Thursday, 20 September 2018

Grand Prix draw be done


Usual stat bomb. It should mostly do exactly what it says on the tin, same thing I posted up before the Matchplay, as then the quality leg ratio gives you three points for a twelve darter, one for a fifteen, and takes a point away for legs won in more than eighteen, and tells you the points you get per 100 legs.

Some things we can draw - the Bunting/Webster game looks very close, the Hopp/Chisnall game could be one of the most one sided games if Chisnall doesn't miss a trillion doubles, a rematch of de Zwaan/Anderson is on, heck we could get another Anderson/Cullen quarter final. Whitlock/Wilson looks incredibly finely balanced, with the winner to face either Smith or Lewis, which looks to be the tie of the first round.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Riesa aftermath - the boyo done good

We have a new winner on the European Tour, and it's this guy who I posted about in May:

Next to win a European Tour event:

1) Gerwyn Price - It was close between Price and White for who to put as number 5 above and number 1 here, given neither has won on the European Tour, and maybe I should have put Price higher as he's at least reached a major final, but I'll go round this way on account of Price simply not playing at quite the level of White right now, so if someone does burst through out of nowhere and nick a premier title very soon, it'll probably be White, while long term I'd think Price may be the more likely. Still, Price has made one final this year and looks to be getting the Premier League behind him. Should have just picked Durrant at number 5 above as he's better than both White and Price and despite only getting one shot per season, while it would be a surprise, I don't think it would shock anyone.

Well, now both White and Price have won one, and while nobody should get any huge kudos for picking the obvious, they still need to actually go and do it, and they have. Whitlock made the final, which should close to lock up a top 8 finish in the European Tour rankings (which apparently is all seeded like the Players Championship Finals, unlike last year where it was just the top 8 as seeds - meaning that, as things stand, Clayton would have been unseeded despite winning an event), always useful to have. Noppert and West made the semis, Danny probably just happy to make Dublin, while West may think what could have been having missed a match dart against Price to make the final. Still, if you keep putting yourself in those positions, one day it'll click - how many times did Mensur make a quarter or a semi before finally binking one?

It's the run in to Dublin now. We've got that BBC exbo next weekend, because we all need more events with the top 8 playing against each other. Although, in terms of quality, it really isn't the top 8 - in terms of points per turn it should be van Gerwen, Anderson, Cross, Cadby, Suljovic, Smith, Wright and White - leaving Chisnall in if you think Cadby doesn't have the sample. Gurney would be down at 14, and Whitlock doesn't even threaten the top 30. Although, that said, Whitlock is still in the top 8 of active players on the FRH rankings, so there is that. White would get in through that method as well.

Speaking of the FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Peter Wright
4 Gary Anderson
5 Daryl Gurney
6 Mensur Suljovic
7 Phil Taylor
8 Ian White (UP 1)
9 Simon Whitlock (UP 1)
10 Michael Smith (DOWN 2)
11 Gerwyn Price (UP 1)
12 Darren Webster (DOWN 1)
13 Dave Chisnall
14 James Wade
15 Jonny Clayton
16 Joe Cullen
17 Adrian Lewis
18 Mervyn King
19 Stephen Bunting
20 Kim Huybrechts

Price obviously moves a spot and is within 12k points of the top 10 - White had passed Smith before this event but Whitlock needed the final to get up a spot. West's semi final sees him close to within 1200 points of the top 20, John Henderson being sandwiched between him and Huybrechts. Barney is now down to number 25 and would have been out of it if Kyle had have won his game. Richardson and Schindler edge up to 45 and 46 respectively, Noppert is now well within the top 60, and Ryan Searle enters the top 64.

Meanwhile, there's a pretty good interview that ochepedia retweeted just now with Kirk Bevins here, if you like what you see here then I'd recommend having a read of it.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

European Tour 12 is an enormous mess

That was the state of my insides at this time last year after copious amounts of beer at the venue, but as far as the darts goes, this is it:


Yep, nobody's even got a 20% shot at winning the whole thing. That's quite bizarre, but nobody apart from Richardson is drawing close to dead at all. Whitlock's only really the favourite per the model at this stage because he has by far the easiest (on paper) draw at this point in time - hard to say what'd happen at the semi final stage, but if the favourites did win then you would expect all of them to move ahead of Whitlock (except for Webster, who's actually projecting as a tiny dog against Whitlock).

I don't actually fancy any bets. James has done well enough so far this tournament that despite Whitlock rolling off six fifteen dart or better legs against Beaton, he may be outperforming enough of late to nullify the season long edge indicated in the chart. 10/21 is thinking he wins about 68% of the time, so we don't need to knock off much edge for it to be a no bet. Webster's line is 8/11 which is more or less where we expected it to be, West's actually tempting at 21/10, but we keep backing against Adie and Adie keeps doing us over, so maybe we should hold off on this one - it's not as if West really repeated what he did yesterday and Clayton did miss multiple match darts. Finally Gezzy's coming in at 4/6 against 6/4 Searle, that's probably a bit too favoured in the way of the name player (who was another to survive match darts), but there's really not enough there.

Which leaves us down for the tournament. Although as it's one hundredth of a unit I don't think I'll be losing any sleep over it.

As I've chucked up chances to win the whole thing, you could actually look at the outright markets. Adie and Whitlock are both too short, Price at 6's might be worth a punt, Noppert's too short, Webster at 9's could be the each way bet, West at 12's is marginal, Searle at 14's I think you just bet the match markets, while Richardson I'm not touching with a barge pole.

Wright out? Searley you can't be serious - Riesa round 3

Well, it's nice to see a 5/1 punt come in. It'd be nicer to see the 4/1 punt on Joyce come in given that was a larger bet, frustratingly close to miss bull for the match (and then fail to hold in fifteen in the decider which would have done fine as well, Mensur only getting one dart at double 14 for the match but that's roughly how many he needs on average).

Searle saved what was otherwise a fairly poor bag - Chizzy not doing it against Richardson was the main hurt, but we had Lennon lose a decider, Wilson lose a decider (having eighteen darts in it and not getting one for the match), fortunately Beaton (albeit in a decider - again) and Schindler did the business and White was comfortable enough to make the overall damage for the tournament a tenth of a unit. If I hadn't gone for that Jenkins punt (that went well) it'd be bang on break even.

As an aside, I want to look at 124 at some point - was going to tie that up to the Joyce game but he was actually trying to take out 130, oops. If you hit the treble first dart, and really need to go out, is it the right thing to go for treble 14? I'm not talking in terms of hitting the big number to be sure of getting a punt at the bull - I'm talking in terms of moving really far outside and aiming for a very specific line whereby you try to get the double, but stay inside at all costs, something like this:


Aiming for a line primarily is something that players should be good at - it's called going for treble 20. It looks like you've got a lot more leeway in terms of height than if you go for treble, and if you do stray into double, then double 18 works a lot better than the double 11 you'd leave if you went for treble. It's probably something that'd need a bunch of figures from pro level players to see what works and what doesn't. Anyone want to send some data?

Today, Mensur is now the favourite, but is in the White half of the draw with Whitlock, Cullen and Webster all in play, his game against Noppert where Noppert must win to make Dublin is no gimmie either. Heck, Beaton's lived a charmed life, what's to say he can't go on a run? In the other half, with Wright gone it's opened up - Gurney and Lewis are the main guns, but Clayton's won before, West has the game to do so, Gurney and Lewis' opponents are Bunting and Price which won't be easy, then we've got Searle against Schindler. So, the projections:

White/Richardson - James hasn't done too bad, but the tests keep getting stronger (White's clearly a stronger test than Chisnall at this stage regardless of what the rankings say) - White was comfortable against Klaasen, Richardson was solid enough, but this is a hard one - 0.5u White 1/3, this should be a 1/5 game. Where did I hear that before?

Whitlock/Beaton - The model continues to love Beaton, who's come through two last leg deciders to get this far - Beaton's actually averaging higher per turn this season than Whitlock is, although the model gives Whitlock the edge as his points per turn when winning is higher than Steve's (although this means that Steve's scoring more when losing, consistency counts). I like this price a lot, although like many yesterday this could come down to the bull, and Whitlock likes a bull - 0.25u Beaton 15/8.

Cullen/Webster - Cullen overcame Smith yesterday despite Smith averaging 98, pinning six doubles from ten to shut him out at key moments. Webster defeated Mansell in a sloppy game where neither averaged 90, with Webster missing an unbelievable 24 darts at double - fortunately most of those didn't cost him, coming in legs where Mickey couldn't score. The model calls this right down the wire - Cullen being a favourite 50.03% to 49.97%. 0.25u Webster 6/4 as a result.

Suljovic/Noppert - I've mentioned already what a key game this is for Danny, it's effectively a £6k match. Suljovic now has some pressure of being the favourite to win this, but he should be used to that at this stage. Mensur was very solid yesterday, while in the first two games Danny's not really got quite enough scoring to really threaten, although he has been mostly tidy barring a couple of bad legs against Thornton where it didn't really matter. Noppie looks live and should raise his game knowing what's on the line, 0.1u Noppert 10/3, reducing as while the model gives Danny more than a one in three shot, it's probably not quite that high based on consistency and there's also the possibility that Noppert realises what he might do and cracks. He doesn't seem like the guy that will, but you never know.

Clayton/West - On to the second half and West was brutal in destroying Mervyn King, probably the performance of the round - averages count for nothing but when they're three figures and the second figure isn't a zero then you have to be impressed. Clayton edged Lennon having come from a 4-2 deficit, and the game is that tight that it's evens pick your man. No bet here - model is thinking that it's a Clayton game, but it's only 53%, and if West plays half as good as he did yesterday then I don't see how Jonny can compete.

Lewis/Bunting - Two former world champions collide, Lewis bagelling a disappointing Jenkins while Bunting hit the afterburners with three tidy legs after the occasionally dangerous Barry Lynn had split the first six legs with him. It's a huge opportunity for Lewis to go deep, but Stephen is no automatic out, his overall points per turn are over 90 this season compared to Lewis who's nearly at 92, the model is thinking it's a 60/40 split which, combining Bunting's performance and the odds we're getting points to 0.25u Bunting 5/2.

