa is one potential opponent, sneaking in with a last 32 run on the final day as an only cash, on the second year of a card where he only picked up a grand in the first year. A poor showing of barely one in four won legs at a par speed, losing more legs than he won and only just breaking 80 points per turn, Mold could be in with a chance here. Jiwa's the lowest ranked pro on Elo after all. Mold has played this three times previously from 2014 to 2016 and returns after a year off, he cashed in 2015 after beating Jamie Robinson and Matt Edgar in deciding legs, so he must like the venue at least.

And on to the final games. Nentjes is a young player on the rise with good Development Tour results towards the back end of last season who advanced a round in the world youth, also getting to the semi final of the main worlds qualifier that Neyens won, and here he made the last 32 of the opening two days and added a mincash later to make the second round. He'll face a Riley's qualifier, and Elo can only separate them by 17 points - Jopling had a tour card from 2011-12 and returns here after a nine year absence, having a best run to the last 96 ten years prior, getting smashed by Steve Maish. Most recently he's been playing BDO stuff with moderate results, winning an open in Gibraltar two years ago. Pilgrim has also been around for a while, but with little record - prior to qualifying last year where he lost to someone who then got whitewashed by Jamie Caven, he only had a fifty quid cash in the England Open in 2009. Jopling probably advances but Nentjes' figures look decent so I think Jopling would be one and done.

And that's it. Bets to follow some time this week.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Players Championship 1/2

Been busy continuing to import the UK Open qualifiers data into my database which is now two thirds done, fortunately the Players Championship events will take half the time, so it's not adding too much to a backlog.

Michael van Gerwen was the winner of both events, never really being troubled apart from needing a deciding leg against Ryan Searle and Luke Woodhouse on the Sunday (the latter missing match darts apparently), outside of him, it was a good weekend for Corey Cadby who's already looking good for all major events, James Wade had a return to form on the Saturday to reach the final, while relatively unknown Ryan Joyce had a storming weekend to reach a semi final and a quarter final, kicking off his tour card with a bang (although why he didn't play the second weekend of UK Open qualifiers is a bit of a mystery). Lower down the ranks, Simon Stevenson hit some of the form we've not seen for about fifteen months, while Danny Noppert continued a consistent start to the season with two board wins.

In terms of disappointing weekends, Peter Wright only grabbing £500 is a weird one, Joe Cullen whiffed twice in losing deciding legs to Chris Dobey and Jarred Cole, and perhaps surprisingly Justin Pipe did the same, after a good run in the UK Open qualis he lost out to James Richardson (fair enough) and Stephen Burton (a bit odd perhaps).

Not much else to add at present, I'm pouring all the time into getting the UK Open data ready before the preview for that one, so here's the updated FRH rankings:

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

Lower down, Cadby's climbed ten places this weekend to be on the brink of the top 60, Noppert is less than two grand away from the top 100, while Joyce debuts within the top 150.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

UK Open qualifiers roundup

We now know our field, barring the last few Rileys qualifiers, and we saw two debut winners at PDC senior level over the pro qualifiers - Cadby you'd expect sooner or later, but Ratajski binking one was more of a surprise, while we know he's able to mix it, to be able to do so on the PDC stage consistently enough to get through all the way is another matter that I didn't think he had in him at this stage of his career. Credit to the guy, 17 grand in the Pro Tour bank (including mincashes for two European Tour events that he's apparently qualified for) will take him a long way to making the worlds again this year, and possibly some other major events - including claiming the tour card he so nearly got last season.

Some surprising misses on the pro level that didn't qualify - Suljovic didn't play, which seems an odd choice, he could have entered events 4-6 and would only have needed to win his first two matches in event 4 and then withdrawn in order to qualify, but it's his choice and if it keeps him fresher for later in the year then that's fair enough, he doesn't know quite how much the Premier League might take out of him. From those that did attempt to qualify, I was most surprised by Dekker missing out, he looked in hot form late last year but couldn't get close, Lennon, old Huybrechts and Green are also surprising misses.

I've been able to hack out a list of the dartconnect links from the source to avoid having to use quite so much of their interface, but sadly they don't seem to have any sort of API to grab the information in an easy to parse manner (despite an email to them to see what they could do, which isn't much at this stage), as such it's a slow process, I've got half of one event done, and with more events starting this weekend it's going to be a big backlog. Being away for a chunk of the off weekend before the UK Open doesn't help matters either really.

New FRH rankings:

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

Ratajski rises to #47 with his win, while Cadby is just one place outside the top 70 already. Elsewhere lower down, Steve West's good weekend sees him claim a top 30 spot, Jeffrey de Zwaan's final sees him crack the top 60, while Dave Pallett's resurgence sees him in the top 80.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Second Division Darts results page

Will use this post as a holding page for results that affect the Second Division Darts table and edit it throughout the year:

UK Open Q1 - no games
UK Open Q2 - Darren Webster 6-5 Alan Norris, Darren Webster 6-4 Ian White
UK Open Q3 - no games
UK Open Q4 - no games
UK Open Q5 - no games
UK Open Q6 - no games
PC 1 - Adrian Lewis 6-4 Jamie Lewis
PC 2 - no games

Current table:

Darren Webster 9.58
Adrian Lewis 9.4
Everyone else 9
Alan Norris 8.82
Ian White, Jamie Lewis 8.6

