Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Projections done

Just posted this up on Twitter. Make of it what you will. Needless to say that the model loving White and hating Suljovic due to White being really good and Suljovic running incredibly cold in ranked events as far as stats are concerned makes White look incredible given that they're in the same section of the draw. Will post up some bets later in the week for the individual games, but if you like an each way punt, I really do think you could do a lot worse than go with Smith at a widely available 33's, or White at widely available 100's (125 on Stars but I'll be damned if that useless site gets a cent of my hard earned cash).

edit - It's actually a bit unclear on the actual format of round two, I've seen both a race to 11 and a race to 13. These are based on a race to 13, but it's not going to alter the projections more than a fraction of a percentage

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Matchplay initial stats and thoughts

Some initial early level stats for you. The draw was made on Thursday, so just the 24 hours after it was initially reported to be done, I'd assume the PDC are still within SLA's on that one. The stats should speak for themselves, as ever I'm calculating the averages per turn, not three times per dart, the total line is summing everything for those players in the Matchplay, it's not a PDC-wide or full database stat. The quality leg ratio is something that I've done before - it basically assigns you a point if you finish a leg within fifteen darts, three points if you finish a leg in twelve darts, and then takes a point away if you don't finish within eighteen darts, and it's the number of points a player is getting every 100 legs won. Finish every leg in bang on 15, score 100 on this.

So what of the draw? First thing is that top half looks unbelievably stacked. You've got Lewis as a 16 seed, the top three ranked players from the Pro Tour, Smith as the 9 seed, Anderson and Barney in one eighth of it... whoever comes through this half is going to have earned it.

Looking game by game, van Gerwen/de Zwaan is immediately interesting on account de Zwaan having knocked van Gerwen out of the previous major over a length of match that is the same as what the Matchplay is. I've just shoved their names into the master computer and it's reckoning that de Zwaan would win a best of eleven 24% of the time, obviously that will go down over a longer match, but a possible path of de Zwaan, Lewis, Smith and Anderson just to reach the final really doesn't make me want to pile in at odds on for van Gerwen to win the title (at the best odds, I wouldn't touch the 4/6 offered in some places with a barge pole). Lewis/Wilson could be an interesting one if Wilson can bring his best game, they've played once this year (in the Pro Tour where Lewis lost to Mansell in the final) with Lewis extending the head to head to 3-0, but if Lewis keeps playing the way he has been doing of late he should be fine. Remember it was this event last year where he had his only real good run of the season.

Chisnall/Brown I think is one of the games where it's most likely the seed goes out, although Keegan would need to overcome a comical 0-11 head to head record against Dave, but some of these have been close - the last two being deciding legs (earlier this year on the Pro Tour, but then back to 2016), a 11-13 turnover in the second round of this event in 2015 and that 14-16 loss in the Slam in 2014. Smith/Clayton's another interesting one, Smith should be the stronger player and Clayton can think himself unlucky that he didn't get an easier draw as I think he'd be very much live against a lot of the weaker seeds, they've not played this year, the last meeting coming the week after Clayton won his first title, but Smith's won every match to date.

Gurney/West is a tricky one potentially, West won the last match in Gibraltar 6-1 but Gurney easily won the only TV meeting in Dublin 16, West having the old beat Phil then go out next round ├╝berbok go against him. Price/Cullen if I recall rightly was the closest match at the bookies (let's check, I do, it's a flip and only two or three more are as close as 1/2 for the favourite), they've split their series this year but both went to deciders, Price nicking the semi in Austria where he lost to Clayton in the final. If it stays close will the injury become a factor?

Anderson/Bunting has the potential to be good if we get good Bunting show up, Ando's had a bit of time off so it's always hard to call how he'll play, but despite them seemingly playing every week in the first two years after Bunting moved over, including Anderson winning 13-8 at Blackpool, they've not met since 2015. Barney/Anderson is an even tougher one, with Raymond playing even less than Gary does to the point where he's now dropped out of the FRH top 20, he's won the last four head to head including at the last worlds and Grand Prix but is only 6-5 all time.

Wright/Klaasen is first up in the bottom half and this seems like the worst possible draw for Jelle, he really, really needed to find someone who'll take legs off so that he has a chance when he inevitably throws duds himself, that Wright's on an 11 game winning streak against the Cobra is ominous. Huybrechts/Henderson could be good, both liking a 180 and both capable of widely varying outcomes, they've never played on TV but Hendo has a 9-3 head to head lead, including six from the last seven.

Whitlock/North could be one to miss, Simon's not been doing that great statistically all year, while North was the last man in. North won their first two meetings last year but then went out pretty easily in round two in Dublin. Wade/Wattimena could go any way really, if Jermaine shows up then he could grab a lead, if we get the Jermaine doing a bunch of legs needing six visits to win, then Wade could just do Wade things and get 8-2 up at the second break or something like that. Wade's got a 2-1 lead but it's their first meeting that isn't on the floor.

Suljovic/Beaton was looking like it could have been a bit one sided, but Steve's got a little bit of form back of late. Then again, Mensur did get another Euro Tour win recently. Their head to head record is a bit shocking - while most of it is back nearly a decade ago from the days when they had Pro Tour events on the continent, Beaton leads 8-0! The winner will play one from White/Hopp, this looks like a good spot for White to make a run and push for a Premier League place in this match between players with ranking titles to their name this season, that said, before last weekend White had never beaten Hopp, losing their first five meetings, and how Hopp will react in his first major after finally winning a title remains to be seen.

The remaining section has Cross/King, with King getting his first title in years recently, giving him the same number this season as Cross, but Rob's quietly been putting together good numbers without getting quite the results to show for it, so I'd have thought that Cross should outlast the guy he beat to win his first main tour title. Then again, King's won the two matches they've played at the highest level they've met (the European Tour), including the one in Denmark just two weeks ago. Last match is Webster/Lennon, Steve's managed to battle to the level where he can get in these things, so he's not under immediate pressure to win stuff to maintain a ranking, whereas Webster's just got into the seedings and could do with a run if possible. The market has this pretty close, and if they've met before, it's only the once and dartsdatabase can't find a thing.

Over the next week I'll start doing some proper previews, rework the master computer to calculate Matchplay-length matches, use those projections to get some bink the whole thing percentages, all the usual stuff. We've only got some meaningless World Series stuff which we can safely ignore (the important bit of Jeff Smith qualifying for the worlds aside), and I've got the day after the semi final off which I can put to good use for that. Be back soon.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Matchplay field - what's being defended

It's of interest to some people I guess, while the FRH rankings have everyone defending, at most, four grand due to their sliding scale compared to the PDC good for two years then drop off a cliff, it may be useful for some to see what's at stake, so here we go in order of qualification:

Michael van Gerwen - title (100k)
Peter Wright - QF (17.5k)
Rob Cross - DNP
Gary Anderson - SF (27k)
Daryl Gurney - L32 (6k)
Mensur Suljovic - L16 (10k)
Simon Whitlock - L32 (6k)
Dave Chisnall - QF (17.5k)
Michael Smith - L16 (10k)
James Wade - L32 (6k)
Ian White - L16 (10k)
Gerwyn Price - L16 (10k)
Raymond van Barneveld - L32 (6k)
Darren Webster - DNP
Kim Huybrechts - L32 (6k)
Adrian Lewis - SF (27k)

Jonny Clayton - DNP
Joe Cullen - L32 (6k)
Stephen Bunting - L32 (6k)
Max Hopp - DNP
Mervyn King - QF (17.5k)
Jermaine Wattimena - DNP
Steve West - DNP
Steve Beaton - QF (17.5k)
Kyle Anderson - L16 (10k)
James Wilson - DNP
John Henderson - DNP
Keegan Brown - DNP
Jelle Klaasen - L32 (6k)
Steve Lennon - DNP
Jeffrey de Zwaan - DNP
Richard North - DNP

So only 20 players are actually defending cash, that's a fair bit of churn. Those that aren't here to defend, in FRH ranking order, are Phil Taylor (50k), Alan Norris (6k), Benito van de Pas (6k), Justin Pipe (6k), Robert Thornton (10k), Vincent van der Voort (6k), Brendan Dolan (10k), Mark Webster (6k), Josh Payne (6k), Robbie Green (6k), Jamie Caven (6k) and Terry Jenkins (10k). The highest ranked players in the FRH rankings that aren't on that list are Reyes, van den Bergh, Dobey and Dekker, nobody else is above the lowest ranked player (de Zwaan) in those rankings.

Draw should be out on Wednesday, so given the PDC's notoriety for delaying such things, I'll be back at the weekend with initial thoughts, and later, previews.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Hamburg review - the resurgence of Irish darts

So van Gerwen won again, not too much of a surprise, White had half a chance at the upset if he could have timed a twelve dart leg perfectly in leg 10, but the 100-140-137 which would have set him up beautifully for a 124 stab was sadly preceded by a 24, so van Gerwen was able to kill things off. Willie O'Connor was the beaten finalist, and let's have a think about what the Irish, from both sides of the border, have done in the last twelve months. Daryl Gurney won a major title, got into the Premier League, and wasn't far off making the playoffs. Mickey Mansell has won a Pro Tour title. Steve Lennon and now Willie O'Connor have made European Tour finals. Brendan Dolan is showing signs that he may be able to resurrect his career, with decent showings indicating that he should at least be able to get back to the worlds, if nothing else. Further down the pecking order Jason Cullen's managed to win on the Challenge Tour and gain experience at the full PDC level that way. Killian Heffernan looked like a very useful prospect in the BDO youth and hopefully we will see him in Development Tour events sooner rather than later. Kyle McKinstry has been looking competent on the BDO side, and Nathan Rafferty knocked Peter Wright out of the UK Open, has won on the Development Tour and will certainly be one to watch out for.

Andy Boulton managed to edge out Gerwyn Price, don't know how, he seems to have had every opponent simply buckle and let him win easy legs until he ran into O'Connor, while Stephen Bunting was the other semi finalist and must be getting confidence from keeping putting runs together, even if he isn't getting over the line in them.

Matchplay field is now determined, Richard North's got to have been thinking about putting a few quid on O'Connor in the final as insurance, but he's there, as are Lennon, de Zwaan and Klaasen. Seedings look like the draw will be (assuming all seeds win) van Gerwen/Lewis (oh wow), Chisnall/Smith, Anderson/van Barneveld, Gurney/Price, Wright/Huybrechts, Whitlock/Wade, Cross/Webster and Suljovic/White. That van Gerwen half is ridiculously stacked, it's unbelievable. If van Gerwen wins it back he'll definitely have earned it.