Gurney/Price - I was sure that these had played recently in Europe, so I checked the head to head and they never have, oops. That said, Gurney does have a pretty miserable 1-6 record against the Iceman, along with a 6-6 Premier League draw earlier in the year, Price also winning in the Masters a couple of weeks earlier - the two haven't met in a ranked game this year. The market is putting this out at around 60/40 in favour of Daryl, which sounded about right in my head but the model is giving Price better chances than that - 48%, which makes 6/4 look tempting. Both players won their legs yesterday in exactly the same fashion, making me think their form is similar - 0.25u Price 6/4.

Searle/Schindler - Our final game features two unseeded players who knocked out Peter Wright with a very good display, and Kim Huybrechts respectively. Schindler didn't play that great against Kim, only getting two legs won in fifteen darts (needing a 158 out in one of them), but he didn't need to as Huybrechts, one twelve darter from nowhere aside, just couldn't score. Searle's looking a lot more secure of recent for worlds qualification but every bit still counts, while Schindler will surely see this as a chance to make a deepest run yet on home soil for a German outside of the Hopp win. The line can't split them and neither can I, so no bet here.

Edit - in my drunken idiocy yesterday, I forgot to load the new data from yesterday into the master computer. It doesn't affect any bets, as a six leg sample compared to 400, 500, 600+ legs already in there isn't going to make much of a difference, but it did give Cullen an extra 0.5% so it wasn't quite as close as I made out. Unlike the Searle game, which is now exactly 50/50, which is odd given they have somewhat different distribution of killing speed, Schindler being better finishing within twelve and eighteen darts by a couple of percentage points, but Searle finishes within fifteen darts 3% more often. Very odd.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Riesa round 2

Huge win yesterday for Klaasen - not only was it 6-0 (although Perales didn't offer a great deal of resistance), it's bumped him over Keegan Brown for Dublin, while a win over White today (good luck with that) would make him absolutely safe by popping him above Meulenkamp, it's still the case that Noppert, himself one with a 6-0 win, could get by him with a quarter final run. With Wattimena up, anything could happen. Of the bets, Temple was more of a "bet against Richardson at those odds regardless of opponent" and James did enough decent legs, fair enough, although Temple had darts to make it 3-3 and 4-4, so it could have been. Searle was comfortable enough, not winning a leg in fifteen darts, but the other guy did OK I guess, Jenkins and Beaton got home (Beaton a bit fortunately I guess), while Joyce/Clemens (how these are both greyfaces on dartsdata when Dennant has a face I don't know) was a high quality encounter decided only by the bull, which we lost. Overall, the Beaton win put us up fairly small, so let's move on to today:

Huybrechts/Schindler - Should be a fairly even matchup to start featuring a home nation player (Riesa isn't actually that far from Berlin compared to other venues so it's closest enough to Martin's back yard) - such is the decline in Kim's reputation (or improvement of Schindler) that the market has it 60/40 Kim. Which I think is wrong - the model's showing Schindler as a small 55% favourite, and he's even more consistent, so 0.25u Schindler 13/10 straight off the bat.

Webster/Mansell - Mickey rolled DvD 6-0, but despite having a win on tour and a great first round game, the market's still only giving him a bit more than a one in three shot to get past Darren, such is the level of Webster's play. The line looks really close to accurate - Mansell's a very live dog but not quite live enough that we can consider a bet - 37% getting 7/4 is nothing really.

King/West - Two players around the cutoff for seedings in these, the market being unable to separate the two, making King a tiny favourite against West, who only barely beat Plooy yesterday in a deciding leg. It's a line that I agree with - getting King as a 54/46 favourite, it's 10/11 King, this could easily be decided by who wins the bull, it's that tight.

Bunting/Lynn - Barry got through Murschell fairly comfortably, but Bunting's an entirely different level - if Stephen turns up, which continues to be a question unfortunately for the Bullet. The line is thinking that Stephen should be a big favourite, and the model agrees - if the line was ever so slightly closer then I'd say fire on Stephen, but I'm only getting him at 76%, whereas 4/11 is saying that he's a 73% shot. If you want to stick him in an acca, it can't be bad, but I can't recommend a bet of any substance here.

Price/Henderson - Gerwyn's hanging around in the seeds despite it seemingly being quite a while since he's won anything or made a big run, whereas Henderson's on the edge of the seeds and is right up in the conversation for the best player that's not won a PDC event yet. He's in the 8/9 seed pod, so if Searle shocks the world against Wright (or Huybrechts/Schindler), then who knows? Market thinks it's 60/40, which is what the model's thinking for this one, give or take a percentage point or two, so no bets here.

Clayton/Lennon - Steve got through Kovacs easily enough, although he'd have liked to have closed out the whitewash having got to a 5-0 lead. Clayton's struggled somewhat since winning his European Tour event, and the market has adjusted to this, making it a 10/11 Clayton line, I think it should be the other way around but it's tight enough that I can't recommend a bet, like the King/West game this could come down to the bull. That said, if you filter down after Clayton won his event, Lennon reaches up to a 56% favourite... what the heck, Steve played well yesterday so 0.25u Lennon 11/10.

Chisnall/Richardson - Chizzy's got a decent draw here, but he's low enough in the seeds now that he'd play White tomorrow, James we talked about above, four from six legs in fifteen darts or less is a decent performance, but he's going to need to do that again against Dave, where he's a huge underdog. They're equally inconsistent, but I'm thinking this should be a 1/5 game, rather than the 0.5u Chisnall 2/7 line that we're actually being offered.

Wattimena/Noppert - Last game of the afternoon session, it's a Dutch derby with huge implications for Danny, and the market can't separate the two. I can barely separate them either, I think Noppie has the tiniest of edges, the market gives Noppie the tiniest of edges, 10/11 is exactly what my projections would call the line. Let's move on...

White/Klaasen - Jelle has probably done enough this weekend that the pressure will now be off, but against Ian it's going to need a bit more than having no pressure. Maybe a Noppert win will put it back on? European Tour winner Ian White (god that feels good to write) is a big favourite, I'm getting him winning more than three out of four trials, so 0.5u White 4/9 looks automatic.

Whitlock/Wilson - Intriguing matchup, Whitlock's shown spurts of form despite tinkering with his darts almost as much as Peter Wright has, while Wilson's been knocking on the door for a few months now, the line's giving Whitlock the edge, but not a big edge, only in the mid 50's. I've actually got Wilson as having a small edge, so 0.25u Wilson 13/10, why not.

Hopp/Beaton - Normally the seeds would be the other way around in this one, but Hopp on home soil is taking advantage of that European Tour win to get a free pass to this round against Beaton, who only just got past a resurgent van der Voort. This should be close, the bookies cannot separate them (I can't remember the last time there's been so many coinflips), but the model continues to be unconvinced with Hopp, thinking he has less than a 40% chance. Could come down to how drunk the German fans are, but 0.25u Beaton 11/10.

Cullen/Smith - Joe blew the best chance he'll have for years to make a final last weekend, and faces up against Ross Smith, who's been playing good stuff for a while now and was also knocking around on the final day last weekend. Market has this at 2/1, and this continues to underrate Smith - I thought they might have noticed by now, but I'm getting him over 40% so if they keep dangling these out I'll keep stabbing at them, 0.25u Smith 2/1.

Lewis/Jenkins - Is it really four years ago that this was a major final? Where Jenkins got completely owned? I think it was. Terry had no real issues winning 6-2 over Dennant, but Adie right now is a completely different ask, the line's 3/1 and I think that's worth a small stab - 0.1u Jenkins 3/1. It's only a tenth of a unit because Terry didn't throw a single fifteen darter yesterday - I'd like to have seen that, as he'll probably need to do it today several times to get home. With the model thinking this is nearer a 2/1 line we still need to bet, but I'm pulling it in. It's not like we've won any of the last three times we've tipped Adie to lose as a solid favourite.

Suljovic/Joyce - Ryan got through a tough tie with Clemens, holding serve being just enough to edge it out 6-5, and now faces Mensur, who should be rested up having taken last weekend off. The market really, really loves Mensur - apart from Wright next he's the biggest favourite of the round, I mean they are the 1 and 2 seeds to be fair, but regular readers will know that Joyce is really, really good. The model thinks he wins this more than one time in three. We know the model doesn't really like Suljovic and he still remains with a higher losing average than winning average over what's now an eight month sample (it's only half a point now). We tried this bet in Denmark at 3/1 and it ended 6-1 Mensur, but 0.25u Joyce 4/1, Suljovic really doesn't win this 80% of the time.

Wright/Searle - Ryan wasn't great in round one, but got through, and against the number 1 seed he's a 5/1 dog. Wright's rightly the favourite here to lift the title (although Suljovic has a higher overall points per turn), but the question is whether Searle can up his game from yesterday a lot to where it was at when he reached a Pro Tour final recently. Model is thinking he's got more than a 30% shot so 0.1u Searle 5/1, this may lose easily but it looks value.

Gurney/Marijanovic - Daryl's still yet to win one of these, or an event full stop this year, and he'd better think about it soon as he's not qualified for the Slam at this stage and really wouldn't want to have to go through qualifiers. Robert's looked good on occasions and put in a respectable performance to overcome Dekker late yesterday, but probably lacks the power to get past Daryl today - I'm thinking he's got about a 25% chance and he's around 3/1, so no bets here.

Should be a tight, entertaining set of games after a mediocre day one, let's go!

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Riesa round 1 preview - now featuring multiple unknown players

Why yes, we've had a player come through the domestic qualifiers that I've never heard of. For a tournament in Germany that's quite an effort, but that's where we are.

Lennon/Kovacs - I have no idea who Steve's opponent is, other than knowing from dartsdatabase that he played the World Cup in 2016, and he took a leg off Ronny Huybrechts. Next...

Temple/Richardson - Terry has not had the best of times on the tour this year by any metric, and it's the first time he's qualified this season. Richardson's been almost as bad, as such the model reckons we should bet Temple - I'll do it small, 0.1u Temple 11/4 if only because he's done so little of note it's a bit hard to read. Hard to think of a reason to watch this one without having at least some small funking power going on.

van Duijvenbode/Mansell - This is rated as a flip, and Mansell's won an event this year while van Duijvenbode was close to leading the PDC in first round bricks, so it seems odd until the projections say that DVD should win this nearly 60% of the time. I'm passing on that as it just seems wrong to bet here.

Meulenkamp/Schindler - Another flip! Seems a similar edge to the previous game over year long stats in favour of Martin, but Ron's been playing a bit better of late so I'm alright in avoiding this one.