UK Open qualifiers weekend 1

This year I don't think I'll do what I did last year and give explicit props for best/worst performances on a given weekend, I'll just look through the results and say what did and didn't surprise me:

- Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith both had excellent weekends, chopping the titles between them with Smith getting a final to go with his win yesterday, good to see early season form for Smith.
- Rob Cross going 0-3 is hugely surprising. Cadby you can perhaps understand the loss to as on any given day he can outplay anyone, but Jamie Hughes and Ryan Meikle?
- Similarly odd results for Barney, seemingly not playing the third qualifier but busting to Ratajski twice is odd.
- Good run to the final for Darren Webster to lock up a third round spot, sixth leg of the final looked to be the killer where he couldn't hold in eighteen darts but he's got to be happy enough with that score.
- No signs that Benito is returning to form any time soon, three first round busts to Kantele, Mansell and Newell winning just six legs combined, oh wow.
- No super deep runs, but Mervyn King had a consistent weekend, putting four grand in the bank which'll be good enough to go straight into the money.
- Another final for Zoran Lerchbacher, which should set him up very nicely for the season to come. Bumps him up close to Matchplay spots as it stands, pity his previous final looks to get removed just before the cutoff.
- Dave Pallett with a nice semi final should restore some confidence after losing his tour card, probably still needs a last 32 in one of the remaining events to get straight to the money though.
- Jamie Hughes is likely already there though, a last 16 and a quarter final combining for a very solid weekend.
- Matt Edgar is also probably in, with £250 less than Hughes after two last 16 runs and a mincash, missing out on the last 16 with £3250 would be a bit surprising.
- Dave Prins is also going to be there, who saw that coming?

Elsewhere, Andy Hamilton and Alex Roy are among the amateur qualifiers for the UK Open as we aim to repeat 2007, while Mark McGeeney retained the Dutch Open, getting some revenge for the worlds by beating Glen Durrant in the final. Remarkable achievement to win this back to back given the huge fields and short format, there's so many potential landmines to step on.

I've looked at that dartconnect site, and my god, the information they've got there is incredible - it basically has everything I currently put into my database for TV events, except for floor events. This should be hugely useful to get lots and lots of data, although how to get it efficiently is the big question. There's been over 700 matches played this weekend!

Updated FRH rankings:

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

Saturday, 3 February 2018

A selection of random thoughts

- Won't say much about the Masters, it's a non-event as far as I'm concerned, but it was good to see Barney back firing, the guy that runs the Darts Elo Twitter account, like me, has Barney making the top 4 of the Premier League, so it's good that he's showing form in an unranked exhibition where we're predicting him to do well in an unranked exhibition.

- Won't say too much about the Premier League either, interesting to see Whitlock play really well and Anderson choke away an unassailable lead, but the rest of the results didn't really tell us too much and those games could easily just be variance.

- Dutch Open is under way, looks like they didn't have quite as many entrants as originally planned (obviously in an event like this there's going to be plenty registering but not showing), but it still seems like an epic event. I really want to try to make it to the next one as it sounds like it's amazing.

- There were a few players on Twitter (Darren Johnson was at least one, Diogo Portela mentioned it on the weekly podcast) saying that the Challenge Tour days were far too long, and I've got to agree. They've got 200+ runners and they've got to run through all of them twice, that's a big ask. The answer, as far as I'm concerned, is to run them all concurrently. You can certainly save a bunch of time by making sure that as many boards as possible are being used at all times. What I'd do is this:

- Start the weekend on the Friday night, say at 6pm. Play through to the last 128 of events 1 and 2 of the weekend as a minimum, if time permits start playing the last 128 (say last game starts at 10pm). Do event 1 first, then event 2, and don't use the current system of people "winning their board" - draw up a running order, and allocate matches as boards get freed up. This also allows you to tweak the running order, if someone's drawn early in event 2 and late in event 1 you can move their game back to give them rest (you can even do this in advance, if someone's in the last 32 games on in a previous tournament you put the matches of those 64 players to the back of the queue). Only run events 1 and 2 on the Friday so that if players can't get time off work (if you play on a bank holiday weekend you can extend the session a bit) and can only play the weekend proper, they can still play events 3 and 4.
- On the Saturday and onwards, kick off events 3 and 4 first to have them catch up, then once you're at the last 64, you play all of event 1's games at the same time (I think they use 32 boards in these, if it's only 16 then it's shifted a round to play everything concurrently), then all of event 2's, etc etc. At the last 32 stage, you can now play two events concurrently - you'll need to tweak the running order a touch as there'll be players in both events as needed. I've not timed things properly but this should be a lot quicker, but the whole point is that you don't have spots where you're at the quarter finals of the first event and you've got many boards going unused.

- PDC are using something called DartConnect which sounds like it might be the holy grail of floor stats, but I've not seen what it can actually produce yet, and whether it can be worked to farm everything efficiently.

- Adrian Lewis is a bit of a silly boy. You need to work on the floor to stay in the qualifying places for majors as you're not in the top 16, and you go and get yourself suspended in the very first tournament. That's just about as unprofessional as it gets.

- First UK Open qualifier in the books, quite a few of the usual names at the business end but some surprises - the new Spanish kid having a real deep run, Dave Prins showing up, Cross going out before the money to Cadby, who should have had a good run but missed every match dart in the world against Whitlock, and some new/interesting names putting themselves on the brink of qualification already like Nentjes, Rickwood and Rod's lad. Also great to put Shayne Burgess back in the rankings, it's just like the old days.