Thursday, 15 November 2018

Grand Slam quarters - yawn

I will never, ever understand why they fix the draw the way they have done, so that we get three rematches at the quarter final stage. Just stick all the runners up in the opposite half to the winners. It's not difficult. If a runner up needs to play two games in two days or has more than one day off, it's not a big deal, by the time you get to the long games in the quarter final stages, it's all level. The PDC do a lot of things right, this is another thing they do which is unbelievably dumb.

As such, with the only new game we're seeing being Dimitri (nice nine lad, shame about the next seventeen darts) van den Bergh against Mensur Suljovic, which is a repeat of two televised events we've seen in the last twelve months, I'm going to be brief here:

0.25u van den Bergh 13/8, I'm seeing him at above 46%, even in a best of 31 distance. We all saw what Dimitri did the last time they met in a long game at the world championship, and heck, the kid just hit a nine, if this isn't peak Dimitri confidence, who knows what is.

No bet on Price/Whitlock. The line's a flip, with Price being the slightest of odds on favourites. I'm seeing this as 53/47 Price, so there's nothing of any real value here, I'm thinking on recent form we should be on the eye out for any Whitlock bets in case the line moves but I'm not holding my breath.

2u Anderson 1/7, that was a pretty nice display by Unterbuchner, but this is an extremely easy spot to milk a quarter of a unit, Gary's been lights out all year on TV and I think this is nearer a 1/14 or even 1/20 line in all honesty, it's a huge jump from race to 10 to race to 16 and also a huge jump from Wade to Anderson.

No bet on van Gerwen/Clayton. I was able to bet on Clayton at 9/1 in a best of nine. We are now in a game more than three times the length which hugely, hugely improves things in favour of the favourite and I can't even get 9/1 again? What changed bookies? What changed? Surely you're not overreacting on the basis of a nine leg sample size? The line looks right now, but you would think if they were consistent they'd have van Gerwen as an even larger favourite than what he was in the group stages. Very, very silly.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The future of the Grand Slam

As we await the knockout stages, I read something that Mason retweeted earlier in that Durrant is looking at Q-School, which makes perfect sense for anybody given the BDO's relaxation of eligibility criteria. That leaves the question though - if Durrant goes (and you think that if he did try Q-School, he'd get in easily), who exactly is left in the BDO system that would be worthy of a spot at the Grand Slam?

You'd think that if Durrant retained, they'd let Durrant play it, but who else is going to be left in the building? Let's look at their seedings for the worlds and see what the situation might be:

McGeeney's said he's trying. Williams you'd think would have a go as he's still young enough and probably good enough to at least have a chance of saving his card. Harms surely will. Mitchell you'd think would have done so already, but probably has the game. Unterbuchner really ought to given the European Tour. Robson probably not. Veenstra might. Waites, see Mitchell, although at seven years younger he's got more time to have a run. Landman I don't know. Parletti has been in and out so you think he would. Warren, Montgomery and Phillips you can't see it. Mandigers and Day you'd think would go for it.

That's not exactly a huge number of players that are rating to actively stay. We all know it's a completely different ecosystem nowadays, where there was somewhat of a choice to be made back in 2007 when the thing kicked off. Right now in 2019, you'll have three groups of players - the BDO diehards who are seeing out the end of their careers, those that did try Q-School but didn't crack it, and some younger players that are looking to get experience on the circuit, perhaps in conjunction with the Challenge and Development Tours. Which of those groups of players adds value to the tournament? I'm struggling to think who would if we see the expected level of Q-School entrants, at least to fill eight spots. You'll have some decent players miss out on getting a tour card for sure (Jamie Hughes springs to mind from last year), but if someone went for one and didn't get one, what does that say about their current standard?

I'm thinking the tournament's going to need a revamp. If you're keeping the same number of players, then have:

- Top 20 players who've won something in the PDC
- Winner, runner up of Lakeside, World Masters winner and World Trophy winner. Add winners of lesser tournaments (Zuiderduin, Dutch Open, whatever) until you get to four players.
- Winner of PDC Asian Tour, Nordic and Baltic Tour, DPA rankings and the women's world champ
- Four spots from a PDPA qualifier, increasing if the initial 20 isn't filled.

Or expand to 40. Add an extra two spots to a PDPA qualifier, add an extra two spots to the 20 who've won something, two spots to other winners of A+ category BDO events, and two to random PDC tour winners (maybe not the Development or Challenge Tours, as the former's got two spots effectively from the world youth, and adding from a second tier seems counter-intuitive) - something random from North America? The best player on the European Tour rankings not otherwise qualified?

If you do expand to 40, you could either go five man groups, or just bin the whole group concept and have four rounds of Swiss matches. Play eight legs against an opponent, then keep matching players with the same number of legs won against each other, top 16 advance to the knockouts. With everyone in one place there's really no need logistically to have a group stage system, you can accommodate everything by just having an extra session on the Monday and Tuesday afternoons (or Monday afternoon and the Friday night before? Making the Tuesday night the session where everyone in the 11-30 bracket plays off?)

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Ian White must really like Thursday nights off work

Honest to god, there's something psychologically wrong with that lad. How you miss that many shots at double I have no idea - he's gone from what was probably a 90% to 95% chance or more of making the Premier League following his European Tour win to being on the outside looking in because he's botched two TV tournaments in a row. I don't know what's going to save it at this stage, you've clearly got van Gerwen, Anderson, Cross, Wright, Suljovic, Wade and Smith in, Price is doing everything a lot better, Whitlock's made a major final, Hopp's made a major semi and won two titles (and, more importantly, is likely a hell of a lot more marketable), Gurney may be there or there abouts, Chisnall hasn't been completely stinking the place up, and that's without mentioning Barney, who cocked it up again tonight. Dear oh dear.

So we've got our last sixteen lineup. Pretty shocked that Harms was able to get by, but that looked a pretty high quality game, Ratajski did the business very efficiently, other than Robson putting up a decent effort in trying to come back, even if it doesn't show statistically, I don't think there's a great deal to talk about. So, what do the matches project as? Let's take a look:

Bunting/van den Bergh - 39/61. It's giving Dimitri a bit more of a chance than the market thinks. This seems somewhat fine as stage Dimitri and floor Dimitri are two different animals, but there's not a great deal in the overall points per turn and with Bunting playing some really good stuff in the group stages, I'm tempted to pass this one.