Pietreczko/Searle - Random domestic qualifier time, I have no idea who he is, he's probably really, really poor and Searle's in a bit of form - 0.5u Searle 2/9, if only because Ricardo beat nobody of note and has 50 euros lifetime winnings, and that was all in Luxembourg.

Lynn/Murschell - This is shaping up to be a fairly mundane afternoon session to the point where I'm glad I'm at work for it, Lynn has stung me before this year with a win from nowhere, but the line's such here that Dawson doesn't have enough to be favoured more than it at all, so that's a nice easy avoid.

Plooy/West - We saw Plooy a few times on the European Tour last year, but he went 0-5, and Steve West isn't the sort of player you want to face when making your first appearance of the season. He wasn't close in Q-School at all, did the first Challenge Tour weekend and won nothing, and won £250 in the UK Open qualifiers, so I'm thinking this will be one sided - that said, Plooy has enough in his game that 2/9 on West doesn't seem value, more that it's a correct line.

Justicia/Klaasen - Important one for Jelle in the race for the majors, after getting his card and having a good couple of early runs Perales has missed quite a lot of events, so while the projections indicate he should win this around 40% of the time, I'm inclined not to bet on him given that Jelle should be really up for this one given the importance of the match.

Caris/Henderson - Oh Magnus, you'll never retire it seems, he's not managed to qualify for any of these so far this year (Labanauskas being an added hindrance in a one spot qualification zone does that to you), so it's hard to say how he'll do. I think that Henderson might be value at 1/3, but without any good recent read it's hard to suggest a thing.

Thornton/Noppert - Danny's actually live to make the Grand Prix - if he can get through Thornton and Wattimena, he'd be in the last spot as long as neither Klaasen or Anderson gets a win, so that has to focus the mind. Thornton's on a good run of qualifying for these, but has left it a bit too late for it to count to most things, the market slightly favours Noppert as does the model, so let's move on.

Smith/Anderson - Huge, huge game for Kyle, who is just outside the Dublin spots and must win at least this game and then hope for permutations to work for him if he does nothing else, Ross Smith isn't the ideal draw (with Cullen to follow), and the line's underrating him almost enough to bet, I'm thinking it should be around a 5/3 line rather than 11/5, but Kyle should be keyed in and didn't exactly play badly last weekend until the wheels came off in his last game.

Jenkins/Dennant - Dennant, after doing awfully at Q-School, has made less than a grand from twelve Challenge Tour events this season, but managed to get into the last Players Championship event where he took three legs off Keegan Brown - too little data to say how he'll do against Terry, it should be safe to bet the Bull, what the heck, 0.25u Jenkins 5/11, I can't see how Matthew is really going to compete here.

Joyce/Clemens - Now this is a tasty one, two players with a fantastic floor record, Gabriel's been surprisingly bad in qualifying on the Euro Tour, while Joyce took a bit of time to get it but has been exclusively win on Friday then lose to the seed. Should be a good game to watch out for - the market has Joyce as the tiny favourite, but I'm liking Gabriel here - the model thinks he's the favourite, and up in the high fifties, he's in his home country as well so let's punt on 0.25u Clemens 5/4.

Wilson/Huckvale - James should quite comfortably keep up his good recent form here, Huckvale's not bad but Wilson's a good couple of tiers ahead here - the 1/3 line looks perfectly fair so no interest from me here.

Marijanovic/Dekker - Always going to be a case of which Dekker turns up. The line's 8/13 Dekker, which looks close to right, I've got him up in the high fifties which might point to tiny value on Marijanovic, but he's bricked the last few events while Jan's had a couple of OK runs of late so I'll pass on it.

Beaton/van der Voort - Final game, it should be a fun one to watch, neither messes about, surprised to see Vincent favoured but he has had a few decent outings this season - that said, Steve is favoured by the model and he made a quarter in the last Pro Tour, so let's go 0.25u Beaton 6/5.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

You're only as good as your last game

In a slow day at work today, I was thinking about how I calculate winning chances and whether I could come up with a better methodology. Right now, I'm using the simple method of seeing how often players win legs within four, five, six and seven or more visits and then working out the probability that they win a leg on their own throw from totals of those numbers. This seems to be working well enough, but it's running on a rather crude date slicer - I can pick any date range in my database, and then have it use only those legs won and lost during those dates.

Then again, do we want a leg someone has thrown in the UK Open qualifiers that we had at the start of the year to have the same significance as those that were thrown in Maastricht last weekend? I kind of think that we shouldn't - having a larger sample size to run projections is almost always beneficial, but players do get better and worse over the course of a year, and if someone's throwing like crap right now it's something that we probably ought to take into consideration.

What we can do is amend the way that I sum up the legs, and have it work on a sliding scale depending on recency - perhaps have any legs thrown within the last 30 days counting in full, those from 31-60 days earlier counting at 75%, those between 61-90 days earlier counting 50% and anything older counting just 25%. That way, you're still getting the benefit of a larger sample, but it weights recent games more heavily, which is kind of what we want.

The issue comes with something like we had in the Euro Tour that van Gerwen last won - prior to that, there was the Matchplay and nothing else in terms of competitive darts for a couple of months, so you're in danger at certain times of the year of reducing the section of your sample to more or less zero. That said, if you're just dividing all the figures for someone by four, then you're just getting the same methodology that you're using right now, so it really shouldn't make a difference, and if someone has had a good showing in the one recent tournament that we've had, then it ought to influence our decision making somewhat.

I may play with some coding at the weekend when I'm not making bets for the Riesa event. Is it really already a year ago since I was there?

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Well, looks like our secret's out

Ian White won a stage tournament! Woo hoo! Now that's got to slot him into the Premier League combined with his floor form, he's simply playing that well that even if he does nothing of real note in the remaining TV events (which I can't believe will be the case), he's made enough of a case already. As I posted earlier, there's not a huge amount of players outside of the core 6-7 that have made a case to say "pick me, pick me" - Ian's done that now, and if he crashes and burns, it's not like he's a Mark Webster or similar younger player - he's 48 already, give him the shot, if he doesn't perform in 2019 then he probably never will, there's really very little downside.

Ricky Evans made the final, a sharp turnaround from a month ago when he was losing to people a third of my age, and it's a key bump - he should make the Grand Prix now barring any severe weirdness (Burton's called Lennon, £250 ahead of him, in, so I guess it needs something like Terry Jenkins binking over Cristo Reyes), he'll now clearly make Dortmund and the worlds, all of which will help push him up the rankings, he's now #53 in the FRH rankings but will push up a chunk in the next few months. Ritchie Edhouse managed to get through to the semi, putting him into the equation for the worlds, whether he can do enough to get there is another question entirely, but at least he's given himself a chance.

Seems as if Lee Budgen, whoever he is, won the last Challenge Tour event of this weekend, over Michael Barnard, who continued his dominance of the tour, Boulton and Dennant getting to the semi final stage. Good luck to the lad, he didn't do anything of note at Q-School but has been getting progressively better on the Development Tour, so while binking this is still more or less out of nowhere, it should at least give him a bunch of confidence and put him on a list of players to watch down the road.

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Peter Wright
4 Gary Anderson
5 Daryl Gurney
6 Mensur Suljovic
7 Phil Taylor
8 Michael Smith
9 Ian White (UP 1)
10 Simon Whitlock (DOWN 1)
11 Darren Webster
12 Gerwyn Price
13 Dave Chisnall
14 James Wade
15 Jonny Clayton
16 Joe Cullen
17 Adrian Lewis
18 Mervyn King
19 Stephen Bunting
20 Kim Huybrechts

Not a huge amount of movement, but lower down O'Connor has cracked the top 50, Evans is three places away from doing the same, Edhouse is now solidly in the top 90 and all of Smith (Ross), Marijanovic and Labanauskas are zooming in on the top 100. Also now cracked the 10 units up barrier for the year as a result of an overall two thirds of a unit profit this weekend. To Riesa and beyond!

Maastricht quarters

Annoying of Payne to miss that match dart, it wasn't far off but still... Chisnall was doing Chisnall things, he had darts at double in every one of the legs he threw on which would have made it 4-3 Wright, as is it's 6-1 and over, heck, he even had three to break in the seventh which would have put him in the lead if he takes his chances. That's the risk you take when betting on Chisnall I guess.

Quarters - Evans/Cullen is one that I feel will be a bit closer than the line suggests, the pressure is now on Cullen to get through a half he really should do and finally make a final, whereas Evans is freerolling, Cullen played the better darts this afternoon but it wasn't by much, I'm seeing this at around 55/45, I don't think you can reasonably adjust to give Cullen more than two shots out of three so 0.25u Evans 21/10, aware we've had two very similar bets not come home this afternoon, but let's see what happens. Edhouse and Anderson played very similar games, both not giving away much and taking 4/6 legs in fifteen darts. Kyle's rightly installed as a favourite, I'm making it a bit more than 70/30 in Anderson's favour which is in the same ballpark as the line with Anderson at 4/11 so no bet there. Wright I talked about earlier, he's up against Whitlock who had a bit of a struggle with Darren Johnson but got home (including a nice 94 out via double-double on 19's), Wright should take this home, as well as the whole tournament, but I think there's a bit of underdog value on Whitlock, I'm getting him at around 35% so to get well longer than 2's I'm going with it, 0.25u Whitlock 11/4, Simon's darts when Johnson wasn't playing well back at him were generally good today, better than Wright's if you ask me. Last up is Lewis, who survived a match dart as detailed earlier in a match which had some brilliant points and some god awful double attempts, and he plays White, who had little trouble despatching King despite only averaging 91, and that wasn't down to missed doubles (White was 6/9) - the early line has White at evens, I'm thinking he's got better chances than that, up in the high 50% range - 0.25u White evs.

Elsewhere, Menzies won the first of two Challenge Tour events today to continue a good weekend, Barrie Bates made a quarter after rushing back from the Netherlands, the second is in progress and it looks like Ratajski's doing OK, in a difficult section featuring Evetts and finalist from earlier Mark Frost, Cody Harris and Andy Boulton are hanging around, Koltsov might make another run, but there's a few unfamiliar names making it into the cash - they're only at the last 64/32 stage so still a long way to go in that one. Should mention the winner after we're done with the European Tour.