New FRH rankings:

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

Barney will almost certainly be out of the top 20 come the Matchplay as Bunting is less than 200 points behind him and has actually played ranking darts matches in the last three months. Klaasen's stopped the rot and passes Jamie Lewis for #24, Pipe's back in the top 30 over Wattimena (for now), while O'Connor gets himself just one place outside the top 50. Boulton's just in the top 75, Lowe is in the top 110 and chasing down current #100 Adam Hunt who's less than 2000 points ahead, Rowley's up in the top 120 and Darius Labanauskas is your #128, and if we had a big tournament seeded via FRH rankings, would see him play MvG in round one. That'd be a fun one.

We've now got a bit of downtime before the Matchplay. It's the Vegas event next weekend, which'll be interesting for the US readers and could give some hints as to who's doing alright there (I can't remember if the new PDC worlds setup means someone can directly qualify through the various events this week, we'll see), then it's Shanghai the week after. I'm very, very tempted to run a Matchplay fantasy comp where you might be able to win some tat, I'll see after I've got various World Cup commitments out of the way. Stay tuned!

Hamburg quarter finals

Lowe couldn't get it done, no real complaints there, Price showed up and for an underdog pick to win you usually need some combination of the favourite not playing quite as well as they can, nothing you can really do when they do hit their stride. Klaasen looked really bad after having a promising day one and two, the Pipe/Bunting quarter was a little bit weird but nothing incredibly strange, the rest seemed to go as expected.

I posted up projections on Twitter earlier - 0.1u White 5/1 looks to be automatic, he's at the level right now where he clearly wins this more than one time in six, the projections get it at nearly one time in three with van Gerwen being the 68/32 favourite, White's done it before at this stage, heck, the last two times they've met in Europe it's been the quarters and White's won both. Bunting/Pipe looks to be priced about right, Bunting's 4/6 and I've got him in the low sixties at 63/37, so nothing to rush to the bookmakers with here. Price, as mentioned, looked good against Lowe, while Boulton advanced without needing to do a thing against a poor Jelle Klaasen who was averaging sub-80. Boulton did have another nice twelve darter to win it and added another couple in fifteen or less, but it's still worse than Price did and nothing really threatening. I've got Price over 70% for this, 2/5 or 4/11 or there abouts looks like it would be a better line than it is, I'm not sure that 4/9 is really enough, I don't know when Price got his injury but it looks like it was after Gibraltar, since then we've not seen how it will react to two games in a day. Enough to avoid it. Last game looks like a good O'Connor value bet, 0.25u O'Connor 13/5, while the model has been underrating Suljovic for a long time, it's getting O'Connor up at nearly 40% to win, he doesn't need anywhere near that much for this to be value. Mensur looked good earlier, but even taking that into account I think we still need to bet this one.

Hamburg day 3 - so close!

Marijanovic gave us a decent sweat, didn't he? Getting a match dart and everything after getting into a 4-2 lead, got to say fair play to Gurney for slotting in an 11 dart leg against the throw where it counts to make it 4-4. Elsewhere, van Gerwen allegedly hit a nine dart leg, White beat Hopp as you would expect, while Lowe missed one dart to end it at 5-4, meaning that he'd have to survive three match darts against Clayton, but did so, so the end result for yesterday is pretty much bang on break even, give or take a hundredth of a unit. Looked a lot better than it did after Thornton won the decider against Wilson (who if he could have killed the last leg in fifteen darts, would have won), Cullen beat Schindler in what looked like an awful game and then Huybrechts edged out Dobey to critically eliminate Norris from the Matchplay. The qualifiers for that are set unless we get a really, really weird champion here to knock Richard North from the last Pro Tour spot, it's been calculated by Burton already so read his Twitter if you want to see more including the seeding situation, I won't repeat it here.

Of the other people that advanced, again, nobody was really killing it apart from MvG, O'Connor looked good again in rallying to beat Rob Cross from 4-2 down with four straight legs, Klaasen looked good in places to eliminate Smith, other than that, I don't know. Rowley looked alright in upsetting King I guess? Bottom half is wide open anyway.

Today's games - van Gerwen/Thornton's about the same price as van Gerwen/Joyce was yesterday, read what you like into what that says about Thornton (or, for that matter, Joyce). This should be routine but I can't see any solid value.

White/Webster is one we've seen three times on the floor this year and White leads 2-1 (it's 7-1 overall), for some reason I thought they'd met in Europe recently, I guess not. White's about a 60/40 favourite which is exactly where the model has things, so let's move on. This is in match and hence draw order, so whoever against van Gerwen in the quarters should be live and maybe worth a tiny punt.

Cullen/Pipe is seen at around 65/35 on the market, there may be tiny value on Joe (I'm getting him at winning a fraction more than two out of three), but that he got dragged into multiple comedy legs yesterday is a worry, he won those but might not today if it repeats. Watch him just roll Pipe 6-1 with all legs in fifteen darts now.

Gurney/Bunting will play the winner of that one after Daryl edged out Marijanovic as detailed above, while Bunting also went the distance with Labanauskas, just about having the better quality and getting a 14 dart kill on throw in the last when it mattered, but that wasn't a game for the ages. This is priced fairly close, Gurney 8/13 and Bunting the reverse, that may be slightly undervaluing Superchin but not by enough for me to start betting him. If you want an acca for fun then you could do worse I guess.

Klaasen/Boulton starts the second half after Jelle eliminated Michael Smith, while Boulton beat Steve Beaton without having to win more than one leg within fifteen darts to do so (a twelve darter with a 121 bull finish in the tenth leg to win it to be fair). It's a big chance for both of these, the market seems to have quite a lot of vig on it, so while betting on Klaasen would be horrible, going on Boulton isn't appealing either. If money comes in on Klaasen and Boulton drifts to 15/8, 2/1 say then go ahead, but right now there's not enough edge to start punting on someone who's won just two out of twelve legs in a par score against a classier player who looks to be trending upwards.

Lowe/Price - will we have the hat trick of bets? Price wasn't massively troubled by Langendorf, but both then and in midweek hasn't thrown anything hugely threatening. While it's working, keep doing it - 0.25u Lowe 23/10, this seems to be another 60/40 or so game ignoring any form/injury issues, so I think this looks good.

Suljovic/Rowley is obviously the second most one sided game on the market with Mensur at around 1/5, there's a fair bit of vig in this market again, not even being able to get 4/1 on Rowley, who you would think could just be happy to reach this stage. Don't want to get into psychology when we can get into numbers, I'm getting Rowley just short of 25%, so if there was value then it'd be here, but it's nowhere near enough to consider a bet.

O'Connor/Huybrechts is the last game of the afternoon, Willie's been one of the stand out players so far, and the market's respecting him, making this around 55/45 in favour of the Belgian. I also have Kim as a small favourite, it's even smaller than the market suggests, so while there's a good argument to make that we should bet O'Connor at 13/10 when the model's giving him about a 47% shot and he's on form, Huybrechts is one of those where he may see that there's a very good chance to make a final here and up his game.

That's just the one bet. It's a bit sparse but sometimes there's just nothing there to be interested in. Should be back for quarter final tips, I plan on watching Spain/Russia at home so should be able to shove the afternoon session into the computer, look at the odds and give some quick analysis. May rework the master computer to make it more efficient, I also intend on updating the Second Division Darts page right now.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Hamburg day two

Day one was a bit poor, wasn't it? Seemed to be so, so many games where neither player was able to hit any sort of consistent standard, with less than 45% of legs being won in a par of fifteen darts and more than 20 legs dragging out into a seventh visit. I don't think the seeds have a great deal to worry about today, unless they're playing O'Connor who did decent (then again he's got Cross, so maybe not), Jelle looked alright but he's got Michael Smith, should be a good one if Klaasen can keep that up, Lowe did pretty well against Brown who slotted in two twelve dart legs, and in general the domestic qualifiers weren't bad. All four bets won, not sure how that happened but it's cleaned some of what was lost in Copenhagen, nice with the Lowe punt to be on the right side of a 6-5 result. It's all a long game.

Sixteen matches today, a lot of the unseeded players will need to step up their games, let's see what we've got:

Whitlock/Pipe - Not going to be rushing to watch this one, Whitlock had a good run last time out while Pipe wasn't impressive against van der Voort, this should be a comfortable Whitlock win, the model has it nearly 70/30, the market has it close to exactly the same so no betting interest either.

Clayton/Lowe - Clayton's had a few interesting results that you might not have expected of late, Lowe came through a decent encounter yesterday and you'll know I've highlighted him as an underrated player. Clayton's a step up in class, but I think he's got chances and while I project Clayton to win, it's not by much and it's not by anywhere near as much as the bookies think - 0.25u Lowe 2/1, last three tournaments Clayton's gone out to Yordi Meeuwisse, Jarred Cole and Darius Labanauskas, that's not really elite competition so who's to say Lowe can't get the job done?

Price/Langendorf - Very surprised that Maik was able to dispose of Barnard so comfortably, but he did, looking at the averages I'd guess Barnard was just having an off day. Price should win this very comfortably, around five times out of six - 4/11 is kind of tempting but with the injury I'm reluctant to go in to be honest.

King/Rowley - Mervyn's hitting some form (although, oddly his tournament win actually lowered his season long points per turn) and ought to have too much class for Rowley, who was able to get a lead against Johnson and hold it. King's even shorter than Price is, and has just over a 75% shot to take this one. Odds are 3/10 which isn't of interest to anyone.

Wilson/Thornton - James nicked the last seed when Wright withdrew, and comes in against Thornton, who beat Eidams in a turgid game which saw four really crap legs and only one good leg from ten between them. I've got Wilson, give or take a fraction of a fraction of a percent, winning this two times out of three, which seems about right given how their seasons have gone, the bookies have it closer, I don't know why, 0.25u Wilson 8/13

Cullen/Schindler - Should be an exciting one, Martin got past Robbe with a professional display, Cullen's won a couple of boards on the Pro Tour recently hinting that he might be getting it a bit back there as well as just in Europe, this is a bit different to the previous one where I think it should be a closer line than the market suggests and we should go with the underdog, Martin winning would surprise nobody and I've got him well above 40% (although still with Cullen as the favourite), so 0.25u Schindler 15/8

Huybrechts/Dobey - Enormous game, but not for either of these, it's the whole Norris thing we've been through before. Dobey looked average against Bain who put up no real resistance, bookies basically can't split them, there's probably a little bit of value on Chris here, who I've got at just above 55%, 0.25u Dobey 21/20

Webster/Humphries - Luke got away with one against Huybrechts, who missed a match dart, and will absolutely need to improve against Webster, fresh off a Pro Tour final. Bookies have this fairly close, Darren at 4/7, the model hints at a Humphries bet with around a 40% shot, but I wasn't convinced by his display yesterday and can just see Darren closing this one out easily enough.