Price/Payne - 63/37. Price is a lot shorter of a favourite on this one, and rightly so as he's in red hot form. If I take it from after the break it's nearer 70/30 - which kills any edge we'd have on a Payne bet almost completely. Gerwyn should get past this one you'd think but Payne's not going to make it easy.

Cross/Suljovic - 58/42. There's not even a point in the season long points per turn thanks to Mensur being a heck of a lot more consistent when he's losing, and the projections as always only consider legs completed, i.e. won, with Cross 4/5 and Mensur 6/5 if you reign in Suljovic a couple of points due to consistency then there's little to be had here.

Wright/Whitlock - 63/37. Line's bang on Wright being a 2-1 favourite. Do we bet Simon? There's nearly enough edge there, Wright's not put up hugely convincing conventional numbers, Whitlock's already on a free hit after coming through that thriller against Price where he needed four straight to survive, and he beat Wright over a same length match in the previous major. What the heck, 0.25u Whitlock 2/1.

Anderson/Harms - 94/6. Taking that with a pinch of salt, Harms' stats come from only 34 won legs. That said, saying Anderson is anything other than a prohibitive favourite would be comical.

Wade/Unterbuchner - 82/18. Wade's 1/4, so this looks in the right ballpark. With Wade having the level of confidence he does at the moment it's really, really hard to recommend taking the German lad without a much bigger edge, it's only really missed doubles by White that's allowed him to advance rather than Unterbuchner doing anything truly outstanding, only breaking a conventional average of 90 against Hine.

Clayton/Ratajski - 46/54. More or less exactly how the odds line up, so there's not going to be anything here. As an aside, it's now annoying that Kciuk is in my database and steals Ratajski's autocomplete when adding new data. This should be really very tight and a probable tie of the round. That said...

van Gerwen/Smith - 73/27. Smith's 7/2, which might be a tempter, then again van Gerwen has made Smith to look very silly in multiple games this season, winning their Premier League initial stage matches 14-3, the final 11-4, two Euro Tour semis 14-2 with just the one 8-4 win for Smith in the event in Shanghai he won. If Smith had been doing anything god mode style in the group stage I might have thought about it, but he really hasn't.

So that's your lot. One bet. Oh well, it is what it is.

Grand Slam day 4 bets

We ran through the permutations yesterday so I'll not repeat myself, was a real pity that Durrant couldn't make it through the group with Price throwing away a basically won position, other than that not a great deal of surprise, Payne managing to get enough legs on the board to advance ahead of Hopp but not the last one he needed for the win to give me the double. Today:

Wade/Webster - Dead game, Webby getting the win might be worth the tiny punt as it should push him into third and he'll know the extra couple of grand might be critical when it comes to retaining a tour card at the end of next year.

Anderson/Hine - Also a dead game, Hine realistically too far back to grab third in the event he did pull off a miracle, 1/7 Ando looks to be close to my projections so while it's probably safe to put into an acca, I won't be recommending an outright punt.

White/Unterbuchner - 0.5u White 1/2, he is that much better than the German and it'd take a real TV special from White to not get through here.

Brown/Harms - Market seems a bit close here? Brown's generally outperformed Harms and he's only rated 60/40? I really don't see how that's close to correct, 0.25u Brown 4/6, would probably go more but Harms hasn't really helped sample size with the drubbing he got versus Wade.

van Gerwen/Murnan - Now we get to the complicated groups, but this isn't a complicated match, 1/16 is a bit too short to bet, but not by much.

Clayton/Robson - This ought to be Clayton's, but Gary's shown just about enough that 8/15 isn't really a tempter.

Ratajski/Smith-Neale - Battle of the World Masters, Smith-Neale being very much the definition of a live dog, although the 35% I'm seeing is more or less where the market lies, so no thanks.

Smith/van Barneveld - The market here is clearly too close and 0.25u Smith 3/4 with Barney looking fairly ordinary and it only being four missed match darts that make this not a dead rubber. Only real danger is that Smith-Neale pulls the upset and Smith knows he's already through, or otherwise Smith gets the legs he needs and pulls back a bit. He ought to be too professional for that though.

Will look at the first knockout games later this evening probably.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Bet on out of form player against van Gerwen. It works sometimes!

That was quite nice, but what for today?

Cross/Searle - After the Webster/Taylor incident two or three years back, I don't touch dead rubbers, and the odds look close enough to correct in any case. There might be small Searle value, Cross only needs three legs to lock up the group and a Searle win would give him the potential for more ranking points, but no.

Gilding/Durrant - Might be small value on Gilding here, but probably not - he needs a 5-0 to stand any chance of progressing so one leg for Durrant and it likely falls apart. Duzza just needs the win here and he should be professional enough to do that.

Whitlock/Price - Line's a flip and I'm thinking it's close. Price tops the group with a win, and just needs three legs to advance. With this being the second game, Whitlock will know exactly what he needs to do - if Durrant loses, it's just a win, but if Durrant wins, he's going to need a big win, at least 5-2. That said, if Durrant does lose then Price knows he's already through...

Suljovic/Schindler - Is there small value on Martin? Probably not - he must win by four to stand any chance as that'll put him ahead of Mensur, and then hope Mitchell gets a shelling, which seems unlikely. Probably just playing for pride here is Schindler, with Mensur needing a 5-3 to guarantee advancing Suljovic is likely not letting up here.

Bunting/Mitchell - Can Scotty get through here? Both players have been chucking some very nice stuff this weekend, Bunting can afford a deciding leg loss to advance with certainty, but a win to sweep the group would be nice. Mitchell needs to outperform Suljovic, it's basically that simple, and the good news for our BDO fans is that he'll know in advance what that is.

Hopp/Williams - Both have plenty of work to do here. Williams must win by at least two legs, and really more unless he wants to rely on Wright to really hammer Payne, a result he needs anyway, it just becomes a question of scoreline. Hopp will advance with a 5-1 result, while a smaller win might be enough if Wright does beat Payne. I'm thinking a tiny nibble of 0.25u Williams 13/8, he's shown just about enough here and season long to make me think he can extend his tournament.