Dutch Darts Championship day 3 - now 50% less Dutch

With just Michael van Gerwen and Jeffrey de Graaf leading the orange charge, it was perhaps understandable that only the one Netherlands player would make the final session. Over to you Jeffrey...

Yep, that was a strange one. O'Connor didn't play well but van Gerwen was right average. When was the last time you saw him average south of 88? Elsewhere, the bets looked decent - Searle missed a couple of match darts, which is an irritant after getting the break back just in time to throw in the deciding leg, and Jones was nowhere, but everything else looked good - Edhouse hung around, perhaps a bit fortunately at times, but then nicked the break and held out in a trainwreck tenth leg, Smith made an incredible comeback so I think we're lucky there, and de Graaf was solid enough again. Another two thirds of a unit or so into the ledger, might have been more if I'd have fired on Evans and Payne as I was contemplating. Or, for that matter, Willie O'Connor. Oh well, maybe I should fire out speculative 0.1u punts more often going forward, it's not going to cause huge damage to the bankroll even if most of the time you lose the match heavily.

So to day 3 - it's now wide open, there's a marquee match in each half, with the winners of Cullen/Gurney and Wright/Chisnall looking very good to potentially make the final, but the Wright half also has Lewis, White, Whitlock, King and Payne all in the mix, while in the Cullen half, O'Connor's got to be fancying it now and Kyle Anderson may be in with a shout.

Before I start on the analysis, a brief word on the Challenge Tour - a great day for Jamie Hughes, binking one and going to the semi finals in the other, losing only to Ratajski there, who went on to win it and hit a nine darter during the day as well. Barnard, Menzies, Harris and Nilsson were in the mix in both events as well, it's real tough to be consistent over a tiring day in a very competitive environment so credit where it's due.

O'Connor/Evans - Ricky Evans has gone for an equally amazing and controversial choice of walk on music in Baby Shark, so must immediately be a favourite to win the game. The bookies have this close to evens, and I'm seeing it as Evans having a small edge, 52% to 48%. It's an odd one psychologically, Evans must have been thinking he's got through his final, but now isn't facing van Gerwen, while O'Connor may also be thinking that he's done the hard bit. Who knows? Nothing of value regardless.

Cullen/Gurney - Massive chance for either of these to go deep, Cullen's been due a final in one of these for a while now while Gurney has made a final but is yet to win one, and could use a title of some description sooner rather than later. Gurney's used an extra life against Searle already, the bookies have this one quite close at 10/11 Gurney and 11/10 Cullen, I'm seeing it a bit wider with Gurney up in the high 50's for win chances, but it's Cullen in Europe and he's got to be of the mindset that it's time to go and win one of these, it could come down to who wins the bull.

Edhouse/Smith - Two non seeds here, I bet on both of them successfully yesterday, and it's a great chance for either of them to make the final session and have what'd be a winnable quarter final. The market has this as quite close, favouring Smith but only around 55/45 or there abouts, I'm getting Smith ever so slightly over 60% to win the game. At 3/4, it's not really worth the bet, if the market moves a little bit in our favour then I think we should fire, but not right now.

Anderson/de Graaf - Kyle easily handled Jonny Clayton, mostly through hugely more powerful scoring giving him enough chances to waste before finally pinning doubles, messing up six perfect darts in the first leg after van Gerwen went out which I'm sure would have made the crowd go mad, while de Graaf got through Bunting to be the last Dutchman standing. The market is favouring Anderson at about a 70/30 clip, which I was thinking would be ridiculous and it must be a de Graaf bet, then I ran the numbers and only saw him winning barely more than one in three times. 21/10's not quite there, if you're feeling that the home crowd will boost Jeffrey then what the heck, go for it.

Wright/Chisnall - Second half of the draw begins with two of the biggest names left facing each other, such has Dave's fall down the Pro Tour rankings affected his seeding. Neither had any real problems against Painter and Rodriguez respectively so it's a jump to a much harder match for both players, I'm getting this as extremely close. The market doesn't, I don't know why, I'm not seeing anything on Twitter indicating Dave has a mystery illness or the like, so 0.25u Chisnall 13/5. I'm almost tempted to go more, this looks like great value.

Whitlock/Johnson - Simon easily rolled Reyes yesterday while Johnson survived match darts to edge past Gerwyn Price, the lines are understandably favouring Whitlock and I think it's in more or less the right proportion - Johnson's not drawing dead by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm getting him slap bang between 25% and 30% which with a line of 12/5 looks to be lacking in value.

Lewis/Payne - Payne was able to get past Darren Webster with a good run of four legs from five after they shared the first two, while Lewis ran six straight after Jones finished the first with a 164 for a twelve, so both playing decently well - the lines are looking around two to one in favour of the twice world champion, which you'd expect, but Payne is live here. Very, very live. Don't forget Josh is the one that's won a title this year. I've got him above 40% to win this one, so 0.25u Payne 9/4, this looks like an against a name player value special.

White/King - Our final game is between two Englishmen who have won tour titles this year, White having to come from a break down to get past a good looking Arron Monk, while King was able to capitalise on Labanauskas missing infinity darts at double in a 6-2 cruise. I'm getting White up at 63% to win the game, which is close to perfect for the 4/7 price that we're getting, so not touching this game with a barge pole.

So we've got two underdog picks at greater than 2/1 where I think they've both got better than a 40% shot, only takes one winner to profit so let's not be greedy.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

I'm not dead yet

In the middle of a house move, so the master computer was out of commission before the start of the latest European Tour event. Was surprising to see that five of the six Dutch qualifiers went out given that none of them can be described as mugs, have a wild guess which one I bet against in the only casual bet I had yesterday...

A few other surprising results. Given James Wilson's form I thought he'd have been able to handle Reyes, but it looks like Cristo didn't play too badly so I'll let him off, when the Spaniard plays well everyone needs to watch out. Thornton losing to Monk was a bit of an odd one, I'd have thought Marijanovic would have taken out Rowby-John, but Rodriguez was hitting some good stuff so credit to him for that. Also maybe a bit of a surprise that Painter was able to defeat van der Voort, but it's 6-5 so we'll call it a draw.

Couple of things announced before I look at day 2 bets - they've announced the 2019 calendar, and it sucks. This is primarily related to the UK Open changes, which are terrible as far as I'm concerned - letting every single player in with a tour card seems fine, it's not that much of an expansion and replacing the UK Open qualifiers (which were a huge pain in the arse for the players given their length, and even more of a pain to collate data for because of the sheer size) with additional Players Championship events seems fine as a result, but halving the number of pub qualifiers is a huge retrograde step, and giving those spots to players from the Challenge Tour seems bad, particularly given at least the top few are probably going to get tour cards anyway, either by winning it (Barnard etc) or winning through Q-School. It now has the feel of the Players Championship Finals on steroids, which I don't like. That they're played in the same place in the middle of nowhere doesn't help, bring back Bolton (if only because it's less than an hour's drive from me).

Fortunately they've said that the Challenge Tour spots are from the 2018 order of merit. Ignoring that Barnard etc will get a card and not need one of the spots, I was worried that they'd have done it the same way they top up from the list for the Players Championship, which would have made the first Challenge Tour weekend the most important event for anyone on any PDC circuit - not only would you have got into the UK Open, you also get into a bunch of the Players Championship events if you bink one. After the first Challenge Tour weekend, there's fourteen Players Championship events before the Challenge Tour order of merit can even change. That's way too many. Surely they could have swapped Challenge Tour 5-8 with, say, Players Championship 7-8 so there can be a bit more churn. Oh well, they have their reasons I guess, and I suppose the Challenge Tour players that are up there knowing with a bit of confidence that they can book seven weekends/midweeks off has its benefits.

So, today's games, interestingly the PDC home page is calling this the German Darts Championship, that'll go down well:

West/Evans - Seems really, really close to an Evans bet, 7/5 is decent, I think it should be a bit nearer 5/4, but with West being promoted to the #16 seed, making this a virtual final, I think West will bring his A-game which Evans shouldn't be able to compete with.

King/Labanauskas - Mervyn's coming in as around a 60/40 favourite, which looks maybe a little bit short, I'm getting him winning nearly two in three, which makes 8/13 look like there may be possible value. Darius is dangerous though, putting out someone who scored the same number of legs as King against a common opponent last weekend (Alcinas v Lewis), so let's keep looking further.

Chisnall/Rodriguez - This should be pretty comfortable for Dave, he's 3/10 and I've got him winning around 73% of the time. 27% for Rowby would be tempting if there wasn't a huge amount of vig on the line given his performance yesterday, but a 13/5 best price isn't of interest.

Cullen/Bates - Barrie dealt with Klaasen, but Cullen on the European Tour is different gravy. The market is saying 80/20, the model thinks that Bates has a bit more chance than that, but the model considers all games and Cullen's certainly been playing better on the stage than the floor this year, so any edge on a Bates bet is likely nullified based on that. Bates only averaged 86 yesterday anyway which isn't really threatening.

Webster/Payne - Half chance for Payne to make a breakthrough at the European level perhaps? van Duijvenbode held his own for a few legs before Josh pulled away, Webster will keep going throughout and this may go all eleven legs. 7/5 is pretty tempting, this is looking very similar to the West/Evans game in terms of analysis, but will pass. Payne's under a bit of pressure to win this to try to get into the Dortmund picture and it may show.

Price/Johnson - Darren took out Münch in a game that was maybe a bit closer than it should have been, Price has been doing alright since the Matchplay so I'm reducing the amount I consider the injury or otherwise now, Gerwyn's 2/5, if it was a bit closer I'd fire but I'm thinking a fair line is only 1/3.

Bunting/de Graaf - Jeffrey edged Nicholson to keep the Dutch flag flying here, Bunting is nearly as up and down as de Graaf is, I don't think there's a single player on tour that swings from brilliance to nails as much as Jeffrey. I think we can bet this one - I'm getting de Graaf in the low to mid 40% range here and he's 2/1, that he took out Nicholson who's been playing good stuff is enough of an indicator that we can see the good de Graaf that'll be needed - 0.25u de Graaf 2/1.

Lewis/Jones - Wayne surprisingly rolled de Zwaan, which seemed to be Jeffrey losing more than Wayne winning, Adie's in the seeds and a hot favourite, too hot for me - 0.25u Jones 7/2, if he can beat de Zwaan he has no reason to fear Lewis, I'm thinking that Lewis wins this nearly 70% of the time but that's not enough to not bet on Jones.