Beaton/Boulton - Andy got through Cristo Reyes despite only throwing one fifteen dart leg, and comes in against an in form Steve Beaton, who made two semi finals in midweek. The market isn't that impressed by that feat from the Adonis, only giving him around a 60% win chance, then again the model says the same so let's move on. Could end up being a throw the model out of the window and look at form game in retrospect.

White/Hopp - The model absolutely loves White, and hates Hopp, so it should be no surprise that it throws out Ian as a huge favourite, over 70%. The market has this way too close, it's not like Ian didn't win a tournament this week - 0.5u White 8/11

Suljovic/Koltsov - Boris did alright in beating Owen yesterday, half his legs in five visits and the rest in six, and should provide interesting opposition for Mensur, but the Austrian should be too strong. Not feeling the value with Mensur being shorter than 1/4 everywhere and a win shot only in the mid 80% range, could be one for an accumulator just to boost the price but nothing of real interest outside of that.

van Gerwen/Joyce - I don't know whether Joyce at 9/1 is recognising that Ryan can actually play good darts or not, everyone's so hugely odds against versus Michael. It might be worth a micro punt as I think he can get home around one time in six according to the stats, but it's hard to know how Joyce will react to an evening session on stage against the world number one. Suljovic disposed of him with little trouble last time so it could easily be the same story, if Joyce was more convincing against Wilson then I might have risked it, but just one leg in fifteen darts leans me to say no.

Gurney/Marijanovic - Gurney's solidly odds on, the market thinking it's about 80/20, I've got it a little bit closer at 75/25. Taking 4/1 on a 3/1 shot is a bit of thin value, but if I factor in that Robert looked very solid in dealing with an in form Jermaine Wattimena and had two solid displays in midweek, then I'll take a small stab - 0.1u Marijanovic 4/1

Cross/O'Connor - Willie played really well yesterday but this is a step up and a big ask. It's about the same line as the previous game, but I've got Cross with a slightly higher chance of winning, as such I don't think there's even tiny value on Willie against the world champion.

Bunting/Labanauskas - An intriguing match up late in the session, it's a winnable game for both with the bookies rating it as being close as well, Bunting a small favourite. I've got Bunting as a slightly larger favourite, but it's not by much (58% versus 4/5 odds), and Darius only has around 60 won legs in the database, so I'll just avoid this one.

Smith/Klaasen - Another good one to finish on, Klaasen now looks to be into the Matchplay barring some really weird backdoor shenanigans, so should have a bit of freedom. He looked alright yesterday, but will need to produce the same again to stand a chance. Market thinks about 75/25, I think about the same.

That's your lot for today, back later on or early tomorrow with round three.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Hamburg bets

Very quickly now that lines are up:

0.25u Lowe 9/4, there's a bit of an experience gap on the stage and Keegan can throw the sort of stuff that'll leave Lowe no chance, but Keegan's had stages of throwing junk as well and Lowe can play a bit

0.5u Dobey 2/5, this is kind of the same level of optimism we had last week when Dobey cocked it up against Lynn so hopefully Bain doesn't show the same sort of outlier (which he can do) that Lynn did last weekend

0.25u Klaasen 1/2, there's a bit of an edge here and I think Jelle will be keyed in given the potential importance of this game for major qualifications, sure it could go wrong but it's not like Dragutin is mister consistent either

0.25u Humphries 5/8, think this should be nearer 1/2 and Huybrechts hasn't been convincing for a long time now

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Hamburg round one preview

All the qualifiers are in the book - some surprising omissions with Clemens not getting one of the six (!) home nation berths after Wright and Jim Brown withdrew, while there's a few high profile absentees from the European side such as van den Bergh, van de Pas, Dekker, Kist and de Zwaan, but it's a pretty high quality set of qualifiers all round so I don't think there's anything too controversial, there's only so many spots available. Let's look at what's going on in running order, numbers in brackets indicate current FRH rankings:

Robert Owen (55)/Boris Koltsov (200) - Owen, UK Open aside, has been pretty quiet this season, not reaching a single quarter final. Koltsov's been mixing the PDC and the BDO, getting close in three previous qualifiers before getting through this one, and I'm sure I've seen him listed in one of those asinine "who has the best average in a five leg sample this season" list. He won the Finnish Open last month but who knows what the quality will be like. It looks like it's his debut so it'll be interesting to see how he does. FRH master computer prediction: Owen 74/26

Jason Lowe (117)/Keegan Brown (38) - Lowe's a player I'm interested in seeing, it's the first one he's qualified for this season, but he's made two main tour semi finals this year and his Challenge Tour form looks good, his overall points per turn is up at a very respectable 91 this season in my database which is a point higher than Keegan's. Brown's had a quarter in Europe this year, and while his Matchplay status looks to be secure, he'll certainly want to put some more cash in the bank for later majors, currently sitting around the cutoff for a few. FRH master computer prediction: Brown 52/48

Darren Johnson (79)/Paul Rowley (121) - Johnson would have made the worlds last year under the current format, he's been around for years and is no mug, although 2018's been pretty sparse for him, not making many board finals at all on the floor. Rowley is having a second punt in Europe this year after easily being beaten by Steve West last time, and if anything his record is worse than Johnson's this season, this may not be the greatest game to watch. FRH master computer prediction: Johnson 56/44

Willie O'Connor (56)/Martin Atkins (Wigan, 187) - O'Connor's not actually had a bad record of winning through to these, although he's gone 0-3 to date and aside from one quarter final run has a fairly average Pro Tour record this season. Atkins has a win and a final on the Challenge Tour which is allowing him to play a lot more events than he might have thought, but is finding the step up to full PDC level a bit tough and was whitewashed on his previous Euro appearance. FRH master computer prediction: O'Connor 74/26

Maik Langendorf (130)/Michael Barnard (76) - Langendorf's made his third event of the season, losing in the opening game both previous times, but showed with a last 16 run in a UK Open qualifier that he's decent on his day. Barnard's having a remarkable season, both on the Challenge and main tours, with a huge amount of cashes showing consistent form, and I can't see a first round exit here either. FRH master computer prediction: Barnard 61/39

Vincent van der Voort (36)/Justin Pipe (31) - Best match up so far between two veteran players just hanging around on the fringes of the world's top 32, who'll be looking to keep that status. van der Voort has an outside chance of the Matchplay but needs a Sunday evening session as a minimum, although he doesn't have a bad section of the draw to do that... Pipe has been anonymous all year following his Players Championship Finals semi at the end of last season and will surely just be hoping that the clash of styles works in his favour. FRH master computer prediction: van der Voort 59/41

Martin Schindler (53)/Mario Robbe (154) - Schindler has been putting some good numbers on the board but has yet to make the real deep run to take the next step, at least at the senior level, that his play warrants. Maybe this is the weekend? Could get easier second round draws than Cullen but you're going to have to beat good players to make a run at some point. Robbe hasn't done anything of note at all since winning his tour card, and is on a pretty bad string of first round exits, something which seems like it should continue here. FRH master computer prediction: Schindler 74/26

Robert Marijanovic (119)/Jermaine Wattimena (30) - As mentioned in a previous post, Marijanovic had a pretty good weekend last time out, and is certainly trending in the right direction, but he's got arguably the toughest first round draw (Klaasen's ranked higher in the FRH rankings, but I know who I'd rather face tomorrow) in Wattimena, who is knocking on the door of making a big breakthrough and is preparing for a Matchplay debut next month. FRH master computer prediction: Wattimena 58/42

Jamie Bain (111)/Chris Dobey (37) - The evening session kicks off with Bain, who put together some great performances last year but hasn't really done a thing this year, against Dobey, who if he can get really deep here still has an outside chance of the Matchplay, much like last year he's just the wrong side of so many major cutoff lines. He's certainly trending the right way and has a final under his belt on the floor already this year. FRH master computer prediction: Dobey 91/9

Robert Thornton (34)/Rene Eidams (135) - Thornton's struggling to remain relevant on the world stage - he's not close to the Matchplay, isn't anywhere near the seeds for Pro Tour events and is in real danger of dropping out of the top 32. A good run at some point is needed and he might have a chance against Eidams, who didn't really get close in Q-School, although he did make the UK Open and got through the first round the previous time he qualified. FRH master computer prediction: Thornton 65/35

Mike de Decker (95)/Darius Labanauskas (131) - de Decker couldn't retain or regain his tour card so has been rebuilding on the Challenge and Development tours with nothing spectacular to show for it, although this'll be his third European event of the season. Labanauskas made the last day last weekend and will look to build on this as he has a realistic chance of making the European Championship, while he also continues to have successes on the BDO circuit. Should be a good game this. FRH master computer prediction: Labanauskas 62/38

Jelle Klaasen (25)/Dragutin Horvat (120) - Klaasen's back amongst the qualifiers, and it looks like getting here has got him just over the line for the Matchplay as things stand, although every little bit could potentially help for that. Horvat is in his fourth event for the season and has gone out in the first round twice with a solitary last leg win over Alcinas to his name. He didn't try any UK Open qualifiers so data's a bit limited, but Jelle should have enough here. FRH master computer prediction: Klaasen 76/24

Mark Wilson (145)/Ryan Joyce (74) - Wilson's a new tour card holder but has yet to do anything of note on the tour so far, he did make one board final earlier this month, and qualified for one previous event where he was easily defeated by Cameron Menzies, but that's about it. Joyce should be a familiar name as he continues to push up the rankings with excellent floor form, it's not out of the question that he can make the Grand Prix at this rate. FRH master computer prediction: Joyce 69/31