Wright/Payne - Peter tops the group with a win, a 5-4 defeat also probably likely to be enough. Payne's in a decent spot, if Hopp loses then Payne should be safe if he can pick up a few legs, and like Mitchell earlier he'll know the permutations. Wright could easily be safe by the time the match starts, and with it being the more critical game for Payne, let's go with it given the model thinks it's a good bet - 0.25u Payne 16/5.

van den Bergh/McGeeney - Our only straight shootout, winner moves on, loser goes home, Dimitri's easily outperformed McGeeney so far, nearly beating Cross while Mark averaged sub 80, while averaging a bit higher against Searle where they both had the same result. It's a stage game which'll help the Belgian, but 4/9 isn't quite enough odds to justify a bet here.

In the other groups which play tomorrow, we've got straight elimination games between Brown and Harms and then White and Unterbuchner, with Wade/Webster and Anderson/Hine being dead games, while in the other groups van Gerwen just needs a win against Murnan to join a likely group winner in Clayton, who faces Robson. Gary has an outside chance but needs a 4-1 win to overhaul a big leg differential, assuming van Gerwen wins. The final group is Smith looking to get a win against Barney to top the group, he just needs four legs to advance, or a Ratajski loss. A 5-3 Barney win puts them level on everything, so if that happens and Ratajski wins, I guess we have a nine dart shootout? Ratajski just needs a win to move through against Smith-Neale, while Adam requires a minimum of a 5-3 win, ideally 5-2 or better to avoid tiebreak scenarios, and then to hope Barney loses. It's a good old mess as it always is.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Grand Slam group stage 2 and what we learned from day 1

I assume that it was deliberate that all the seeds on day one played all the BDO players in a 1v4, 2v3 format, which I think is a shame as it puts a heck of a lot of pressure on all the BDO players as, Durrant aside, they all lost the first game - you'd expect it to happen most of the time anyway regardless of when it happens in the group, but it's a whole different dynamic if, say, Williams beat Hopp or Payne before facing Wright. Oh well, we'll see if they can rebuild in the losers matches today, a lot of them seem like they could be live and make for an interesting final match against someone who isn't necessarily one of the PDC's top players.

Ratajski getting home against van Barneveld just put us up for the event, I don't know how long Hopp will be able to get clutch bull finishes for, seems hugely unsustainable. Today, what do we have?

Searle/McGeeney - 0.25u Searle 4/5, McGeeney did little to suggest that the numbers I have on him are inaccurate, his scoring was OK but he just couldn't hit a double. Searle did fine and ought to take this one.

Payne/Williams - No bet here, the line looks close enough to where I think it should be, Williams did just about enough, if anything Payne may be undervalued but taking Wright the distance is just about enough for me.

Schindler/Mitchell - 0.25u Mitchell 11/10, I'm going to trust the model here, even based on limited sample sizes. Mitchell wasn't too bad, although he could do with upping his scoring a touch. Looking at the losing legs season long, as Mitchell has a huge lead on winning legs albeit on a short sample, they both average within a quarter of a point of each other. That's good enough for me.

Whitlock/Gilding - Gilding, two legs where he gave Price far, far too long to win through missing four darts at double in each leg aside, was a bit better than the scoreline suggested. Whitlock really couldn't do too much against Durrant, only getting darts at double in one leg that he lost. 0.25u Gilding 9/4, the pressure's on Simon here and Gilding has a massive incentive to win.

Suljovic/Bunting - This is probably close to a Bunting bet, I had it 60/40 Suljovic before the event and nothing much has going to have changed over one game, the average from Bunting is probably a lot better but for that mutual comedy first leg - 0.25u Bunting 2/1, that's a decent price in a short race.

Cross/van den Bergh - It's weird that the projections had Dimitri winning 40% of the time, and that's exactly where the line is. Will pass.

Price/Durrant - Line again looks close enough with Glen being a small favourite.

Wright/Hopp - 0.25u Wright 5/11, it's only a small bet because I don't think our edge is that huge, only getting Wright at 73%, Wright was pretty tidy barring one leg on throw and was pressuring Williams quite well so he should get home here.

Hine/Unterbuchner - Nothing here. Hine's probably one of the weakest PDC players in the field and Unterbuchner can be dangerous, but Hine still ranks well enough that he only projected as a small underdog and while Hine was pretty average against White, Michael wasn't doing anything amazing in a loss to Anderson either.

Murnan/Robson - Pick your poison here, I could barely split them, albeit off of a small Robson sample, the bookies can't either, let's just leave it alone.

Webster/Harms - Now we come to a BDO player with an even smaller sample than Robson, not sure I want any piece of this with Mark being the very slight favourite - Harms was at least scoring alright which may give him darts against Webster, which he didn't really get against Wade until it was too late, while Webster wasn't great at all and could easily have lost 5-0 himself. Avoiding, if only because Harms may already think he's out. Then again, if that gives him no pressure...

van Barneveld/Smith-Neale - Adam had a couple of OK scoring legs and a couple of duff scoring legs to start against Smith, which was enough to put him 4-0 down, he fought back a bit but it was too late then, Barney was there or there abouts in the legs that Ratajski won, I'm thinking Barney showed enough that I don't want to bet on the new World Master, which I'll probably regret.

Wade/Brown - 0.25u Brown 5/2, sure Wade is winning of late but Wade is nowhere near that big of a favourite here. If he'd smashed Harms out of the park then maybe, but he didn't, Brown simply cannot miss as many doubles as he did last night though.

Smith/Ratajski - Had Smith at 65%, he's 8/15, seems good enough a line to me.

van Gerwen/Clayton - 0.1u Clayton 9/1, is Clayton more than a one in ten shot? Over a race to five? Maybe on current form this happens less than the season long projections suggest, which includes Clayton beating van Gerwen in a best of eleven, but hey, stranger things have happened and it's not as if Clayton hasn't played van Gerwen on TV before. It's close to a free hit for the Ferret knowing he'll come back against Robson last game regardless.

Anderson/White - 0.25u White 23/10, it's White on TV but he chucked well yesterday so he should win this more than the roughly 30% of the time he'd need to for this bet to be profitable.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Grand Slam group stage game 1 bets

Getting them in early given it's the biggest game of the entire football season tomorrow night:

0.25u Payne 11/8 v Hopp, keep firing against Hopp and wait for it to work

0.25u Gilding 23/10 v Price, seems way, way too one sided in such a short format against an in form player

0.25u Durrant 5/6 v Whitlock, probably going to be a case of auto-betting Duzza the entire tournament

0.1u Mitchell 9/4 v Suljovic, reduced bet size given Mitchell's sample size and likely massive inconsistency

0.25u Brown 10/11 v Webster, simply in better form all season long

0.25u Ratajski 11/8 v van Barneveld, seems obvious

That's about it. I won't be back home until late Saturday so don't expect any updates before then.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Meet your Grand Slam competitors!