Hopp/Smith - Into the evening session and Max Hopp is finally a seed. Smith easily handled the talented youngster Rusty Jake Rodriguez yesterday, he's had his moments on tour and I've bet him a couple of times, and this is one of them. This line looks the wrong way around - 0.25u Smith 11/8, I know the model underrates Hopp, but Smith's equally tight in the difference between winning and losing average. As a bonus, the game's not even in Germany.

White/Monk - Arron's got another tough game after beating a resurgent Robert Thornton, White did OK midweek and perhaps should have picked up another title, but didn't, this is the most one sided projection yet with White above 80%, 3/10 isn't that tasty to suggest betting outright, but if you want to add it to an accumulator then I don't think you're going to be losing any value.

Wade/Edhouse - James could do with another run in one of these and Edhouse isn't the worst draw he could have got, Ritchie outduelled the Canadian Murschell yesterday in a bit of a scrappy game, he may need to improve, but there's actually a bit of value here - 0.1u Edhouse 3/1, I'm thinking 9/4 would be the correct line.

Gurney/Searle - The two losing finalists from midweek meet, Searle looking to get every cent he can being very close to the worlds cutoff which he realistically needs to make to save his card, this looks closer than the market suggests, 0.25u Searle 23/10.

Wright/Painter - Kevin edged through yesterday, but faces an event winner from this week and top 4 player in Peter Wright, which is a whole different level of player. Snakebite comes in as the most odds on player so far, and at 2/11 it's nearly worth a gamble.

van Gerwen/O'Connor - Interesting test for van Gerwen, O'Connor is not going to fear him in a rematch of the final O'Connor made in Europe. 11/1 is a big number in a two horse race, but MvG in the Netherlands is hellishly strong. O'Connor is not drawing dead, the model gives him a 16% shot, but I'm not going to bet against van Gerwen in his backyard without a better reason than that edge.

Clayton/Anderson - Kyle's been hitting some good legs here and there, he wasn't really tested by Bunse yesterday, while Clayton's gone a little bit cold over recent tournaments. Anderson's actually the favourite, which surprises me as he's not the seed, I was hoping that the model projecting him at 55% would allow a bet but the line actually looks perfect.

Whitlock/Reyes - Final game and it's between players that can be very infuriating to gamble on, Reyes beat a player in Wilson that's arguably playing better than Whitlock as of right now, the market reckons Whitlock at 65%, I'm thinking it's nearer 60%, if you think Reyes can play as well as he did yesterday two days running, then fire.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Stockport GOAT

Let's all hail this guy, from the "next players to win a PDC ranking title" post back in May:

4) Nathan Aspinall - This is another one looking at points per turn primarily, placing in the top 25 with very similar statistics to, say, Johnny Clayton without quite the same level of explosiveness. The former world youth finalist has been playing at a good level for a while now, doing well enough to make the European Championship despite not having a tour card, and while he's not managed to make a really deep run in a senior PDC event to this stage, he's at the level where he could do at some stage.

Today it happened, and as a Stockport native I'm absolutely thrilled for the kid, that's immediately got him into the worlds and the Players Championship finals, the Grand Prix is probably a bit too much of an ask at this stage, not looking at whether he's qualified for either of the Euro Tour events that are the only things in the way before the cutoff.

It's also huge for Ryan Searle, whose first final has, according to Burton, just got him into the last place in the worlds as things stand. I'd love him to get there to probably save his card, he's been playing very well - recall the post I made a while ago where I mentioned, in a graph comparing the points per turn of each player with the amount they were actually winning in the Pro Tour per event, and that he was running hugely badly. I don't think he did anything special today from what I recall while collating the stats, it just fell into place and somewhat corrected the negative variance that he had at the time.

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Peter Wright
4 Gary Anderson
5 Daryl Gurney
6 Mensur Suljovic
7 Phil Taylor
8 Michael Smith
9 Simon Whitlock
10 Ian White
11 Darren Webster
12 Gerwyn Price
13 Dave Chisnall
14 James Wade
15 Jonny Clayton
16 Joe Cullen
17 Adrian Lewis
18 Mervyn King
19 Stephen Bunting (UP 1)
20 Kim Huybrechts (DOWN 1)

Weird that after a near month break since the last update, nothing much has changed. Barney's down to #23, Wilson's solidly in the top 30 after his recent exploits (Benito's now well outside), de Zwaan is in the top 32, while Schindler's now up in the top 50 and Aspinall is up to #56. Searle's bumped up to #69.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Quick catch up

Events running thick and fast, let's see what's happened:

Michael van Gerwen closed out Hildesheim as expected, only really being troubled by James Wilson as he lost just one leg before an 8-6 final. Apart from Wilson's semi final against Suljovic every single game had a one-sided result, the losers of the other five games in the evening session going down 31-6 in total.

A couple of European Tour qualifiers from the UK yesterday, Wilson also managed a qualifying double to continue good form, Kyle Anderson got there twice which will help a ton given he's close to borderline on some qualification spots, Thornton managed it, as did Ross Smith, who threw decent stuff today, and Ryan Searle, who needs a lot of bank to push to a worlds sport to try to save his card, which would be unfortunate to lose as he's played a lot of good darts for little rewards since 2017 kicked off.

Players Championship 17 today, Wright took it but was in a lot of close tussles, including against Wilson (6-5), a decent semi against Martin Schindler, who had the second highest points per turn of anyone who won their board (behind Gary Anderson), Clemens also averaging quite highly even though he didn't win his board in a decent day for the German contingent. Gurney made the final, still to break through and win something this year, Wade was the last semi finalist who hit a nine in an earlier round, as did van der Voort, a name we've not heard a great deal of recently.

It's PC18 tomorrow and I'll post up FRH rankings after that, then straight to the Netherlands for another European Tour event.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Hildesheim quarter final - just one bet

0.25u Wilson 11/10 vs Meulenkamp - despite Ron playing well so far, Wilson's been pretty decent this weekend as well, and over our sample size he's projecting at around 60/40 - which with the market being unable to split the two, looks like a decent edge.

Chisnall's close but I'd like a bit more than 5/1, it should be a bet but van Gerwen's not lost a leg yet, and despite Dave's round two performance being stellar, he didn't have it his own way at all against a rejuvenated Terry Jenkins, which is not a good sign, and while van Gerwen has a pretty good head to head against more or less anyone, Chisnall's on an 18 game losing streak against van Gerwen (plus one Premier League draw), so there's always a risk that Dave's mentally beaten at the outset. Lewis/Cullen is close in the market and I have it just as close in the model, right down to Adie being the marginal 10/11 favourite, and Cross/Suljovic also looks to be a decently priced line, so nothing there - Cross is better but he's not 65%+ to win the game better that we need before we think about betting.

Regression to the mean - Hildesheim day 3 bets

Bit annoying how these past two days have gone, day one hitting everything and day two nearly getting shut out but for James Wilson nicking the decider to leave us down nearly a unit on the day. It's silly thinking really, given it's all one long game and over the tournament as a whole we're still up a unit, but then again, if Kyle Anderson hits either of the match darts he had to beat Rob Cross, we're even for the day. We're also nearly even if Mervyn King could have held from a 4-2 lead with the darts, heck, it only needed an 18 darter to win the decider and he didn't even get a shot at a double, such was the comedy scoring in that last leg. Still, let's look at today's lineups and briefly review what players did yesterday to get there:

Cross v Rasztovits - As mentioned above, Cross was perhaps a bit fortunate, but was still outstanding, every leg won in fifteen or less with two in twelve or less, and over 100 when losing legs, it looks like Rob is peaking nicely at the right time (coupled with the World Series win). Michael took out Simon Whitlock 6-3 with a fairly professional performance, a couple of legs he could have tightened up but Whitlock gave him enough to go at in the end. Cross is understandably a large favourite, I'm thinking around 85% - that's close enough to where the line is that there's no value on either side, but if you want to banker Cross then it can't be too bad.

Jenkins v Chisnall - Dave was amazing yesterday, social media was drooling about averages as they do, but a 6-0 rolling with four of the legs in twelve darts or better is very, very good no matter how you look at it. Terry edged out Ian White in a decider, one of those games where we should have trusted the model and gone for it, that Jenkins came from an early 2-0 and 4-2 hole is a good sign. Market thinks this is 75/25, the model gives a little bit more chance to Terry than that, but it's only saying that 5/2 would be a fair price rather than 3/1 and with Dave playing as he did yesterday I'm fine with leaving this one alone.

Suljovic v Webster - Mensur had little trouble with Andrew Gilding, cruising into a 4-0 lead and then having one bad leg to let Gilding get a break back, but comfortably getting home 6-2 with a solid overall display. Webster won by the same score against Ricky Evans, perhaps not playing quite as well as Suljovic did though. The market has this in the region of 70/30 which is a bit too one sided really, Webster is at 45% in the model, and even if you take into account the model working off won legs and Mensur still (even after the Matchplay) performing better in terms of points per turn on losing legs than winning legs, I'm not sure you can take 15% off as a result of that. Anyone watching darts recently will tell you Webster can easily nick this more than one time in three, so 0.25u Webster 9/4.

Wilson v Thornton - Two qualifiers face off, Wilson edging Clayton as mentioned in the opening piece, while Robert took out James Wade, mainly due to Wade not capitalising on golden chances to break each of Thornton's first two legs on throw, which would have made it 4-1 Wade. Oh well. Wilson at this stage seems the much better player, the model giving him two wins out of every three and being a full three points higher than Thornton on overall points per turn, that the market has this close to evens seems plain wrong, 0.25u Wilson 10/11.

Smith v Meulenkamp - Ron hit some very high numbers against Bunting to win by the odd leg in eleven, opening with a four visit kill and then winning the last two legs after Bunting was able to get a 5-4 lead. Smith eased past Ratajski, who didn't really show, not that he could do anything with Smith hitting four very good legs in a row after a dodgy opener to take a 5-0 lead. Ron has these weekends in Europe where it just clicks and he looks close to unbeatable, but Smith is a tough out, the market has him at 5/2 and if anything it seems like a Smith bet, with the model giving him north of 75% win chances, but there's no real significant edge given Ron's looking alright this weekend.