Cristo Reyes (33)/Andy Boulton (91) - Reyes looked like he was getting back to his best against Darren Webster with a brilliant start, of course he then lost the match, he's getting incredibly frustrating to read. Boulton made the final day in Gibraltar and isn't playing too badly when we've got tracked games, but I'd have thought he'd have done a bit more on the Challenge Tour than he has, still, this could be close. FRH master computer prediction: Reyes 54/46

Dirk van Duijvenbode (81)/Max Hopp (40) - Should be quick, should be exciting, if Dirk shows, which he hasn't done too often apart from a real good weekend earlier this month and in the UK Open, could be fairly even. Hopp we know all about, he's made the breakthrough in getting the win, but needs to back it up - if not in wins, at least in consistent runs to latter stages of these events. FRH master computer prediction: van Duijvenbode 59/41

Luke Humphries (89)/Ronny Huybrechts (52) - Luke's been decent in the qualifiers for here, but the regular week in week out grind of the tour is still something he's getting used to, but if he keeps doing OK here he could be in the running to qualify for the main event at the end of the year. Ronny's been really poor this year - go look at his dartsdatabase record, that's an incredible run of first round defeats and I can only see a further slide down the rankings from here. FRH master computer prediction: Humphries 69/31

Will hopefully get some bets up when there's a bit more bookmaker coverage in the morning, but it'll probably be a very quick "these are the bets done" type of post. Keep an eye out.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Quick Players Championship post

King and White got the wins over yesterday and today. White was to be expected a bit, he's been playing well all year - King not so much, but he managed to get the job done. Wade and Darren Webster were the beaten finalists, while Adie made the semis today hitting a nine as part of seven twelve or better dart legs, coupled with his recent European runs, he's getting some form back. That's put him above Norris, whose hopes of making the Matchplay are reliant on Huybrechts losing his opening game in Hamburg. That may well be possible as he went 0/2 this week against Mark Webster and Kevin Burness, but still, it's out of his hands now. Burton's done some brief numbers and it looks like 27 places are locked up, so it'll be a fair bit of luck of the draw.

Beaton made two semi finals, a good return to form after a quiet 2018 so far, Mark Webster made a semi which was a bit of an easy run to be fair, Dolan made the quarters today beating Cross (Cross and van Gerwen in one week is nice), Noppert made a quarter today but has probably left too much to do to make Blackpool, while from outside the FRH top 100, Yordi Meeuwisse, Robert Marijanovic, Jarred Cole and Bradley Brooks all pulled in over two grand (the last two with quarter final runs).

Quick FRH top 20:

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

King was as high as 16 but dropped today after losing his board final, he's less than 100 points behind Cullen and 1000 behind Lewis. White's up into the top 10, Norris leaves the top 20 and could easily plummet a lot by the end of next month if Kim can win one game this weekend. What are the DRA rules on Norris betting on whoever Kim plays as insurance? I think we should be told.

Monday, 25 June 2018

It gets busy from here

Another two 6-5 defeats in the last sixteen, you couldn't make it up really. At least Cullen won to mitigate the damage, but we still drop a couple of units overall. Over the course of the season we're still nicely up, but it's always a bit infuriating when so many games on a single weekend went to last leg deciders.

Mensur grabbed his second European Tour title as he rounds into form ahead of the Matchplay. Simon Whitlock was perhaps a surprise finalist, solely based on what he's been doing this season, which isn't a great deal, but he hit some good darts at key times. Alan Norris must be thanking Adrian Lewis for not pinning the match dart he had against Suljovic, pinning that would have put Adie ahead of him in the main Order of Merit (and as he'd probably have been a favourite against Whitlock, well ahead), leaving him reliant on Kim Huybrechts not scoring a bag and a half more than him these next two days (or just getting one win in Hamburg) to make the Matchplay.

Elsewhere, Brendan Dolan beat Michael van Gerwen, the number one really didn't seem on at all this weekend, Steve West was the last semi finalist and it really wouldn't surprise me if he broke one and took it all the way these next two days. van Gerwen and Suljovic are missing it, so anything's possible. Decent run from Labanauskas as well, while we've known he's a great player for a while now, it's good to see that he's putting points on the board in the PDC, and with qualification for the next two on the board, who's to say he won't make the European Championship or even the worlds?

Key, key couple of days now. Norris really needs to put some money in the bank, although looking at things, his ranking's dropped enough that he'd be on the same board as Cross barring more withdrawals tomorrow, so that may be a bit difficult. Keegan Brown and Jeffrey de Zwaan could do with what they can get, although the former is in Hamburg and the latter could still qualify so they've got that chance as a backup, Steve Lennon and Richard North don't, Lennon being just above the line and North below, so they've got to do something. Klaasen sandwiches the two as the last man in right now, don't know if he'll make Hamburg but just a mincash there would potentially be pivotal. Further down, van der Voort's three grand below Klaasen with a similar situation re: the European Tour, Lewis and Payne are a bit behind but don't have that backup so need a big run, realistically a final, Dobey is just 500 quid behind them but could add money on the European Tour. Noppert and Meulenkamp are the only other realistic players who could force their way in. Cadby's still not back in the UK so he's out.

FRH rankings after Copenhagen are as follows:

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

Yep, Norris is slumping a lot. King's only about a couple of grand away from getting back in and there's plenty of others snapping at his heels.

West didn't gain any spots with his semi final as he was on a bit of an island but is closing in on the top 25, Wattimena's just nipped into the top 30 thanks to Pipe's money degrading faster, Dolan's now safely in the top 50 by nearly ten grand, wile Evans is just outside the top 60, Joyce is now in the top 80, Razma is the last man out of the top 100 and Labanauskas is at #135.

May post something up tomorrow if there's anything really interesting that develops from the Pro Tour, but I'll likely spend a bunch of my time just recording the stats ahead of Hamburg. With another Pro Tour event the day after and then England on the Thursday my time will be limited so I've got to get the scores down when I can.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Copenhagen day 3 - for Evans' sake

Hmm, that didn't go quite to plan. Obviously you'll see no evening session report, Germany game was too exciting to pay attention.

Evans > Gurney got us out of a hole a bit, put us break even on our underdog shots but then dropped three quarters of a unit on our coinflips. Little bit annoying how they went, Henderson having darts to break and make it 5-1 is basically a won position, Smith/Lewis pretty much just came down to who won the bull, every leg going with throw, but it's a shame Smith couldn't convert either of his nine dart chances in the last two legs - the second one in particular to break in the decider, getting a bounceout at the worst possible time. He'll normally take it given two match darts. Of the others, Razma and Jacques were basically the same story, get a 3-1 lead and have your scoring go to pieces, Joyce really had no chance after Mensur was close to unplayable in getting a 4-0 lead, maybe if he holds in the sixth it might have been a different story but he'd have still needed two breaks. White/West was just a case of neither player showing up and West took his chances.

Last 16 coming up in around an hour or so - in case you didn't notice there's a rather important association football game going on today so there'll be no updates until after the event. It's a pretty strong lineup left, I particularly wouldn't want to call the non-MvG half, all of the non-seeds that have got through seem to be clumped into van Gerwen's quarter, it's basically just Evans (who's in van Gerwen's half anyway), and Lewis (who doesn't really count) who haven't. Let's take a look in running order:

Wright/Price - Watching his game yesterday, Price didn't seem too overly bothered with his injury, but you never know how these sorts of things will affect a player so I'm avoiding this. The model's indicating a bit of Price value (it thinks he's got nearly a 40% shot) but I kind of feel that these sorts of problems get amplified when you're losing/in a trickier spot, which against Klaasen he wasn't, but against Wright he probably will be. If he was 100% I'd bet but it wouldn't be can't miss value. It's up to you if you think he's alright. If you do, go right ahead. I won't.

Suljovic/Webster - God knows how Darren got through that last match. Suljovic played at a pretty high level as well to open up what ended up being an unassailable lead. Reyes played better and still chucked it away. Model literally cannot separate them - the win chances of both are within 0.1% of each other, that's how evenly it reckons they are. Speed of killing legs is within a percentage point of each other for four, five and six visits. Suljovic is scoring a lot higher in the legs he's not winning (it's a near six point difference) but I think there's value here - 0.25u Webster 15/8.

Cullen/Wade - Joe averaged really well yesterday against Razma, while Wade was made to work against Rusty Jake Rodriguez - it's one of those where if Cullen plays as he did yesterday, he won't give Wade a chance to do, as the comms say, "what Wade does". The analysis is calling this one to be extremely close as well - Cullen a very small favourite, nearly 51%! And he's priced as the underdog? That's seems like good value, 0.25u Cullen 6/4.

Lewis/Bunting - Two world champions collide, Adie serving out against Smith yesterday as Bunting came from behind against Jacques, a very solid three leg spurt to make it 5-3 being the difference. Bookies have this solidly in favour of Lewis at 8/15, which makes sense given he's showing signs of getting back to form and just beat someone who's a hell of a lot better than Bunting is, I don't think Lewis is enough of a favourite to bet on him. There's probably a little bit of value on Bunting but it's not as good as other games so I'll miss, he's the same price as Webster but getting 10% less chance of winning, so I'll pass this one up.

Cross/King - Mervyn had to outduel Max Hopp in a game that went the distance, needing to break in the tenth and then hold in the decider, while Cross needed to come from 5-3 down to beat Steve Beaton, where a better player might have nicked it (the two holds from Cross in the last three legs were in six visits, and Beaton couldn't get a dart at double in either). Cross is a big favourite at 1/4, I don't think there's enough value on King at 10/3, if it drifts any more have a small nibble on him if you want.

Evans/Whitlock - Ricky had a good start against Gurney, and where others might have buckled when Daryl threw a twelve to make it 3-3 on the Gurney throw, Evans rolled off the last three legs to take it with a near ton average. Whitlock got through Wattimena who didn't look like he was entirely on his game. Whitlock has not been averaging well all year, Evans has just beaten a much better player than Whitlock, the model has it evens, so let's go 0.25u Evans 2/1.

Labanauskas/West - I'd have assumed these would have played a bunch on the BDO circuit, but dartsdatabase can't find a head to head record, so at most they've played once, at least in what dartsdatabase can track. Another game that's priced around 2/1, West being the favourite, this is almost like a final given who they'd likely play in the last eight. This is a very similar bit of analysis to the Bunting game - Darius probably has about a 40% chance, but the sample I have on him is fairly limited, even when I factor in the BDO stats, some of which seemed pretty good but may not be too relevant here, plus West seems to be hitting some of his better form. Will avoid this one.

van Gerwen/Dolan - If you got on the Taylor +4.5, good on you - no idea what was going on in that first leg, but you can't argue with a twelve darter, which on throw on the European Tour is a guaranteed leg win. The line is priced as you would expect it to be, the model's giving Dolan a 12% shot so I'm not going to rush on to bet given we can't even get 10/1. Handicap isn't offering anything useful either.