So the draw is out. Let's meet the players...

Group A sees world number 1 Michael van Gerwen who everybody knows about get what looks to be a fairly comfortable group. Jonny Clayton looks to be the main danger, qualifying through the Players Championship semi finals with a European Tour title as backup, but his form of late has been fairly hit and miss. Joe Murnan won through the qualifiers for a second straight year, but that Pro Tour bink out of nowhere seems a long, long time ago, he's not qualified for Europe all year or won a board on the Pro Tour once and is looking certain to lose his tour card. Gary Robson is the BDO representative, a quarter finalist at the World Masters and multiple finalist in minor BDO events pulling him up the rankings.

Group B has three PDC heavyweights - firstly Michael Smith, the Premier League finalist who added the World Series final last week, secondly Raymond van Barneveld, the five time worlds winner who's here through being not Michael van Gerwen in the World Cup, although the Masters final would have done as well, Ratajski was originally in through being the World Master then out, then in through winning a UK Open qualifier then out, then in through winning two Pro Tour titles in a weekend, then out, then Cadby withdrew, so here we are. These three could be quite close and the BDO wildcard is Smith-Neale, a long time PDC player who won the World Masters out of the blue to kickstart his career, if he plays like he did there he probably still won't win against this quality of group, but could cause problems in this short format.

Group C should be fine for James Wade, who's won two TV titles in two weeks, the highlight being the European Championship as it's ranked. We've got two PDC players from the last gasp qualifier - Keegan Brown's still easily the right side of 30 but it was four years ago where he made his name with a quarter final run and has been up and down since, while Mark Webster moved over after winning Lakeside, but after a decent first season it's been all too sporadic and his form is such that he hasn't even qualified for Ally Pally. Wesley Harms completes the lineup - I lack data on him but he was very good in the BDO around 2012-13, twice reaching the Lakeside semis, and has made it out of the group stage here before.

Group D looks fairly straightforward to call. Gary Anderson's won nearly everything in sight on TV, while Ian White's won nearly everything off TV. Steve Hine's mostly known for his Muffin Man gimmick rather than any real darting feats but has plenty of experience, while Michael Unterbuchner was a semi finalist at the last BDO worlds and a finalist in their World Trophy, and if White has a TV wobble as has happened occasionally this year, might not be completely out of it.

Group E is interesting - Peter Wright's the clear favourite to advance, the defending runner up spot being good enough, but he'd have liked to have added a few more titles this year. Hopp I'm still yet to be convinced about statistically, but is here from the European Tour win and should have the most stage experience of anyone else in the group, which could be key. Payne was the runner up in the world youth last year, and added a second Pro Tour title to his resume in May lest anyone think he's making up the numbers, while Jim Williams has had a great twelve months in the BDO where he's reached the final of whatever the call the Zuiderduin nowadays, the quarters of Lakeside where he lost a thriller to Glen Durrant, and the semis of the other BDO majors.

Group F is completely wide open. Whitlock is the seed having reached the final of the European Championship, but cannot be the favourite to advance - Gerwyn Price is in red hot form having recently won a European Tour title and made three TV quarter finals or better in the past month and a bit, and could easily have been seeded if the tournament had taken place a little bit later. Gilding we mainly know for his golden spell where he reached the UK Open semi final in 2015, but is fighting to save his tour card and every penny here might count - he's shown signs of getting back to his best on occasion and knocked out Adie Lewis to qualify here. Throw Glen Durrant into the mix, who is arguably a top ten player in the world regardless of code, and you've got an explosive mix which could come down to leg difference.

Group G has crowd favourite Mensur Suljovic looking to add a first ranking major, having nearly got there in the Matchplay. He looks to be the pick of the bunch, although you'll see below that in the limited data I have on former Lakeside Champion Scott Mitchell, Mitchell rates really highly - he had fairly early exits in all the BDO majors in 2018 but was not playing badly at all while doing so. There's two players from the PDC qualifier here to complete the group, and they're good ones - Bunting's a former Lakeside winner, whose career has been a bit like Mark Webster's in that after a good first year in the PDC he's never really kicked on, but has certainly done a lot more than Webster has from year to year to stick safely around on the fringes of the top 16, while Schindler qualified for two Grand Slams in one day - reaching the final of the world youth to make it in 2019, before coming through the qualifier for this year. He's been close to making breakthroughs on the senior tour for a while now and has been gaining a lot of stage experience over the last two years, which should start to show very soon.

Finally in group H, defending world champion Rob Cross will be looking to add to a somewhat barren sophomore professional year, having just added one World Series event win and one Pro Tour title to everything he did last year. Joining him in having a good Ally Pally and relatively garbage 2018 is Dimitri van den Bergh, the world youth champion being one game away from defending it, but his floor form in terms of results has been very weak, although the numbers suggest otherwise to some degree. Ryan Searle's in the second year of a tour card - won in exactly the same way as Cross won his, and has just sneaked into the worlds as well as having come through the qualifier here, and the TV experience could be useful - he should retain his card now, and had a good September with a final run on the Pro Tour and a good European Tour run indicating he is picking up form after a weak first few months of the year. Where this leaves Mark McGeeney, who knows - the Lakeside runner up and back to back Dutch Open winner is number one in the BDO rankings, and with the numbers he's put up I haven't got a clue why.

The key stats and projections - take some of the figures with a pinch of salt, particularly for the BDO players where sample sizes may be extremely limited:

Bets later in the week once lines get up.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Grand Slam field finalised

Odd selection of qualifiers. I picked out my eight to qualify after the draw was made, and got Andrew Gilding and nobody else, sure a couple were swinging for the fences (Gilding over Adrian Lewis being one), but I had Gurney, Cullen, de Zwaan and Darren Webster, none of which would be that unrealistic - the others were Luke Humphries who won at the weekend, as well as Ross Smith and Ryan Joyce who we know have been playing decent stuff.