Gurney v Lewis - This is a statement game for Adie, the sorts of games that he's needing to win to show that he belongs back amongst the world's elite - Gurney looked in good nick against Darren Johnson, getting a break to start and end a 6-3 win with all but one leg in fifteen darts or less, while Lewis needed every leg to beat Mervyn King, coming from 4-2 down and breaking in the decider to get home. Lewis appeared unconvincing on the numbers and it's hard to see why he is installed as the favourite here. The model gives it very close though, and if we take a more recent sample than normal, it does project Lewis in the high fifties to take it. I'm just going to avoid this one.

Cullen v Dekker - Joe overcame Josh Payne with an alright display, getting there 6-4 by breaking in the tenth leg to counter Payne breaking in the ninth to get it back on throw. Dekker won by the same score against Gerwyn Price, running the last two legs from 4-4 with neither player really being able to hold their throw with any consistency. The market understandably favours Cullen, and I agree with that analysis - perhaps it could be trimmed to 4/7 Cullen rather than 1/2 with the win chance being slightly below 65%, but there's nothing really here to go at.

van Gerwen v Schindler - Michael whitewashed Reyes who offered very little really, the only two legs not within fifteen darts being Michael's first two holds of throw, but when he breaks Reyes twice in twelve or less it's hard to exploit it really. Schindler took out Steve Beaton 6-2, apart from the last leg where he won in twelve darts with a completely unnecessary 164 out, it was fairly poor stuff again, Beaton averaging south of 80 putting Martin under zero pressure. The overall stats give Schindler around a 1 in 5 out, but that seems way too generous given how the two players have gone this weekend.

So just the two bets today. Should be back before the quarters.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Hildesheim day 2 bets

I think everyone can agree that was a pretty successful day, only missed match darts from Alcinas in a what the heck long shot flyer preventing a clean sweep of results. The scores from yesterday are into the master computer, so let's see what we've got:

Chisnall/Webster - Webby wasn't actually too bad yesterday, getting half his legs in under fifteen darts but an average under 80 in those he lost let Evetts take him all the way so it turned a bit scrappy, Chizzy's a big step up and he should win this more than 70% of the time, at 2/5 there's no value on this game.

Price/Dekker - Jan managed to grind the first game out against Labanauskas, he'll need to improve against Gerwyn. No question. How Price plays after the surgery is a question. The model gives him more than a two in three shot. He's 8/13. Dekker didn't look too great yesterday. If he wasn't right it'd be real easy for him to withdraw, so what the heck, 0.25u Price 8/13.

Bunting/Meulenkamp - Ron was very good in a crushing win over Richard North, averaging over a ton and getting two twelve or better dart legs, this is what we know he can do, he just doesn't do it often enough. Similar tale for Bunting, I never really know whether his form is picking up or not, I've got this fairly tight, at 11/8 I guess there's marginal value but not really enough to recommend a bet.

Cullen/Payne - I guess we can call Josh's performance yesterday professional, if he wants to take the next step he needs to make a final session of one of these to get money in the bank for TV majors (other than the worlds where he should be absolutely fine). This one should be a lot tighter than what the line suggests, I've got Payne at over 45% to win, even if we say that Cullen will outperform because it's a stage game I don't think that we can not bet, 0.25u Payne 9/5.

Gurney/Johnson - Darren did what he needed to do in sweeping the German newcomer (would be interested to see when the last time was that a German won on debut on the European Tour - anyone?), Gurney's a step up in class and five out of six legs in over fifteen darts shouldn't cut it here, I've got Gurney at a bit over 75%, so a 3/10 line isn't of interest.

Smith/Ratajski - The Polish Eagle needed a late break in a good quality game against van der Voort, but got it after coming from behind to level, Smith has had some right mediocre games since the last Euro Tour event so who knows what might happen. I think there's a little bit of value in Krzysztof, 5/2 would indicate a winning chance of just under 30%, I've got it at 35%, so with him playing well yesterday and Smith being a bit indifferent, let's go 0.25u Ratajski 5/2.

Beaton/Schindler - Martin got past Justin Pipe in what was a game to miss, and the line against Beaton is a flip for all intents and purposes. I can't separate either of them, Schindler being at nearly 52% to win, avoid this one, both for betting and possibly for viewing.

Whitlock/Rasztovits - Michael didn't do too badly in seeing off Pallett, and comes in as a big dog against Whitlock, and I can see why looking at the model, it saying that this is around 70/30 in favour of the Aussie. 10/3 is therefore kind of tempting, but I'm not seeing Michael as the sort that can hold it together to beat a seed in practice, I can't see on dartsdatabase that he's managed to get past this stage at all, so I'm leaning to avoiding this one.

Clayton/Wilson - Lethal Biscuit was indeed lethal to edge out Wattimena in a game that had high and low points, he'll need to be a bit more consistent against the Ferret, but the model actually spits this out as a coinflip, with James actually very slightly favoured. As such, 0.25u Wilson 6/4.

Wade/Thornton - Double in nine dart frenzy please? His game against Marijanovic wasn't a classic, and he'll need to up his game against the Machine, the bookies have Thornton down as around a 30% shot and I'm inclined to agree with that line, hopefully Rob's game will click and we can have a decent match, but I'm not holding my breath.

Webster/Evans - Ricky got past Noppert with Danny not playing too great, Ricky just capitalising and taking what was given. This'll be a stiffer test, Webster rating as perhaps too much of a favourite in the market, a 44% shot getting 13/8 is fairly close to firing, I'm just not convinced that Ricky did well enough yesterday to grab the chances that he'll need to in order to get over the line.

Cross/Anderson - Kyle nearly hit a nine after getting in all sorts of trouble against Lee Bryant, his final statline was four good legs and six awful legs, which if you do that against Cross, you lose. Market has this 75/25 in favour of the world champion, the model is throwing out nearer a 2-1 split. That's interesting. Anderson's under a bit of pressure to do well and that's usually when his game loses a bit, then again maybe the nine dart effort will ignite confidence. What the heck, 0.25u Anderson 14/5.

Suljovic/Gilding - Goldfinger's game against Max Hopp was better than I expected it to be, and he's a huge underdog to Mensur despite that. We all know what Gilding can do at his peak, and that's compete at a level where he can beat Suljovic, but that was three and a half years ago now (oddly, in that UK Open run, it was Suljovic he beat in the quarter final). The model says bet Gilding, but as always it likely underestimates Mensur, and looking at Gilding's game yesterday, there were far too many 60's, 45's etc to be healthy. 9/2's a big number in a two horse race, but no.

King/Lewis - Adie only just survived yesterday against Alcinas, and now comes in as a 1/2 favourite against recent Pro Tour winner Mervyn King. This is closer than that, Lewis wasn't convincing in round one and with King having some recent form I like the look of 0.25u King 9/5.

White/Jenkins - I like the sound of this game, it's a pity it can't have been played with the Jenkins from a few years ago, with today's Jenkins being a 3/1 dog. Jenkins may have some value at that price - as regular readers know, the model absolutely loves White, and yet it's still only spitting out that he wins this game just over two times out of three. Jenkins did OK yesterday bit Smith was extremely ordinary and never really threatened the Bull, the gut says no and thinks that Jenkins might not hold it together if he can keep it close.

van Gerwen/Reyes - Cristo was not tested by Blum at all, and didn't need to do anything special to win, the last three won legs all coming in over six visits (and he had seven to take the last one that Blum did as well). At 10/1, this might be the sort of game where you can lay MvG, in that even if a combination of your player hitting a peak that gives him a chance against van Gerwen (which nobody disputes is in Reyes' locker) and van Gerwen not just crushing and giving you no chance at all is unlikely, it's not less than 10% unlikely. If Reyes had done anything in the first round to suggest he could hit the first part I'd bet him, but he hasn't so I won't.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Hildesheim bets

0.25u Payne 4/5, seems a good price for a winner on tour this year when the model's thinking this is nearer a 1/2 game.

Webster's a bit shorter with a bit less chances of winning, so given his lack of form I can pass this one.

1u Anderson 2/9, he's up near 90% to win this so even at these odds this looks quite safe.

As Hänsch is unknown I'll pass his game.

Dekker's odds against, which surprises me a touch, as he's playing Labanauskas who could be a little underrated and off a fairly limited sample I'm inclined to pass, it's close though. Dekker at least won his qualifier yesterday.

North/Meulenkamp line looks plumb so not bet there.

0.25u Gilding 7/4, this one may end up looking silly given the model seems to underrate Hopp and it is in Germany, but I'm going to trust the process if we're getting nearly 2/1 on a player the model projects to win.

0.25u Ratajski 13/10, now this line just looks plain off. Can't be all bookies palping at the same time surely? The Pole should be the favourite here barring any injury news I've not seen.

0.25u Schindler 8/13, line seems way too close for my liking, Martin's really very good and Pipe's not going to score enough I don't think.

Pallett/Rasztovits line looks good enough to not consider a bet, may be tiny value on Rasztovits but it's not enough to start punting.

0.25u Wilson 11/8, this seems like another Ratajski line, where I think it should be the other way round, at least in this one we know Wattimena's playing OK and can see where they're coming from, but I've got James as the favourite so let's go with it.

Lewis/Alcinas I've not looked at as I was expecting this to be de Zwaan, but if Alcinas can beat de Zwaan he can beat Adie - 0.1u Alcinas 7/2.

Smith's only just north of evens against Jenkins, that's not quite enough to go with it in a game that could be decided on who wins the bull.

Might be tiny value on Marijanovic against Thornton but the market looks to have a fair bit of vig right now so nothing here, if someone offers 6/4 then have a look I guess.

0.25u Evans 6/4, as stated below I think this is a much closer line with Ricky having a tiny edge over Noppert, it's really close but 6/4 seems to be just on name value.

Reyes/Blum I really don't have an opinion on, was expecting this to be Clemens and I don't think I can translate the logic used to bet on Alcinas here given we're only getting 5/2 on the German.

Competitive darts returns!

We have a draw for Hildesheim! And it features only four of the sixteen first round games not featuring an as yet unknown qualifier, so at this stage all I can do is post a fair few what if types of posts, project who I think will win each bit of the qualifier, do some stats and wait for it all to be done and then for the odds to appear. So let's see what we have, I'm writing as the qualifiers go on so if something reads odd, I've probably gone back and edited something as results have changed things:

Andy Boulton/Josh Payne (winner to face Cullen) - Boulton's actually in with a decent chance of qualifying for Dortmund, but every little bit would help - getting an UK qualifier isn't really ideal, especially one that's won a Pro Tour event this year, with Payne rating to win this one a little more than two times out of three, his overall point per turn being a couple better than Boulton being fairly significant. If Payne did get through to face Cullen, he'd be very live - being an underdog, but greater than 45% to get home, although whether he'd realise that if Cullen plays better in Europe as he has done overall is another question.