So that's your lot - three underdog shots, let's see how they do.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Copenhagen day 2 afternoon session report

Something a bit different this afternoon, I thought I'd see what I could do in terms of an actual match report given the only football that's on is Belgium curbstomping Tunisia, so let's go:

Brendan Dolan 6-4 John Henderson - The first seed of the day fell after losing five straight legs from a 4-1 lead, Brendan punishing poor scoring with a great upturn in doubling in what otherwise was a fairly low quality encounter. Both the first two legs could have gone either way, with Dolan getting two darts in the first leg at D16 and D8 and one at the bull in the second, but Henderson cleaned up both on tops. John missed a dart at a badly obscured bull to finish a 91 checkout for a double break and Dolan narrowed the gap to one leg, but a second 180 and an 80 checkout allowed Henderson to consolidate at 3-1. Henderson would kick off the fifth leg with a third maximum, stealing the darts as Dolan couldn't score and leaving 164 after nine darts. Having a minimum of six darts to kill it, he wired tops for a fifteen darter, but returned to pin it after Dolan couldn't finish a big ask of 160. Desperately needing a break back, Dolan was gifted a chance at 80 after Henderson missed two darts to finish 68, and cleaned it up tidily to get things back to 4-2. Dolan's best leg of the match saw him leave tops after twelve, pinned at the first time of asking to put the pressure back on Henderson, which showed as Henderson started leg 8 badly and Dolan slammed in his first maximum. More poor scoring gave Dolan six darts to finish 132, he oddly went the bull route but was able to eventually pin D16 to level. Henderson's scoring looked like it had completely deserted him, and Dolan was able to clean up the last two legs under no pressure to complete the comeback and set up a probable last sixteen match against Michael van Gerwen.

Joe Cullen 6-3 Madars Razma - The Rockstar solidified a place in the top 16 of the FRH rankings with a great all round display to come from behind and defeat the Latvian, one of yesterday's stand out players. Cullen raced out of the blocks with a twelve darter, finishing 308 in six darts with a maximum and a 128 out. Razma couldn't finish 170 after a second maximum left Cullen on 79, but Cullen's dart at tops to break looked to clip the flight and Razma cleared up 51 to level. Razma then had a very good leg to leave 121 after nine darts, with Cullen out of range he didn't opt to go for the bull finish and set up D16, finishing it first dart to break. The break was consolidated with a bull finish on 83, Cullen waiting on 76 to break back. Good scoring from Cullen saw him hold comfortably, and could easily have been on a nine darter in the next leg, a bounce out and a Robin Hood seeing him start 120-120. A 140 then left him 121 after nine, having six darts to clean it up getting the break back on D16. A fourth maximum saw Cullen leave 90 after nine, but would need the second visit, a second Razma maximum to leave 33 not affecting Cullen as he hit tops for 4-3. Razma, needing to hold, couldn't leave a shot after twelve, allowing Cullen to just set up rather than go for a 167 out, and he did so for a fourth straight 13 dart leg. Razma had a half chance to extend the game, hitting outer bull for a 124, and Cullen finished 80 for a very impressive victory.

Gerwyn Price 6-3 Jelle Klaasen - The Welshman's achilles issue didn't seem to show as we saw some great spells with plenty of attempts at high outs and some great power scoring. Price didn't really start playing until midway through the second leg, a good spell to finish 343 in nine darts with a 107 out after Klaasen easily held in the opener. Price then missed a dart to break after a well timed 180 gave him a shot at 72, but he missed tops and then three more as he returned, Jelle able to finally take D8 to restore the lead for a 21 dart hold. Klaasen had a chance at bull for a 128 out and a break, but could only hit the 25 and Price hit D12 to level once more. Price had a good leg to leave tops after 12 darts, but Klaasen hit a partypiece 167 checkout to hold serve. Klaasen should have finally managed a break, but despite Price offering Jelle eighteen darts to do that, he could only get one dart at tops, which was missed and Price slotted in a 71 out to make it three a piece. The break finally came in leg 7 where Klaasen couldn't get a dart at double in five visits, and Price stepped in with a clinical two dart 89 finish. The scoring then went berzerk, Jelle starting with five perfect and he left 121 after nine, but Price had also hit a maximum and left 140 after the same. Tops-tops didn't work and Klaasen could only hit 25 looking for bull for the twelve darter, so Price was able to hold to 5-3. Price then started 177 looking to finish it there and then, and missed bull for a 170 and a twelve darter, Klaasen then just missed for a 161 of his own, Price then finishing on D12 to clinch a probable meeting with Peter Wright.

Darius Labanauskas 6-5 Johnny Clayton - The Ferret would be the second seed to fall as he was left to rue five missed match darts, as the Lithuanian qualifier came from 5-3 down to seal a last 16 spot and a tricky game against either Ian White or Steve West. Clayton was broken in the opening leg despite leaving tops after twelve, as he missed six darts at double allowing Labanauskas to pounce on D8. Clayton was able to break back with a fifteen dart leg, Darius not being able to hit a big treble in his last nine darts when in an alright spot after his first six. Clayton got the first hold on tops, but not before Labanauskas missed tops for a 120 out to restore his lead. Darius had the best leg of the match so far, firing in a maximum as well as a 126 out on the bull for a twelve darter. Clayton then started with five perfect darts as he went ahead 3-2 with a thirteen darter, and oddly went for the bull on 121 with Labanauskas nowhere in the sixth leg - he couldn't finish either of the two darts he got when he returned under pressure from a Labanauskas maximum, and the Lithuanian took the one dart at D18 he got to equalise. Heavy scoring including a fourth maximum saw Clayton leave a two darter after nine and he got his own four visit kill, and a 177 helped Clayton break in the eighth to nearly seal the game at 5-3 on throw. A good leg from Darius left him a double after 12, some bad Clayton counting meant he'd definitely return and he pinned D18 to get the break back, but despite missing tops for a 120 out, and then three badly shanked efforts the visit after, was allowed back for a D1-1-D1 finish after Clayton missed two for the match. Both players started the decider well, Clayton 100-140-100 but Darius went 140-180, although a 42 handed the initiative back to Clayton who set up D12 - Clayton would miss three more match darts and Labanauskas took out 80 in two darts to steal the victory.

James Wade 6-4 Rusty Jake Rodriguez - The Austrian showed some good play in a grind of a match which Wade just came through, the first eight legs going with throw before the Englishman was able to edge ahead for the first time. A blistering start from Rusty saw him open with a 180 and finish 138 to hold in fifteen darts, the next two also going with throw in low quality legs. Wade improved in the fourth to leave 85 after nine darts, eventually finishing off in five visits to make it 2-2. Wade then missed bull for a 121 to get a break and Rodriguez finished 97 on tops, a great last dart with the first attempt looking like it blocked most of the bed. A couple of six visit holds followed, Wade missing a dart at bull for a break in the seventh, before a poor Wade leg allowed Rodriguez in at 160, just missing tops for the big combination. At 4-4, Rodriguez opened up with a maximum, but couldn't clean up 124 with six darts, and Wade finally got the break with a last dart at tops to finish 80. That seemed to break Rusty, whose scoring disappeared, but he'd have needed something special as Wade finished on his trademark double 10 for a fourteen dart leg to clinch the match and a third round tie against Joe Cullen.

Darren Webster 6-5 Cristo Reyes - An incredible match saw Webster come from 4-2 down to clinch a decider as Reyes had one of the greatest spells this game has ever seen to open up that lead. Reyes started incredibly - seven perfect darts in the first leg, just pushing the eighth into treble seven and eventually finishing in eleven darts, and then got six perfect in the second leg, missing with the seventh but getting the next best in a ten darter on D16. Webster nearly replied with a twelve darter, missing D14 for a 121 out, but did return to get on the board. Reyes hit a fifth maximum in the next leg to leave 47 after nine, and pinned D16 for another eleven darter. Webster held easily as Reyes' scoring went to sleep for a leg and shut the commentators up about record averages but would still need to break Reyes at some point, but it wouldn't be the next leg as Reyes left tops after twelve, pinned easily with the first dart. Webster held and then both players missed a bunch of doubles in leg 8, Webster finally pinning D5 to get an unlikely scoreline of 4-4. Reyes missed one at tops and one at D10 to break but couldn't hit either, allowing Webster to kill 100 via tops-tops and take the lead for the first time. Webster put the pressure on by getting down to 53 after twelve darts, but missed two match darts as Reyes levelled. Another game to a decider and Webster started 180-100-140 and then with Reyes nowhere, just set up tops and finished in fourteen darts for a remarkable victory and a Sunday match up against either Mensur Suljovic or Ryan Joyce.

Simon Whitlock 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena - The former European Champion overcame the in form Dutchman, who the previous weekend had gone 12-1 to knock him out of both Pro Tour events. Whitlock opened up with a twelve dart hold including a maximum and a 103 checkout, but Wattimena equalised in eighteen darts, having no trouble with the Harrington switch to pin D9 last dart. Jermaine hit his first 180 of the game to steal the darts, but not leaving a shot after 221 gave Whitlock six darts to clean up 253, he couldn't do that but he'd get more chances as the leg descended into a doubling comedy show, Whitlock finally getting D10 after they missed eight at double combined. Whitlock grabbed the first break in the fourth as Wattimena couldn't hit shanghai on 20's, the Aussie taking out 76 in two darts. A solid fourteen darter with an 86 out saw Jermaine get things back on serve, but he wouldn't be able to have a good scoring visit as Whitlock nailed D16 to get another break and lead 4-2. A fourth maximum from Simon to leave 81 after nine darts put him in a great spot to get one away, but missed D13 for a twelve darter, and Wattimena, who himself had hit a 174 to open the leg, finished 104 to make it four straight breaks. Jermaine needed 110 to hold after an unfortunate dart on the previous visit hit an earlier dart and ended on the floor, and he couldn't find a treble, allowing Whitlock in for an 86 out to get one leg away from the win, which he got next up, a 180 to set up 64 with Wattimena nowhere, killing that final dart for a fifteen darter on D16. Whitlock moves on to face either Daryl Gurney or Ricky Evans, while Wattimena misses the chance to move into the FRH top 30 ahead of Justin Pipe.