That said, I don't think you can have too many complaints about who got there. Schindler I hope somehow gets in a group with both Hopp and Unterbuchner, and he's also into the world youth final against Dimitri - which gets Matt Edgar into the worlds by the looks of things, pleased for him as he seems like a nice guy on Twitter. I digress, Searle got through who's made a final this year, Bunting seems fine, Mark Webster's been off form for a while but is a former world champion so why not, Gilding I've already mentioned is hitting form, Murnan and Hine are weird ones, I guess Murnan really loves this qualifier having made it through twice in a row, and that just leaves Keegan Brown - sure a lot of big names missed, but it should create for some interesting draws.

The draw comes tomorrow (allegedly) - everyone should have enough data, BDO lads included, that I can shove everything into the master computer, try to project things, have most of the groups come with everyone within a point of each other and then just generally do my bollocks finding edges in best of nine high variance situations.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

World Series quarter finals

Well, that's another event that Michael van Gerwen isn't winning - I wanted to see in this one how Barney's doing, and ignoring the fact that he should have been out in the last sixteen but for Raymond Smith choking the game away in a deciding leg after Barney hit the most perfectly timed 180 of the year, he's looking good - you don't knock out the world number one without playing decently. He'll play Wadey, who took care of surprise package Jamie Lewis, a result which, combined with Dave Chisnall losing to Michael Smith (who faces Gerwyn Price in the other semi), locks Hopp and Ratajski into the Grand Slam, a tournament I'm much more interested in seeing Barney in.

It's the final weekend of the Development Tour - Luke Humphries bagged the first (and his eighth of all time) over Bradley Brooks, with George Killington going deep to keep his chances of Ally Pally going nicely. The second one went to Berry van Peer, who took out Geert Nentjes in a deciding leg, really pleased to see Berry do this after what's been a real struggle of recent times. Today, Dimitri van den Bergh took the win in the first one, over Geert Nentjes again - that score, by the looks of it, lifting him over Killington provisionally for the last qualification spot (Evetts has the first as of right now with Humphries, Schindler and van den Bergh having qualified by right) - Meikle kept slim hopes alive with a last sixteen run, but he basically needed a win in event 20 and he ran into Humphries early and went out. Killington's in a bit of an easier section of the draw right now - Nentjes plays van Tergouw, with a possible Humphries two rounds later, before the two of them would collide if they each got to the quarters. Evetts is in an OK section and should get enough to book the first spot in the worlds - his half of the draw looking a hell of a lot easier with everyone mentioned being in the other half, along with de Zwaan, Cole (who's not drawing completely dead for the worlds if he can bink the event), Dimitri, Heffernan, Brooks as well as Murschell, who's made a remarkable recovery to play this event.

Also, Wes Newton's somehow got himself into Lakeside, with an international spot (supposedly one of the Asian ones) going missing. I do hope that wasn't a case of the BDO pissing about for so long to confirm the event that the qualifier couldn't affordably book travel or something like that, but it's very much a mess regardless.

Grand Slam qualifier takes place tomorrow - I ran down the best players in terms of points per turn a few posts ago, but the eight players who are highest ranked in the FRH rankings who aren't there are Gurney, Webster, Chisnall, Cullen, Adrian Lewis, King, West and Bunting. That'd be a decent set of players, but you've also got Beaton, Wilson, Henderson, Huybrechts, Kyle Anderson, Wattimena, Klaasen, Jamie Lewis, de Zwaan, Norris, Lennon, North if you're looking at the top 20 - there's going to be some big names missing out on it. Then just imagine of the players that aren't there already that I haven't listed - the likes of Reyes, van der Voort, Dobey, Schindler, Noppert, O'Connor, Mansell, Clemens, Searle etc - they've all got the ability to go really deep and get through. It's going to be brutal. How do they seed the thing though? Are the eight top seeds just based on those who qualified automatically? If Gurney wins through the qualifier, does he get a seed based on that he's still top 5 in the world? Who knows, but hopefully they do the draw fairly sharpish so I can do previews in good time.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Wade being Wade and the World Series

Quickly was able to catch the last couple of games last night. Earlier, was interesting to see Jamie Lewis (and, to an extent, van den Bergh) find their floor games from nowhere, somewhat of a good sign for Dimitri with the Grand Slam coming up. Anderson beating White wasn't so much of a surprise, with me having pointed out Kyle's actually throwing better than his performances suggest, White again failing on TV isn't a great one though, although he's got another couple of chances before the worlds to turn floor form into TV form. Raymond Smith did pretty well and will be one to avoid in the worlds for sure, Heta/Langendorf was quickly forgotten, Chizzy easily dealt with Hopp, who replaced Murschell on short notice (odd that they said they called Hopp up on the World Series order of merit and he was the first that could get there - if it was in Glasgow again, who'd have been able to make it?), Price put away Lam with little trouble, Gurney whitewashed Beaton which is always a surprise, and then Wade was very solid on his own throw after both him and Ross Smith struggled early to move on.

Today I'm mostly interested in the Raymond derby to see how Barney's doing and whether he can just turn it on against a dangerous opponent, both the Anderson games could be decent, will want to see if Lewis can do it again... there's a few decent games but with this being unranked it's hard to be that interested in it. I suppose I might watch bits of it just because it's on, but counter-programming of the Premier League is also tempting. Frankly I'd rather watch a stream of the Development Tour if one was available. de Zwaan's playing it, which is interesting - Grand Slam qualifier warm up I guess?

On Wade, Chris Kempf posted up a piece on the PDC website that was interesting reading on how he perceives Wade to do what he does. First, he looks at the rate of killing on bull, where Wade's second behind Cullen at a barely believable 44%. Two things come into play here. First, sample size - how many outshots are people taking at bull? Sure, if you go ton-ton-ton 40 and then get the first two trebles you're not going to have too many options if you need to go for it, but if you're on 121 after nine by getting that one extra treble earlier? If you're on 141 after eight darts, you'd better have a bloody good marker on the treble to justify not going for bull right now. Or if you do stay on treble, and leave either 121 or 81, do we really want to take a route that forces you into an inner bull finish, or should we go bull first and set up an actual decent double? I'd fancy this doesn't correlate with success much at all, as a good player is probably taking a route that doesn't require them to finish on the bull in the first place. We've even seen Steve West go 17-double 17 on 91, which is one of the 91-95 finishes where you might think to go the bull route because double-double requires an awkward choice of doubles (92, 94 and 95 all involve a combination of tops, D18 and D16 in some combination, 93 leaves the same 74 left as 91 does). Where Wade having accuracy on the bull may make more of a difference is before the game even begins - winning the bull, as talked about on here a long time ago, makes a big difference.