Ted Evetts/Mark Webster (Chisnall) - Evetts has shown a decent game in flashes, but of late it seems there's been more misses than hits, the same as can be said for Webster, who hasn't been in form since seemingly forever, and while he's not in any danger of dropping far enough to lose his card he'd certainly like to get a win on stage, and he's just short of a 2-1 favourite to do so. Chisnall should be far too strong for either, getting nearly 75% against Webster to win.

Lee Bryant/Kyle Anderson (Cross) - Anderson's been a bit hit and miss this year after a breakthrough in 2017, and he's currently outside of the Dortmund slots and under pressure to up his game for the Grand Prix, but this first round shouldn't be an issue, coming in at nearly 90% against the relative unknown Bryant, making his first appearance on the European Tour in over twelve months and nearly doubling his prize money this season just by qualifying for this. Cross would be a different proposition entirely, but Kyle'd still have about a one in three stab at it, and from then, who knows?

Darren Johnson/HNQ4 (Gurney) - Now we have to start projecting. It looks like they've seeded the top five Germans (would be four but Wright withdrew, oddly enough) to the last four of their section, which for this is Langendorf, with Horvat in the mix and some other unknown or bad players. Johnson would have made the worlds last year under the new format but has work to do - if he faced Langendorf it'd be 60/40, so no gimmie. Gurney should be far too strong in round two, at over 75% against Johnson and clearly more against any domestic qualifier (edit - some guy called Hänsch has taken both Langendorf and Horvat out 6-1 and 6-4 respectively and 6-0'ed someone else to make the final, I don't recognise any possible opponents, so Johnson should be fine?)

Darius Labanauskas/EQ5 (Price) - Darius is looking OK to make Dortmund if he can pick up some wins, and this isn't a bad draw, with the qualifiers featuring Lerchbacher and Dekker, which would be quite close matches, Jan at around 55% to win and Zoran an effective flip (edit - Zoran was knocked out by Mats Gies in the semi, so it'll probably be Dekker). Price should have enough if his injury's healed up, looking better than a 2-1 favourite against any of these names.

Richard North/EQ1 (Bunting) - North has been OK this year, just doing enough to hold on to the Matchplay spot, but now needs to push forward up the rankings. The best opponent he can face is Meulenkamp, who's got some work to do to try to overtake the likes of North for Dortmund, who's on the borderline with Meulenkamp a couple of grand back. The model has North as a tiny favourite, not even 53%, which is roughly the chance that Bunting would have against North, which surprises me a little.

Andrew Gilding/HNQ3 (Suljovic) - Gilding is in serious danger of losing his tour card so realy needs a win here, but would face soon to be seeded European Tour winner Max Hopp if he successfully navigates the qualifiers. That said, as the model hates Hopp, Gilding still comes in as a favourite against Hopp, albeit really small, not even 55%. Suljovic should be really quite comfortable against either player, but as the model also hates Suljovic it doesn't rate him to be anywhere near as big a favourite as he should be - 61% against Gilding.

Krzysztof Ratajski/EQ7 (Smith) - Ratajski's not having quite as spectacular a season as he did last year, but is doing OK for himself - but does need to do some work to make Dortmund, the worlds being safe due to the UK Open qualifier win. The qualifier he faces will be either van der Voort, Kist, van den Bergh or an unknown (edit - it's Vinny or Dimitri), Dimitri would be about a 56% favourite but Vincent would be a 38% dog. Smith would be nearly a 2-1 favourite against Ratajski, adapt the line as needed.

Justin Pipe/HNQ2 (Beaton) - This is the Schindler section, which would be a tough ask for the veteran Pipe in Martin's backyard, having less than one chance in three against the youngster. Beaton got the last seed after Wright withdrew, and if it was Schindler he'd be face it'd be quite a tight game on paper, Schindler being around 53% against him.

Dave Pallett/Michael Rasztovits (Whitlock) - Pallett will be looking to replicate his UK Open exploits, and would have been in line to face Kim Huybrechts, but he was dumped out by Rasztovits, who beat de Graaf in the final. Pallett is a tiny favourite against Rasztovits so it could be worth a punt on the qualifier here.. Whitlock should be a solid favourite against Pallett, projecting to win more than two out of three games.

James Wilson/Jermaine Wattimena (Clayton) - It looks pretty certain that it'll be Wattimena that Wilson plays, putting up a game of two players doing well enough to make the Matchplay through the Pro Tour, and Wilson would look to be favoured - a little bit over 60% to win the game. Clayton's had a couple of mediocre results on occasion and could be a vulnerable seed against either (unless Hannes Schnier goes berko and starts beating everyone) - the model can barely separate Wilson and Clayton. (edit - no, Schnier didn't go berko)

Adrian Lewis/EQ8 (King) - Lewis is back among the seeds real soon so a rare outing on Friday for the former twice world champion, who will not have an easy game as he'll face Jeffrey de Zwaan or Antonio Alcinas (on a board that also featured van de Pas, Perales and van Tergouw). If it is de Zwaan, it's instantly game of the night, and Jeffrey, such as how his game has moved forward, actually projects as a favourite, albeit only 51%. King's got to be worried whoever he plays, although he'd still be very live - 45% against Lewis.

Terry Jenkins/Ross Smith (White) - There is no curse any more, but an interesting matchup between one player at the twilight of his career and another, although he seems to have been around for a while, still isn't even 30. This is another game that rates to be very close - Smith's doing well enough that he comes out as a small favourite against the Bull, around 54%, and although regular readers will not be surprised to see the model churn out White as a routine favourite, you might be surprised to see him not even a 2-1 favourite, lining up at 65% against Smith. There's a lot of parity in these races to 11!

Robert Thornton/HNQ1 (Wade) - Thornton's struggling to maintain relevance, and has a lot of work to do to make Dortmund - he is likely to face either the seeded Marijanovic in an all Robert derby, where Thornton would be a 53% favourite, or world championship hero Eidams, where he'd be in the mid-sixties. Wade is a tough out, back amongst the seeds he projects to beat Thornton more than two times in every three so the Scot would have work to do.

Ricky Evans/EQ3 (Webster) - Rapid Ricky is in the news for being one of the players that twelve year old Leighton Bennett beat in a decent senior open over the summer, so will want to do a bit better this time, against either former Lakeside finalist Noppert, who eliminated Klaasen, or Ronny Huybrechts, who took out de Decker. Noppert should take this on form, but Evans would win this in a game that'd be about an 11/10 - 10/11 fair line. Darren Webster is the seeded player, and Evans is doing enough that he'd only be about a 6/5 dog. Could be close games all round.

EQ4/HNQ5 (van Gerwen) - A virtual final here and nobody knows what'll happen. In the European section we have horribly inconsistent players in Reyes and van Duijvenbode, while the home nation player should be Clemens, but the winner of Blum/Siepmann could be in the mix. If it's Clemens, as you'd think it would be, he's about a 6/5 favourite against Reyes, van Duijvenbode is about a percentage point better, while van Gerwen should take out Clemens nearly 80% of the time, so not a complete walkover - Clemens on home soil could be interesting, he has made a Pro Tour final after all.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Well, that's an interesting move by the BDO


Well that is interesting. It's really quite interesting. I think it's primarily been made to alleviate any issues the ladies might have had with respect to entering the qualifiers, which is a hugely welcome stance to take, but I think it's actually quite a well thought out decision that'll benefit both sides.

The top PDC players are not going to play BDO events. It's that simple - the PDC has such a crowded calendar that there is enough for around the top 32, maybe further, to be playing in a PDC event most weekends, so nothing's changed there. Where it is useful is for those players that are lower down in the PDC rankings - say someone's not qualified for a European Tour event, they can now theoretically enter a BDO event on that weekend. There's quite a lot of players, at least in the UK, that will now be able to do this, and I think it can only help both the players and the BDO - the players get competitive darts, and the BDO events get more players and a stronger playing field. I think it'll especially help the growth of the game in Europe, if players know that they won't be frozen out of events then I think it'll cause a lot more players to take a shot at Q-School and European Tour qualifiers knowing that they can still play the series of events they were going to do originally.

I'm really not sure what this means for Lakeside. In theory, Michael van Gerwen could roll up to the BDO qualifier, win it, and hold both world titles at the same time. With the way the BDO rankings work, you could quite, quite easily drop a couple of Pro Tour weekends where there's a BDO event with decent ranking points available and also attack the system when there's no PDC events or where you've not qualified for a PDC event that weekend. Or just play through the summer - there's been no ranking events outside of the Matchplay since June, and most of the PDC that would be interested in BDO events isn't going to be in the Matchplay.

One thing's for certain, 2019 Q-School is going to be hectic. I see no reason why Durrant wouldn't now go for it - he can still maintain Lakeside eligibility, pick and choose PDC events where his BDO schedule allows him to, keep his job (I think the last interview I heard he was still working, if that's now not the case my apologies) and get the best of both worlds. There's no reason for any BDO player not to take the shot at it.

One last thing - what does this mean for Ratajski? Surely in this brave new world of, if not co-operation, at least less hostility, he should be allowed to take the Grand Slam spot his World Master title would otherwise have allowed him to have?

23/8 addendum - on Twitter, there's a bunch of people mentioning that there is a PDC/PDPA rule (somewhere, I can't for the life of me find it) that states members cannot play in non-PDC sanctioned events on television. This needs the PDC/PDPA to clarify things.

First, what does this supposed rule that I cannot find actually state (if it's hidden somewhere in opaque not for public consumption contracts between players and the PDPA then fair enough)?

Second, what constitutes television? The whole idea of a televised event is meaningless in 2018. This isn't the WDC era where you had four channels and, if you're lucky, a handful of crap on Sky/cable. An ever increasing percentage of the population do not view television in a traditional manner at all. If Channel 4 picked it up, then that's fine. Eurosport, probably. BBC red button? Freesports? Dave? Amazon Prime? Winmau streaming through Facebook? Bet 365? Where do you draw the line?