Stephen Bunting 6-3 Peter Jacques - Not one for the record books, but the St Helens native came from 3-1 down to run five straight legs after Peter Jacques couldn't sustain what was a promising start. Jacques opened with a good leg, a couple of 140's and then a 145 setting up 36 after twelve darts, he couldn't get the kill but Bunting, way back on 126 after a poor scoring leg, could only get a dart at the bull, which he missed, allowing Peter to hit D2 and break in six visits. Steady scoring set Jacques up on 70 after twelve darts, he couldn't get there but was allowed to return for 2-0, hitting D10 for another seventeen dart leg. Bunting found some scoring and got on the board in the third, hitting D5 last dart having left himself on tops, but a first maximum of the match from Jacques gave him a huge lead in leg 4, being able to take out D16 for the best leg of the match so far in fourteen darts. Bunting's scoring was poor in leg five allowing Jacques to steal the darts, a 170 attempt from Bunting to stay in it failing on the second dart, but Jacques couldn't take out 84 on the bull. Bunting had a dart at D5 trying to kill 89 but wasn't close, then Jacques missed two darts for a second break and Bunting finally finished on D2 to lower the gap to one leg. Stephen had some OK scoring in leg six to leave 127 after nine darts, which he took out on D8 for a twelve darter and a level game. Stephen grabbed his first maximum in leg seven and followed up with 132 to set up D16 after twelve darts, finished under no real pressure from Jacques, whose scoring seemed to have dropped off, which continued into the eighth leg, not being able to leave a finish after twelve, part of eight straight visits of no more than 100. Bunting polished off 64 last dart to get the break and get to match point, and a 180 kickstarted an otherwise mediocre leg, having enough time to miss one at tops with Jacques well back in the high 200's, but three more misses gave Peter a real longshot at 158. Unsurprisingly it didn't go, and Bunting splits 10 and hits D4 to advance to face the winner of the Smith/Lewis tie where he'll likely need to improve to stay close.

Evening session starts in about two and a half hours, I may do similar for that session, I may not. Will see how things go.

Copenhagen day 2 bets

Bad day yesterday, purely down to Dobey - then again, Lynn killed four out of his five legs on throw in fifteen darts or less which is a pretty good standard which didn't leave Dobey much margin for error at all. Chris was able to hold his throw all but one time, that being the last leg where he threw eighteen darts, not one being at a double, which isn't going to cut it. Not going to complain about Mansell missing match darts as Jelle shouldn't have let him get those in the first place, running four straight legs to go from 1-3 to 5-3 before missing eight match darts of his own. O'Connor's was a deciding leg as well, it's amazing how, when 5-3 down, you go out in twelve darts, go out in fifteen with a 148 out, and then none of your first twelve darts in the decider hit a big treble. Oh well.

Elsewhere, don't know what was up with de Zwaan in getting bagelled by Razma with a 70-something average, the qualifiers actually did OK, Nilsson notably getting in another swingy match, leading 4-0 before missing three darts at D16 in the fifth and not getting another dart at double in the match, quite a few other matches went 6-4 or 6-5 so some decent value for the crowd.

Today the seeds come in, I've not yet had the time to put yesterday's into the master computer but let's see what it throws up in terms of bets:

Hendo/Dolan's listed as a flip, I've got it as about 60/40 to the Scot, Dolan got through a tough opponent in Schindler yesterday but didn't do anything to make me think he's playing miles better than his historical average, so 0.25u Henderson 10/11. Cullen/Razma's hugely in Cullen's favour, but I think Madars is live if he plays anything like he did yesterday. His win against de Zwaan isn't in the database but he's up at around a three in eight shot without that, so with the odds we're given it's a play, 0.25u Razma 5/2, I can't filter just on the Euro Tour where Cullen's doing generally better, but I'd rather have the bigger data set to work with. Price/Klaasen I'm not touching with Price's injury and Klaasen's swingy nature. Clayton/Labanauskas should be a good one, Darius coming through Richard North in a game that went all the way, a line of 8/15 Clayton looks close enough, I've not got a huge sample on Labanauskas and his stats may indicate a bet, but I'll pass because of the sampling issue.

Wade/Rodriguez is very much in favour of the Machine, there might even be tiny value on James but it's not enough to really recommend as a bet, if you want to stick it in an accumulator or as a banker in some perms then it seems fine. Webster/Reyes looks to be priced very close to spot on with Webster around a 60/40 favourite, no real value here. Whitlock/Wattimena is close to a flip on the market with the Aussie being the right side of the coin, I touched on this one in the preview show and it kind of agrees with my analysis, if you must bet more then decide whether you want to go with the form being temporary or the class being permanent, other cliches available on request. Final game of the afternoon session is Bunting/Jacques, Peter getting through a tricky tie against Paul Nicholson, one break in a trainwreck fifth leg for Jacques being the only difference between the two. Market has Bunting at about 70/30 which seems way, way too short, Bunting isn't really that much better than Nicholson at this present time so 0.25u Jacques 9/4, it's one where I'd expect Jacques to lose but only about 60% of the time, so that price looks good.

Evening session kicks off with King/Hopp, bookies have it even, numbers of all year say King 60/40, if I filter down to April it becomes a lot closer, I do think this'll be too hard to separate so I won't try to. Next up is Suljovic/Joyce, Joyce is out at 3/1 which I think is really disrespectful, Suljovic's points per turn is still higher when losing than winning so the master computer will be underrating him, but it's giving Joyce a 42% shot here. That's a lot more than 25% and no reasonable adjustments will make this anything other than a bet, 0.25u Joyce 3/1. It's not like he didn't easily beat a winner on the Pro Tour yesterday or anything. Wright/Lynn is huge odds on, can't see Lynn being able to do what he did yesterday again against a higher calibre opponent, stick Wright in as a banker but 1/8 isn't enticing in a short race. Final game of the first half of the session is the highlight in Smith/Lewis. Bookies are thinking Smith 55/45, this could be a Smith bet. I'm getting him up just north of 60%. Lewis didn't do anything yesterday, sure he easily took care of Evetts but neither of them managed to win a leg in five turns. Not once! Let's go with it, 0.25u Smith 4/5.

Cross/Beaton is next up, Steve was pretty good in disposing of Adam Huckvale yesterday, getting 4-0 up, leaving tops after twelve in the next, Adam got a couple back but Steve finished in style with a four visit kill to ice the game. Beaton is probably technical value at 9/2 but I'm not feeling it. Gurney/Evans is around the same line as Suljovic/Joyce, and it's one I highlighted on Thursday as a potential Evans bet, and it is. He can't afford to go 4-0 down again, but this should be nearer a 4/9-2/1 sort of match, 0.25u Evans 3/1. van Gerwen/Taylor should be LOL, I mean it's technically a Taylor bet but not a chance in hell I'm going for it. I've got Taylor at around evens to win legs on his throw, he'll get three shots at it minimum, and Taylor +4.5 is around evens. Maybe worth a shot? Probably not. Don't touch 6-0 van Gerwen though, that's horrible value. Last is White/West, the bookies have this really close at 4/5 - 5/4, I think we can go on Ian here, he's above 60% on the predictor and West didn't play at his best against Laursen, although it was good enough to win, so 0.25u White 4/5.

Four biggish underdog shots there. Bear in mind that just one of them hitting will get you very close to break even if not outright break even on those bets. Be back later with a review of today's play.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Copenhagen bets

Qualifiers are in, and they look to be Nilsson and Labanauskas from the Nordic/Baltic region (Darius confused me a bit given I assumed that he would have been in the same qualifier as Razma was, but I guess not), neither of whom are mugs, while Per Laursen, who's been a familiar name for decades but to the best of my (well, dartsdatabase's) knowledge hasn't played on the European Tour since 2012, has made it through the Danish qualifier along with Brian Lokken, who seems to have mostly been touring the moderately local BDO circuit and, oddly, won the Gibraltar Open last year. For whatever that's worth. Still, none of the qualifiers from today have lines up so it's just the other 12 games to look at, and here come the punts:

0.25u O'Connor 8/15, my data on Rusty's limited but it's enough to tell me that Willie should bag this one more than two out of three times they play this, so let's go small given the lack of information.

Nothing on Ratajski/Joyce, line looks pretty plumb, nothing on Schindler either, there's a slight edge but it's nothing more than that, piling in at 4/6 when I think he wins 62% of the time isn't that appetising when your edge can disappear in a blink if he loses the bull. Nothing on Wattimena/Jones either, I'm not feeling Wayne's ability to pull the upset despite what the model says to be favourable odds, even when I filter to a more recent sample. Beaton/Huckvale looks a better line though - it's not much different to the Schindler line, an extra couple of percentage points is probably enough though given the relative difference in experience, so 0.25u Beaton 4/6.

Lynn/Dobey is one I really do think is close to a lock, 1u Dobey 4/13, I've got him over 90% so I think we can fire freely here. 90% is a lot in a race to six, I don't often see van Gerwen up that high for reference.

de Zwaan/Razma I think is pretty close to the money. There may be small value on Madars, it's a question of your take on Jeffrey's temperament and whether you think he'll pull through in what he knows to be an important game. Mansell/Klaasen is not quite priced up as closely as I thought it would be, so a bit of underdog value on the Cyclone here, 0.25u Mansell 11/8, this should be a bit nearer to 6/5 really.

Thornton/Taylor is more or less where I thought the line would be so I'm not interested, Nicholson/Jacques is also really well priced up. Evetts is priced at 11/4 against Adrian Lewis, which is not long enough. In fact, I think given that Adrian had a bit of a return to stage form I think I can go 0.5u Lewis 1/3, at 78% this should be OK. That just leaves Hopp/Horvat, and while I don't have a lot of data on Dragutin, I think Hopp's playing well enough that we can take a small punt, 0.25u Hopp 4/11.

A fair bit more odds on than I usually go, but that's just how the bets have fallen today. If you like an accumulator you can certainly do worse than these and chucking in against the Danes when (if?) lines appear in the morning.