Chris then talks about 140 rates in comparison to 180 rates, which seems a bit daft really - a 180 then a ton counts the same as two 140's, and this can be rolled up into one stat - what percentage of darts thrown at treble 20 hit treble 20. He also looks at stray darts, i.e. the number where someone does a Harrington and misses the big number, where Wade's got a low chance of doing that, relatively speaking. That said, he then goes on to say that he's able to threaten a twelve dart leg fairly often - so why isn't he actually hitting twelve dart legs that often? Given you say he's good at finishing on the bull, which is something you'll do a fair bit if you stay straight and are able to hit just enough treble 20's to leave a 121 or 81 out, and that he is also the best in the game at cleaning up two dart finishes, it seems weird that he hasn't hit that many twelve dart legs. Wade's played the second most legs in my database this year (only Ian White has more), but he doesn't even rank in the top ten for most twelve dart or better legs. He's tied for eleventh with Steve West, and has needed to play over 250 legs more than West to get that many, leaving Wade winning in twelve darts less than 10% of the time when he's actually won the leg.

What I think actually makes the difference is just the level of consistency. It's not Wade blowing people away with power scoring - it's more that he scores enough to not allow the opponent cheap legs. It's not even doing enough to win in fifteen darts - of the legs he's won this year, he's only at 58% in that stat, not even good enough for the top twenty (given a decent sample size). Legs won in eighteen darts is more interesting though - he's won more legs in eighteen darts than anyone in the database this year. Percentage wise, he's not that far up, just inside the top twenty with 91.5% of all legs won being in eighteen darts, but combine that with his losing average of exactly 90 - which if the opponent hadn't gone out, would leave him on average needing eleven for tops - exactly the sort of two dart out that Wade's apparently the best in the game at. The consistency rate that I've used in the past, taking the losing average away from the winning average, is also something that Wade's rated very highly at - there's some randoms with low winning averages that rate quite highly on that metric, but Wade is at 2.65 - good enough for the top 10 if you just consider those whose winning points per turn is above 90 (Suljovic, Dekker, Joyce, Ross Smith, Cross, Durrant, Dolan, Stevenson and Gary Anderson are ahead, but only Suljovic is below two points, Dekker's second best score being 2.11). So I think this is how he gets it done - he scores regularly enough that he leaves himself in a position to get an easy checkout a very high percentage of the time after twelve/fifteen darts, and then converts that into a finish an equally high percentage of the time. If you're wanting to beat Wade, then you're going to need a good leg yourself against the darts almost as often as anyone else you can think of.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Various news

Cadby's withdrawn from the Grand Slam, so chuck the previous post down the pan outside of who's averaging well of late.

BDO have confirmed TV for their majors for 2019 (well, Eurosport and Quest, how that's actually split I have no idea). They've also confirmed Lakeside - I had a look at the ticket prices, have a guess what percentage of a PDC final table ticket you'd need to pay for a BDO final ticket in the premium seating. Go on. I dare you.

We've had a few more international qualifiers lock up their spots - Koltsov was rumoured to have had it a couple of weeks ago, but has now actually got over the line for a third appearance, oddly being in-out-in-out-in from 2015 to 2019. James Bailey won the Oceanic Masters to claim his spot - he finished top five in the DPA rankings, having won two of their events as well as punting Q-School and trying the first weekend of the Challenge Tour - he did get into one of the World Series exbos and took a couple of legs off Gary Anderson. Finally, Nitin Kumar won the Prakash Jiwa qualifier - no idea if good old Prakash actually played it, but if he did, he wasn't close to qualifying. He's seemingly played the World Cup once, twice if dartsdatabase has, as I think, different spellings of his first name, and him and his partner(s) won a grand total of zero legs whichever way you look at it. This doesn't leave many spots now - we've got the two ladies' qualifiers, the end of the German superleague, the Chinese and Devon Petersen qualifiers, then the world youth and PDPA qualifier. That's it outside of the last weekends of the Development and Challenge Tours that could shake things up a touch.

150%. £99 for the BDO compared to £66. You couldn't make it up.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Grand Slam qualification

This has suddenly become a lot messier. If I'm reading things correctly, this is a Tour Card only qualifier, which is even worse news for Ratajski following Max Hopp's three missed match darts which would have seen him still have the last place in the qualification list. Oh well, at least he'll be at Minehead - but surely to be at Minehead he'd need to be a full member. Oh, PDC, your tour card system is so silly at times.

Still, we have 14 out of 16 players confirmed. Let's look at the form guide of who's scoring the most points per turn since we returned from the break, and see if it can give us some sort of guide as to who might make it through the qualifier. I'm just going to list Tour Card holders, so let's go:

1 Michael van Gerwen 98.63
2 Gary Anderson 96.76
3 Ian White 94.13 - Q1*
4 Mensur Suljovic 93.46
5 Jeffrey de Zwaan 93.43 - Q2
6 Michael Smith 92.84
7 Daryl Gurney 92.79 - Q3
8 Kyle Anderson 92.66 - Q4
9 Brendan Dolan 92.66 - Q5
10 Rob Cross 92.63
11 Stephen Burton 92.14 - Q6
12 Stephen Bunting 91.96 - Q7
13 Benito van de Pas 91.39 - Q8
14 Gerwyn Price 91.38
15 Simon Whitlock 91.36
16 Steve Beaton 91.34 - Q9
17 Dave Chisnall 91.30 - Q10

Now White is the fifteenth man in based on his European Tour win, hence the asterisk, so he's only going to be relevant if we get two random players grab the last two spots from the World Series. Both would need to be from the unseeded players, and you have Price, van den Bergh and Wade already in from the first round, so realistically you're looking at one of Gurney, Chisnall, White, Anderson or Beaton from the top half, whereas from the bottom it's much slimmer pickings, with only Jamie Lewis and Keegan Brown maybe doing something - this in a half with the world number one and the world champion. So you've got to think that White is safe. Which leaves you with numbers 2-9 from there.

Now alarm bells should be ringing when you read Benito's name, so if we filter it down to over 100 legs played since the break, he gets punted and Chisnall gets the last spot. But the qualifier is seeded - so who will the top eight seeds be? You're looking at, assuming White and Hopp hold on, Adrian Lewis, Daryl Gurney, Joe Cullen, Darren Webster, Dave Chisnall, Mervyn King, James Wilson and Danny Noppert. It's very, very possible that you have an absolutely brutal draw and get several of these players in the same section - dependent on how far down the seedings go.