It'd be extremely sensible for the PDC/PDPA to just waive/remove this rule for reasons stated above. The top players are not suddenly going to start showing up in BDO events. The lower ranked players might, but is it really a big commercial loss to the PDC if, say, Wayne Jones showed up in the World Masters brought to you by Netflix? If anything, it brings up what is surely a murky legal grey area - players will almost certainly be independent contractors, now that there isn't quite as huge a demarcation between codes it is surely got to be potential restraint of trade and/or the PDC's rules (if they even exist) qualify as unfair contract terms. Interesting times regardless.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Brisbane, Milton Keynes and den Haag

Watching a bit of the replay from Brisbane right now. Was good to see that Cadby managed to avenge his defeat to Simon Whitlock, every leg won in five visits being a decent standard, although the real story has to be Raymond Smith knocking out Michael Smith, who now has a fairly unenviable record of two out of three first round losses on this conclusion to the World Series tour. Ray played some decent stuff - with him currently heading up the DPA rankings, he'd be in line to make the PDC worlds (where, if he also qualified, they would absolutely need to rig the draw to give him Ross Smith as an opponent to screw with the Sky captioning lads). Looking back at his 2017 BDO worlds, he did OK, a lot better in the game he lost rather than the one he won, but not bad. Would certainly be a contender to win his first game, good to see that the shelling he got from van Gerwen didn't affect him too much at this level. But why the hell are ITV slotting in ad breaks after three legs? Only the last two games went beyond eight legs, you can surely show the whole game, we don't need to see a bunch more ads for trade suppliers.

Next, there's been a few ladies players saying that they will be playing the qualifiers for the PDC worlds - Hedman, Winstanley, Hammond, Sherrock and Dobromyslova have confirmed themselves in - that's five of the BDO's top eight. Credit to all of them for doing so while the BDO dithers as to what their stance is going to be - that said, while it would be a standard BDO thing to do, you can't imagine that they will do anything that'll prevent them from appearing at Lakeside (or wherever the hell they hold the worlds) given all the free publicity the two entrants will give for the ladies' worlds, and with these top entrants having already gone in, they cannot surely mass exclude people that play the qualifier, as it'd leave their version so incredibly weak, we really don't need to see a repeat of the men's version in 1994 after the WDC split where Part won without averaging 91 in a single match and winning the final in straight sets while only averaging 82.

Finally, with it being less than four months before the worlds starts, what on earth are they going to do with the Premier League? First, here's a look at some ranking metrics:


I've highlighted in green the current PDC top four, who are all over £130k ahead of Gurney in the world championship race who, if they're not still in the top four after the worlds, surely will be invited anyway. I've also highlighted Smith, Suljovic and Gurney, as I can't imagine any conceivable scenario where they're not invited - Smith reached the final last year, has won a World Series event and has a Pro Tour win, Suljovic has won a Euro Tour event, a World Series event and had a pretty ridiculous average this year, while Gurney's a clear fifth in key rankings, looked good last time and while he could do with winning something, or at least making a final, is still looking pretty solid.

Where's this come from in August you ask? There was a brief bit of Twitter this week from Chris Mason making the point, quite rightly, that they pick players based on commercial reasons ahead of the best players. That said, this year everyone was in the top 11 of the FRH rankings when they made the selection and the consensus was that they've made the right call. This year however, can they really leave Barney out regardless of how far he slips in the rankings (note the FRH ranking - he's defending £80k out of his current £276k at the worlds, as well as over £50k from the World Grand Prix semi final and Grand Slam/Players Championship Finals quarters. So he can certainly drop a bunch. But can we find three players better than Barney that they'd actually pick? Let's look at some of the names:

Cadby - has the talent, has a major final and a ranking win, but would surely be too soon, unless he goes really deep in another big one (and he's surely left it too late to make the Grand Prix).
White - despite three tour finals including two wins, he's surely never getting in unless he wins at least a Euro Tour or makes a major semi.
Whitlock - average is nowhere, hasn't won anything this year, was mostly making up the numbers this year after a decent first 2-3 weeks.
Clayton - he's made a major final and won a Euro Tour in the last twelve months but probably needs another decent run somewhere.
Wade, Lewis, Chisnall - grouping these three together as they're all bouncing back after being dropped last year. None of them have won anything, although Wade and Lewis have at least made multiple finals so you could easily see one or two of those sneaking in.
Price - surely not coming back after this season.
Webster - if he reaches another couple of major quarters he'll have a very good case, but that's a bit of an if.
Cullen - has been there or there abouts on the TV and European Tour, if he can continue to do so then I don't see why not with his rankings having escalated to the top 16 level.
Hopp, de Zwaan - Grouping these two youngsters together - I'm sure the PDC would love to chuck Hopp in, but I think he needs to prove he's not a one hit wonder and can do things week in week out, if he can put together a TV quarter final or better then maybe? de Zwaan's done that, has a win and two other finals, and has the van Gerwen killer tag, so why not?

I think that unless one of these (or someone else from nowhere - I've not even mentioned the likes of Huybrechts, van den Bergh or Bunting who could catch fire) makes a major final there's going to be a serious clusterfuck, and with there being a lack of players making a solid case, then I think you need to reinvite van Barneveld even if he doesn't play another ranked floor event this year and bricks every major. It'll be an interesting decision.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

This is why van Gerwen is the GOAT


Opponent having three clear match darts at his favourite double? Hit three bulls because you can.

Wright's route on 81 does ask a question though - going treble 19 is fine, and not going the bull route is fine with van Gerwen not on a shot, but he doesn't hate tops (or, for that matter, D18), so why not go 25/bull first dart yourself?

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Melbourne and a few other thoughts

Was kind of surprised to see Cadby lose out to Whitlock in the opening round, which would have set up a mouthwatering potential clash against Michael van Gerwen, was also generally surprised at the low number of legs won overall, at least compared to the New Zealand lads the previous weekend - sure, Damon Heta edged out Kyle Anderson in his game, but outside of that and the Cadby game the six players averaged less than two legs a piece, only Ray O'Donnell (no, I don't know him either, but he seems to have had a string of alright results on the domestic circuit) managing more than two, which looks to be more down to Barney missing every single double on the board more than anything. I doubt I'll watch any of it - I didn't watch last night and tape delay really doesn't cut it when ITV4 could be showing it live instead of five episodes of Pawn Stars back to back. I may watch Smith/Cross on catchup, which Smith just edged 10-9 with a 122 out in the decider - I want to know if the 18 that Cross hit with his last dart at 50 before that was an attempt at bull or a set up. I guess it was a shot at bull (dartsdata pointed at small 18 at least), but setting up would have been so cool to see. It also had a crazy leg where both players were on double after 9 darts, oh my.

While talking about Australia, there was talk on the Weekly Dartscast this week about whether Oceania should get its own PDC ranking event. Burton and Alex were very much in favour of this, and I think it'd be a decent idea, but it would need to be thought out very carefully.

Firstly, it's a very, very crowded calendar already. I don't think you could run something like this in addition to the World Series events, I think it would have to be one or the other - keep one of the Australian ones and have the ranking event replace the other.

Secondly, the logistics would have to be a nightmare. It's one thing to invite eight big names over, who are easily making enough money from sponsorship and the game in general to be able to go halfway around the world for an exhibition. If it's a ranking event then you need to allow the PDC players in general the chance to qualify. Let's say they did it on the scale of a European Tour event - have the top 16 in Pro Tour order of merit seeded, 16 from a general PDC qualifier, and then 16 from domestic qualifiers (perhaps consider having 2-4 from an Asian qualifier to integrate the tours a bit more?) - now if you have it on the same prize scale as the European Tour, let's say that some random guy that doesn't necessarily have a huge amount of sponsorship qualifies. I don't know who, let's say someone like a Stephen Burton, Peter Jacques or Chris Quantock. Not unreasonable to say that that sort of level of player could make it, you only need to look at who comes through the UK qualifiers for the Euro Tour events, none of them bad players but none of them a household name. Are they really going to want to spend god knows how much in flights, hotels and time to draw Cadby in the first round, lose 6-1 and pick up a grand for their trouble? They're probably going to make a loss on the event unless the PDC or sponsors kick in a healthy bit of cash to compensate, either that or they have the prize fund at a level somewhere above the Euro Tour but below a major, which would be kind of ridiculous.

Finally, it would suck for the majority of the PDC's viewing audience. You either show it live at a not great set of hours (particularly for a afternoon session) or you do it on tape delay. Neither's going to be that attractive for either the audience or the sponsors.

Elsewhere in the BDO, van Tergouw managed to win the other event in Belgium last weekend. Now that's notable as the best young player in last year's FRH awards has managed to get a win at the senior level, and he's been quiet this year (apparently he hasn't been playing as many events), and he took some big scalps - the guy that knocked out Baetens the round before, Jim Williams, Mandigers and then Durrant in the final. Maybe now he'll kick on and really make an impression, but the BDO seems to be imploding - they had a cancelled event this month, there's rumours that the worlds won't be at Lakeside and they're nowhere near a TV deal... maybe imploding isn't the right word as that implies a sudden collapse, whereas the BDO's been a trainwreck waiting to happen for years. It'll be interesting to see what the new chairman who's known only as the guy that isn't Chisnall's manager will do.

I think the key thing is to make tournaments that are more attractive to viewers, and develop a connection between the players, but at the same time not go mad and try to do something huge. Personally I'd like to see them try something similar to the Premier League, albeit on a smaller, more condensed scale. I think it'd be feasible to have a ten player event coincide with a series of ladies knockouts over three nights - have four boards, one stage and three set up in a UK Open style, and stream the lot. Top four men and the top two performing ladies return to a finals day, which you could then look to get TV coverage for. It's a lot easier to get some channel to cover for one evening rather than the five bloated days that the World Trophy was. The initial nights would be pretty easy to schedule as well - something like this:


With careful fixture scheduling you can get every single mens' player on the stage of an evening as well as the ladies final. Quick race to six matches, you can get it done within three hours pretty comfortably. Having a series of three events will also allow the opportunity to get to know the players a bit more on a regular basis, it certainly doesn't help the BDO that they've got a pretty huge churn rate (be it players leaving to the PDC, becoming old or crap, etc etc) and most viewers will not watch the BDO outside of the worlds and will have no idea who 80%+ of the field actually are. Still, it remains to be seen what they do in order to try to stay relevant.