Copenhagen preview

Draw is out - no news on the Scandi qualifiers but I'm not thinking any of them are going to be that strong, and none of them have managed to get an easy draw (the Danes have West and Reyes, the others have Evans and North), so while I guess that someone like a Viljanen wouldn't be completely drawing dead, it doesn't look too likely that they'll advance, and the Danes only averaging in the 60's in the World Cup isn't promising. So let's start right away and look at what we've got coming up:

Wright v Lynn/Dobey - Seems like an age ago since Lynn did his UK Open heroics, when it was only two seasons ago - the year that Cross reached the last 32. He didn't pick up a card, only got £250 in the UK Open qualifiers and hasn't done much on the Challenge Tour this year, so Dobey should walk this and not be without chances against Wright, in what'd be a rerun from Gibraltar where Dobey lost 6-1.

Price v Mansell/Klaasen - New experience for Jelle, the old Friday match, the wildly inconsistent Klaasen actually rates to be a tiny favourite over recent Pro Tour winner Mansell, although given we never know which Jelle will turn up we've got to take that under advisement. Price apparently has an injury which should take him off the board betting wise from my standpoint regardless of who he plays.

Suljovic v Joyce/Ratajski - Real high quality first round game between the Pro Tour superstar Joyce and UK Open qualifier winner and World Master Ratajski, one I wish I wasn't at work for. Krzysztof rates to be nearly a 60/40 favourite here, and both will give Suljovic a decent game.

Webster v Reyes/DQ2 - Cristo has shown some occasional glimpses, which he shouldn't need to do in round one as long as he doesn't miss huge batches of doubles in multiple legs, Webster is a different proposition and we'll need to see peak Reyes in a game where Webster has remarkably similar winning shots to Ratajski above. Of course, Webster beat Alcinas in the worlds, who beat Reyes in the worlds, so there is that.

Cullen v de Zwaan/Razma - Big, big set of games for Jeffrey, who is still very close to the Matchplay cutoff line and even a grand extra here would be huge for him. Madars hasn't done badly but this is a tough ask, that said it still should only be around a 4/7 game or there abouts. Cullen's done alright in Europe and nowhere else this year, his weakness domestically being such that I'd have de Zwaan as a tiny favourite to take a second round game between the two - if it happens.

Wade v Rodriguez/O'Connor - Rusty Jake returns! I've only got limited data on him from his not great runs in UK Open qualifiers, while O'Connor is having a third (of a minimum of four) punt in Europe this year. That's he's lost in the first round to fellow youngsters in Humphries and van den Bergh may give RJR hope, but Wade, back amongst the seeds, should be far too classy for either.

Smith v Lewis/Evetts - I like Ted, it's cruel how he missed out on a tour card, and while he's been doing work on the minor circuit since then, grabbing three titles (1 Challenge Tour, 2 Development Tour), I really don't want him to get in the way of what'd be an epic Adie/Smith faceoff where anything can happen. I'm getting Evetts with less than a 1 in 4 win chance, but that's only in ranked events and not on secondary tours, so who knows, maybe he can pull off an upset.

Bunting v Nicholson/Jacques - Should be a good first rounder, Nicholson's been quality all year, while Jacques is hit and miss but did have a good run in Wigan last weekend, a quarter final indicating he could be hitting form. Nicho should get through in around five trials out of every eight, and would certainly be alive against Bunting, whose exploits last weekend in Wigan are a microcosm of his whole season - a semi final one day, lose heavily in the first round the next.

Cross v Beaton/Huckvale - Adam's yet to get a win on the Pro Tour, and will get another two shots in midweek as he still has enough cash from his Challenge Tour win to get up on countback, but this will be his third attempt in Europe, and will face off against Beaton, who's frankly been mediocre this year and is yet to get to a quarter final. He's playing OK - the stats make him nearly a 2-1 favourite, but if he's going to get to a quarter final here, he'll have to get past Cross who broke his season's title duck last weekend, and he'd probably be about a 3-1 underdog to do that.

King v Hopp/Horvat - Interesting all-German matchup in round one, Hopp having won one of these of course, but Dragutin's no mug - this is his third European appearance this year and he beat Alcinas last time out, and he beat van der Voort to get through, although Hopp's got close to an 80% chance by my reckoning. A game against King would be a rerun of their World Championship game from a few years back, and Hopp beat King in their last outing, also on the European Tour back in April. Despite a 4-1 head to head lead, the model gives King a 60/40 shot, and there's no homefield advantage to help the Maximiser here.

Gurney v Evans/NBQ1 - Evans is back in form - three quarter finals out of his last four Pro Tour events, 4/6 in recent European qualifiers, he should be too good for whoever qualifies if he keeps this up, and would be live against the current Grand Prix champion who's still looking for his first European Tour win - Gurney would be the favourite but it's not even 2/1 so this could well end up being a good outside punt on Rapid here.

Whitlock v Wattimena/Jones - Even more in form is Jermaine Wattimena, who as I mentioned in the previous post had the best points per turn of anybody last weekend when he made back to back semi finals. The Wolverhampton veteran wouldn't be without chances, indeed the model has this very close over a full year's stats, but if I filtered down on more recent results I'd expect that to swing in the Dutchman's favour. Whitlock will have his work cut out, the full year has him at about 60/40 in the lead over Jermaine, but if I filter down to May onwards Whitlock becomes the underdog.

Clayton v North/NBQ2 - North hasn't really pushed on this season, he did reach that one semi final on the European stage back in March, but only has a couple of quarters apart from that. Still, he's doing well enough on the figures to be able to push the Ferret if he shows up, the model projecting the Welshman to be about a 60/40 favourite.

White v West/DQ1 - Steve's playing far too well to have any issues with a domestic qualifier, and he's playing having reached the semi final last time out in Europe. A match against White would be an interesting one - Ian's won an event this year, reached a final last weekend and has four semi final appearances, but is only just over a 60% shot against Steve, an indication of how well West is playing (as regular readers should know just how underestimated White is).

van Gerwen v Thornton/Taylor - No, not Phil, Scott, who made a Pro Tour final and will be looking for a second pop at van Gerwen who stopped him that day. He may have a chance to do so, as while neither's been playing that great this season (Thornton is at risk of dropping out of the top 32 before Ally Pally if he's not careful and is nowhere near the Matchplay), it's about a 55/45 in Thornton's favour so this could come down to who pins their chances, which they should each get. Not even going to look at the second round match, such is the level of one-sidedness it'll look like.

Henderson v Schindler/Dolan - Our final matches see Schindler, who is having a really great season statistically without having the real landmark result to show for it (at least on the senior circuit - he has one quarter final, compare that with Hopp's Euro Tour win or Clemens' final, although back to back Development Tour wins on the same day is really hard), against Dolan, who's had a few decent runs - the best probably being last month in Milton Keynes where he pocketed over five grand. The German should be the favourite, in and around the 8/13 bracket, and he'd be the favourite in round two against the big Scot, although so small that it's basically a coin flip. Hendo's only had the one quarter final since April so could use a run.

Be back later with news from the qualifiers and hopefully bets.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Players Championship 14 - Double Cross? Yeah Wright

Pretty successful weekend for Cross, although he was to be denied a double win as the two highest ranked players in the FRH rankings that showed up met in the final, Peter Wright coming out on top in a 6-4 match, Wright storming into a 5-1 lead before Cross pegged it back to 5-4, Wright managing to finish the game off when Cross seemingly made a huge mess of some sort of finish, hard to tell off of the raw dartconnect scoring but to go from needing 132 and then leaving 15 before ending on 3, that's not pretty.

Michael Smith was a semi finalist with a decent run, the other was Jermaine Wattimena again, as he's made himself incredibly safe for the majors and is actually high up enough on the Pro Tour now that he's in danger of being seeded for ET 11 onwards. It's a bit of a double edged sword in that if you just sneak in you get no ranking money if you lose and the #1 seed if you win... seems like a silly system to me really. Wattimena had scored nicely enough to leave himself on 80 after twelve in the deciding leg, only for Wright to go out with 161. Not bad.

Lower down, Dimitri van den Bergh really should have seen off Wright at an earlier stage, racing to a 4-0 lead with the darts before forgetting how to double and losing 6-4, Noppert picked up a board win to keep himself within touching distance of the Matchplay but it's really reliant on making Hamburg and having a run at this stage, van Duijvenbode won his board again, don't know what's clicked there but he didn't seem to be having double troubles when I was watching on the stream board, while Adam Hunt made a quarter final from nowhere, which aside from a deciding leg win over Steve West was mostly a fortunate draw thing.

Overall in the weekend, Alan Norris only picked up a grand, but as his Matchplay chances are reliant on Adrian Lewis doing something and he only picked up 500 quid (Deller's bokking extending to this weekend as well it seems) it's probably a bit too much for Lewis to overhaul him, given he only has the one shot in Europe. It's also need Kim Huybrechts and Darren Webster to edge past him, they're not far behind but Huybrechts at least isn't showing any inclination to be able to do so. Sven Groen's now 0-14, how far will this run go?

Everything's in the master computer, interesting to see who has the best points per turn over the weekend - if we say a minimum of 25 legs played (just to troll Paul Nicholson and exclude him), the top 10 are, from the bottom to the top, Gabriel Clemens, Ian White, Peter Wright, Dave Chisnall, Mensur Suljovic, Jason Lowe, Martin Schindler, Ron Meulenkamp, Rob Cross and Jermaine Wattimena. Probably some names you expected up there, also some that regular readers might expect but casuals wouldn't, but the order's got to surprise you?

New FRH rankings:

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

Not a huge deal of change. White edges over Chisnall by less than a grand after finalling on Saturday, Chisnall's quarter not quite being enough to get him back over Ian. Cullen only needed to match what Huybrechts did to gain the spot, getting the extra grand over the weekend is just a bonus, but he's very close to van Barneveld for the top 16 and should get above him before the Matchplay guaranteed unless Barney shows up for something. There is only three grand separating Jamie Lewis, King, Henderson, Klaasen and Bunting in the 21-25 bracket, Wattimena's runs have taken him to number 31 on the rankings and very close to Justin Pipe, van Duijvenbode's weekend has placed him just outside the top 80 by only 100 points or so.

I'm tempted to do some in depth Matchplay qualification scenarios, but as they mostly write themselves and the World Cup is on I probably won't bother with it. Be back later in the week for Copenhagen previews.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Players Championship 13 - World Champion wins tournament shocker

Weird how that the clear second best player in the world, who is putting up clearly the second best averages in the world, has actually won an event. Seems some people don't quite get the huge amount of variance there is in a short race format, heck it may possibly be the only reason I make money on betting darts at all, but for those who are of the "Cross luckboxed one tournament and is a fish on a heater" mentality, he's won one.