I'm going to update the Second Division Darts table now, with not long left in the season we should be getting close to a final winner.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Instantly forgettable final

Real shame how the standards seemed to fall through the floor when it got to the business end of things. That might have been the lowest quality final since that exbo Suljovic won, as far as ranking major finals go I'm not sure when we've had a worse one, although I believe the Grand Prix wasn't the greatest. Still, congrats to Wade for getting the first win since forever, and Whitlock for making another major final - Wade's basically got to be in the Premier League now based off of his floor form as well, and with nobody making great cases, Whitlock returning isn't out of the question.

Got to feel for Hopp and Cullen really, I'd have thought if Cullen had have got over the line he'd have beaten whoever he drew in the final. Also feel for King and Ratajski, the runout being such that they've got sixteen qualifiers from the big events and the European Tour for the Grand Slam - so unless they make it through what could be a stacked qualifier, they're not going to be there. It'd be somewhat funny if Hopp, having had match darts to make the final, lost out because Gurney or someone else otherwise not qualified, made it all the way to the final of the World Series, which has the last two spots. A couple of interesting draws there - White/Kyle Anderson could be good, we've got all of last year's worlds specials in Lewis/DVDB/Cross in the same section, van Gerwen's got a really easy draw.

New FRH rankings:

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

Hopp is up to 25, in case you were wondering.

Dortmund semi final/final lines

Semi finals:

West - 27% vs Cross, 50% vs Cullen
Whitlock - 32% vs Cross, 56% vs Cullen
Webster - 40% vs Price, 47% vs Wade
Hopp - 24% vs Price, 30% vs Wade


West - 48% vs Webster, 64% vs Hopp, 38% vs Price, 45% vs Wade
Whitlock - 54% vs Webster, 70% vs Hopp, 44% vs Price, 52% vs Wade
Cross - 72% vs Webster, 85% vs Hopp, 63% vs Price, 70% vs Wade
Cullen - 48% vs Webster, 65% vs Hopp, 38% vs Price, 45% vs Wade

As I've got a few minutes before it kicks off, a few words on the FRH rankings and where players can rise to. Cross is locked into number 2 but can close the gap to van Gerwen to under 200,000 points with a win. Whitlock and Price are very close for numbers 10 and 11 right now, a win will see them both rise over White, Taylor and Smith, while a win would see either get into the top 5. Webster's a place behind but would need to make the final or go further than either of those two. Wade would also need a final to go any higher, that would see him pass Chisnall and Webster for number 12. Cullen's one spot behind Wade but would need a final to pass Wade, which'd also see him go over Chisnall, as well as Webster if he lost in the quarters. West is up into the top 20 again, a win in the quarters will get him over King, while reaching the final would see him get above Clayton and Lewis - binking would see him rise as high as number 7 potentially. That leaves Hopp - he's already passed Barney and reached the top 30, in at #28 - a win in the quarters would get him into the top 25, while reaching the final would see him just outside the top 20.

European Championship - from bad to worse

Yeah, that wasn't pretty at all. Let's start with the Hopp game - 156 checkout and the ten darter aside, Hopp didn't play all that great again - only four of the ten legs he won were in fifteen darts or less, three of those four being the legs to move from 7-6 down to 9-7 up - this was just Wilson not threatening the Hopp throw in the slightest outside of the breakback he got in leg ten. Hopp's first leg won was solid, but the next five he won, including one break, were all six visit legs - and what did Wilson have left after five visits? 66, 80, 7, 56 (in the break) and 142. So it was just the leg where he missed the 122 where he'd actually left a double, let alone had a dart at it. If he picks up just one of those to lead 8-5 rather than 7-6 when Hopp hit the ten darter to spark his run, does Hopp do that at all? It's questionable.

Elsewhere, Price looked good again against Chisnall, never really giving up much at all on his own throw, taking a couple of breaks when he was offered them and forcing a break in the eleventh with a four visit kill to make it 8-3 and effectively kill the game. Reyes/Webster sounded like a cracker to watch, maybe not the highest standard, but towards the end where they had that clownshow leg where nobody could hit a double, Reyes naturally follows up next leg with a ten darter, Webster holds then breaks to throw for the game at 9-8, misses match darts but thinks he'll be back unless Reyes hits a 145 out, which he does, then Reyes, waiting to return on 97 for the match, sees Webster go out 156 to break in the decider. Wade/Evans didn't see Ricky step up as we thought he'd have to - it's a tale of missed doubles, five to break in leg three, one to hold in leg four, two to hold in leg six, three to break in leg seven, at which stage the damage was done, Wade showing a bit of class at the end to go out 130 and 121 for the match and back to back twelve dart legs, fair play.

Wide open now - following on from where I mentioned Burton looking at the Slam permutations, I think Hopp making the final doesn't automatically knock King out, it just moves Hopp up from the fourteenth man in (from his Euro Tour title) to having a spot locked up, on top of the Price and Cross permutations. Anyone other than Cross (West, Whitlock, Cullen) in the top half would definitely knock King out, while Wade or Webster would see someone out in the bottom half. Price has clinched anyway as he's moved ahead of White on the Order of Merit, so Cross or Price making the final would see White clinch a spot as well.