It was overall a very weird day - Wright went out first round. Smith went out first round. Dootson and Darbyshire won games. Crazy stuff. White made what was a weird final, going from 4-0 to 4-4 to 6-4, but his appearance in that stage is not unexpected, given how much I've been raving about his game in recent months. Jermaine Wattimena reached the semi final, and by all accounts should have reached the final, getting down to 47 after nine darts against White while leading 5-4 on throw, but being unable to pin the winning double. Shame, as while the longer term stats indicated that he was basically killing a lot in six visits and taking what was given rather than imposing himself on the game, here he had the best adjusted average of anyone on the day (Wright excepted but he only played one game) - 98 flat with seven twelve or better dart legs on the day is a pretty decent standard. The score's now lifted him into the top 32 on the FRH rankings.

Elsewhere, Dirk van Duijvenbode made the quarters, riding his luck a bit in winning three last leg deciders, but hopefully this gives him the confidence to kick on. After Wattimena, the best adjusted average of people to get out of the first round was Martin Schindler - playing some great stuff including a demolition job on Mensur Suljovic, before running into Ian White at the last 16 stage. Bunting also showed some more recent signs that he's getting back to his best in his semi final run, running into a Cross-shaped wall at that stage, but there's enough of an indication that he's getting things back together and isn't one you may want to face in the Matchplay. Interesting return to the quarters for Peter Jacques as well, averaging more or less the same as van Duijvenbode but getting there when it mattered. Lennon, Cullen and Clemens also put in better numbers than their finishing positions suggested.

Tomorrow's a new day, and it's a big one before possibly the most important ten days of the year so far - that period with two European Tour events on back to back weekends with two Players Championship events sandwiched in between is critical, as they're the last events before the Matchplay. We had the UK qualifier for ET9 (the last one before the cutoff, we already knew the ET8 lineup) on Friday, Norris didn't make it so, having not made Copenhagen either, is just reliant on tomorrow and the two midweek PC events to get home, as he's not even close on Pro Tour rankings. Beating Pipe and then losing to Meulenkamp today isn't inspiring. Looking at Burton's table, he should still be safe as he's reliant on both Webster and Huybrechts to do more than him going forward (although he has less than a grand of wiggle room there), and would need Adrian Lewis to close an effective ten grand gap. Then again, it's not like Lewis hasn't won ten grand in one event recently.

On the cutoff for the Pro Tour places, Keegan Brown did himself a world of good by getting to Hamburg, while Lennon and, more critically, North, did themselves no favours. They did lose in the last round 6-4 and 6-5 but should be beating Martin Atkins and Paul Rowley. Dobey added a second shot having already made Copenhagen, but other than him it's mostly Euros that are just outside. Payne and Jame Lewis missed out and are probably too far behind at this stage.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Guess who's back, back again, Adie's back, tell a friend

It didn't work out for him in the final, but Adrian Lewis is at least back chucking at a decent level, and while he couldn't really get close to van Gerwen, he at least has been able to push up several rankings as a result of this run. Got to start to worry Norris that Lewis has just put a 10k dent in the gap there was between the two given Norris's weak Pro Tour ranking, he's going to desperately need something going forward to grab one of the last seeds.

Steve West and Paul Nicholson certainly will be happy with their weekends, although Paul's got to be thinking what could have been after breaking in the penultimate leg, starting off 140 then not being able to leave a finish after twelve darts, with Adie going out in 14 that was very costly.

I feel like I don't really review individual games too much, so I'll give that a try:

van Gerwen/Clayton - even enough through the first four legs but van Gerwen clearly looked the better player, Clayton then missed one dart at tops to break in the fifth as part of a double-double 100 out combination, it then all went downhill from there - missing double 14 to hold and letting van Gerwen in on 82 to get a break, a regulation 15 dart hold followed to put Michael on the hill, Clayton had the chance to extend the game but his scoring deserted him, allowing van Gerwen to clean up 75 on his sixth visit for the match.

West/Cross - how to average 10 points lower than your opponent and win. West has the darts and both players had one dart to break in each of the first three legs, all of which were scrappy, before Cross's finishing deserted him in the fourth and he misses six darts to equalise, West breaking in six visits. Cross breaks straight back with West unable to consolidate the break with mediocre scoring, and it's then routine holds from there, West getting another four visit deciding leg to ice the game.

Price/Nicholson - slow first couple of legs, Nicholson's able to get some scoring going and leave 121 after nine in the third, he can't finish on the bull but Price isn't able to hit a big 149 out and Nicholson gets the break in five visits. Price breaks straight back in the same as Nicholson's scoring falls apart, but his scoring goes away and he misses a dart for 170 to hold as Paul makes it 3-2. Price has the chance to get on level terms but misses four darts at double as Nicholson makes it 4-2, and breaks again to go one away after Price can't kill 74 to hold. Paul's set up play disappears in leg 8 as Price gets one break back, and his scoring goes away in the ninth as Price holds in six visits. In leg 10, with Nicholson drakking around on 228 after twelve darts, Price hits nine perfect darts - a maximum to leave 103, 103 out, and then kicks off the decider with a maximum, but despite a 140 follow up he can't finish the game - missing six match darts to allow Nicholson to clean up double sixteen in his sixth visit and advance.

Lewis/Wright - pretty routine game through five legs with it going on serve to 3-2 Lewis, he's then able to break in the sixth after Wright misses three clear at 32 which he'd left after twelve. He immediately rectifies matters with a 140-140-140-81 out break back, but proceeds to miss two darts at tops in the next and Lewis pins tops to get his break back, sealing a 6-3 win on double 12 after Wright can only leave 140 after five visits.

van Gerwen/West - couple of routine five dart holds to start, before van Gerwen misses three darts to make it 2-1 and West steps in to break with a 76 out. West holds a scrappy fourth leg, before van Gerwen puts on the afterburners - back to back four visit finishes in legs six and seven get things back on throw, and a fifteen dart break seals the game in leg six with West unable to leave an out after twelve darts. An eleven dart ninth leg puts van Gerwen one leg from victory, and a solid tenth leg from West is just delaying the inevitable as van Gerwen hits tops to move to the final.

Nicholson/Lewis - Lewis got an immediate break, missing bull for a 167 but cleaning up in fourteen, neither player is able to threaten the other's throw until the eighth leg. Nicholson, after a great twelve darter the leg before, slots in a maximum to leave 24 after twelve darts, Lewis can't finish 164 and we're at 4-4. The Asset can't pin tops to hold and Adie finishes last dart in fifteen to break straight back, and leaves himself tops after twelve in the next leg, cleaning it up to lead 6-4. Nicholson finishes 121 on the bull for another twelve dart leg with Jackpot waiting on 100 for the match, and then equalises with a 128 out on the same target after Lewis misses two match darts. The decider is a horror show as Nicholson, after starting with 140, can't find a treble in his next three visits, while a 180 from Lewis is enough to give him time to finish on tops.

van Gerwen/Lewis - one sided really. van Gerwen held in five, broke in four, held in six before Lewis got on the board with a ten dart leg. van Gerwen makes it 4-1 with a five visit kill, before ending the game as a contest with another break, Lewis missing four darts at double to hold. van Gerwen slots in another twelve dart leg to make it 6-1 in the race to eight, Lewis is able to hold and recover to 6-2 as van Gerwen's going through the motions, but it's routine from there, van Gerwen pinning double twelve for the title with an eleven dart leg.

New FRH rankings:

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

As mentioned earlier, Klaasen's gone and down to 23 (and falling). West is up to #26 following his semi final, another player now ahead of Benito van de Pas, Nicholson rises to #66, while Boulton and Barnard crack into the top 90, with Mike de Decker holding on in the top 100.

Evetts got his third title of the year by claiming the last Development Tour event of the weekend. Scary how he's cleaning up, qualified for the worlds, but didn't get a tour card at Q-School. Maybe it's making him stronger? Who knows.

I'll update the Second Division Darts rankings shortly. One thing I might do for next season is add another tier of it, and have a third division, but only eligible to players under 30. Thoughts?

Gibraltar final session, ah, that's better

Only the Dobey bet missing is quite the result and more than makes up for yesterday. Cullen's got to be kicking himself for missing all those match darts, but we'll take it. If you get a chance, rewatch the Lewis/Wade match, one of the better games we've seen all year.

So we're at the quarter final stage - here's what we've got:

I wouldn't have thought the model would only give van Gerwen one out of every three wins, but it's a pretty short format - heck, Clayton won the last meeting between the two over the same distance, Cross clearly would have the game to beat him, and anyone from the bottom half (with the possible exception of Nicholson, but even then the model's giving Nicholson about a one in six shot at it) could do so on their day. Wright looks to be the pick from the bottom half, and looked in decent nick against Dobey, but Lewis will be no pushover as he looks to climb back up the Pro Tour rankings, and you can guarantee Price would give him a game.

This table obviously gives you the projections which I can directly compare to the odds - 0.1u Clayton 7/1 just because, otherwise the market has Cross/West at 75/25 which is near as damnit to what I'm getting, it's got Price at 8/13 which, if I've done my maths right, is 62% give or take a fraction of a percent, so no value there either, and they've got Wright at the same price as well. They're giving nothing away here, and as I'm going to the pub soon I won't be about to look at the semis, but you can extrapolate what the model would have said from these figures if you want to punt on it. As a result, we're booking a 1.5 unit profit for Gibraltar, unless Clayton does pull the upset, in which case it's 2.3 units, and a new high water mark in terms of career profit. Which would be nice.

One thing I would note away from Gibraltar which I should have done yesterday is that it's been a pretty good weekend for German darts - Schindler booked a double on the Development Tour yesterday, and Unterbuchner won the Swiss Open on the BDO side. On the Development Tour, Ryan Meikle's bagged the first one today, which gives him a second title at that level, and Rowby made the final, so maybe he'll make a bit of a comeback at higher levels. Last one's still in the running but I'll let you know who grabbed it when I do a roundup later today. Worth noting that Adie's back in the top 20 of the FRH rankings as we speak, knocking out Jamie Lewis who had knocked out Jelle Klaasen (who's now also below Mervyn King). He'll stay there unless West wins the title, so...