Looking at the percentages to win this, Cross still leads the way with 36%, but Price is now second favourite on 17% - Whitlock, Webster and Wade all have 10% with West, Cullen and Hopp having 6%, 5% and 2%. I know that doesn't add up, that's rounding. For today's quarters, West/Whitlock is priced pretty closely with Whitlock around 55/45 ahead on the market. This is very close to how I'm reading it as well - Whitlock having 56% on the year long stats. It'd need a huge swing on the recent stats to even think about betting, and as it only moves 1% in favour of Whitlock, I'm not touching this one. Cullen/Cross is next with Cross being the 2-1 favourite. On the recent stats, that is bang on within a quarter of a percent to how the master computer is reading it. Season long I'm getting it a bit more in favour of Cross, up at 72%, so certainly worth thinking about, but if there is a differential in stage and floor form then this wouldn't show it and that's certainly a possibility for Cullen, Cross being pretty sluggish against North is enough to not bet. Third up is Webster/Hopp, which is a similar line to yesterday with Webster a slight favourite - a touch shorter than Wilson, but not much. Season long I'm seeing Webster as a 2-1 favourite. Since the Matchplay I'm seeing it as nearly 60/40 in favour of Webster. 0.25u Webster 10/13, I should probably go as strong as I did yesterday but the crowd could certainly help to pull things a little bit nearer, while Darren's got all the experience in the world, especially over the last couple of years in long leg play formats, you never know, it might give Hopp the extra couple of percent that warrants toning down the bet size. Let's not forget this is a huge pressure spot for Darren as well - win this and he's in the semis with a very winnable match to make his first major final. Last up is Price/Wade (at least according to oddschecker, dartsdata reckons this and the Hopp game are the other way around? If that's true, and it's true that the oddschecker order was there first and it was changed, that can only be to benefit Hopp, which is bent. The PDC website is still showing Hopp on third so we'll roll with that). Line has Wade at 8/11 to Price's 5/4 - which surprises me, I'd have thought it's either 10/11 pick your poison or Price would have the edge. Since the Matchplay, the model favours Price hugely. Enormously. It's over 70%, nearly 75%. Year long, it's a lot closer but still Price being favoured at 57%. We mention Wade and we have to talk consistency - Wade is, as you would expect, a lot tighter on that, averaging exactly 90 in losing legs compared to 92.65 when winning per turn - Price is 93.59 when winning, which explains why the model favours him, but only 88.08 when losing, giving Wade a quarter of a point overall lead. Still, I think I have to go 0.25u Price 5/4, it just feels as if the line is correct and he's certainly played better in the first two rounds.

Updated before the final session seem unlikely, so I'll make another post shortly putting the semis/final permutations through the master computer to guide you all.

Friday, 26 October 2018

European Championship Day 3 - now featuring an enormous mess

So I was hoping today would be a bit better on the betting front, then I have Anderson do not a lot wrong, Gerwyn slams in a four visit kill to break and lead 5-4 and that's that, O'Connor loses his mind, Schindler forgets to score, and we're then reliant on Chisnall to take out 157 with Lewis waiting on double 18 for the match to salvage something from round one. A bit more was clawed back in the evening session, with Whitlock running up a lead against Wright and holding off a comeback attempt to offset Cullen blowing Smith away after Michael missed far, far too many chances, and the net result is we're down three quarters of a unit so far. It could be worse, we could be that guy on Reddit who posted a "betting analysis", was called out by myself for not actually offering any analysis and generally not understanding how betting works, and then the post oddly disappears before we can work out how much he lost bridgejumping on a Suljovic/Gurney/Hopp treble. Oh well, you'll be alright.

Elsewhere, Michael van Gerwen is out of the event after Steve West took what van Gerwen offered him, which was really quite a lot, and with Suljovic and Wright gone, that's three of the top four seeds out before the quarters, and Price has no gimmie against Chisnall. It's really completely wide open - Burton's worked out that unless it's a Cross/Price final, the last guy in the Slam is getting dropped (I think it's King as of right now but I could be mistaken), if neither of them make it then Ratajski goes as well. Clearly Cross is now a huge favourite to reach the final and win the event with all of the biggest threats in his half of the draw falling - the outright projecton I posted the other day I've updated with the results and, while I have nowhere near the time to make small alterations to everyone's chances per match, on the season long numbers before Dortmund that drove these figures, Cross is now odds on to reach the final and 35% to bink overall. Looks like Hills are the only ones with an outright line up and it's 2/1, so that seems about right. Chizzy's now the favourite to make it out of the bottom half, but it's barely one in four - Webster, Wilson, Price and Wade are all above 13% to do the same.

So, tomorrow evening's matches, and we've got the bottom half's second round. Price/Chisnall is first up and the market's 60/40 in favour of Dave despite what the seedings say. That looks to be pretty close. Season long I've got Price between 41% and 42%, he's probably actually playing a little bit better of recent but I can't justify a bet.

Reyes/Webster is next, with Darren being a bit more of a favourite in the market up at 65% or so with a best price just better than 1/2. If this was Reyes playing peak Reyes quality to beat Suljovic, I might be concerned, but it really wasn't, there was only one fifteen dart kill - Mensur just couldn't score. Webster played a very good match to edge Bunting, and he's a prohibitive favourite on the shorter sample after the summer break at better than 80%, although season long it's just 63%, which isn't enough to bet. I'll pass this one as well, while Reyes hasn't been involved in a long leg play match since seemingly forever and Webster's been good at the format, there's always the nagging doubt that the result, if not the performance, could spark peak Reyes, and if so, watch out.

Third is Wade/Evans, with comparable odds to the previous two, Wade being the favoured party. Wade was just professional against a misfiring Schindler, while Evans really did nothing special against Gurney, just taking advantage of two poor legs to get the break back and then winning break he needed. Season long I think this is 60/40 Wade, since the summer where Ricky's had the run that got him here I think it's a flip. 0.25u Evans 2/1, looks like we have a solid enough edge but we're definitely reliant on Ricky picking his game up a touch.

Last is Hopp/Wilson in a match that the bookies can't really split, Wilson being on the right side of a weighted coinflip. Wilson's been playing far too well all season and is far too experienced to get into any shenanigans with the crowd or let it affect him in the slightest, so with me seeing him having better than a two in three shot season long and still over 60% since the break, 0.5u Wilson 10/11 looks a plum spot, Hopp's at home but this will be a longer game than he's used to - Wilson did take five from six legs against Clayton in under fifteen and averaged 107 in the two legs he lost, so it's not like he crept home. Hopp had two good legs to start and it was a bit of a mutual trainwreck from there.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

European Championship Friday round 2 updates

Seems a pretty silly bit of scheduling thinking about this tournament - afternoon session on the Friday, but no afternoon session on the Saturday? Then again, the event is literally a stone's throw away from the Westfalen and Dortmund do have a home game on the Saturday afternoon, so not programming against that seems somewhat sensible. That'd be an amazing day of sport though - BVB/Hertha immediately followed by van Gerwen, Cross, Wright, Smith et al? Knew I should have booked tickets for this on spec and just seen what the fixture computer threw up.

0/2 on bets today - Lennon at least ran Smith close until Smith hit one great leg to break, hold for 5-3, then for the second time in the match Lennon couldn't go out in 21 darts on his own throw. Wattimena did nothing, well within the range of outcomes. Elsewhere, what the heck was wrong with Ian White's game - I thought he had genuine chances to go deep and he loses 6-1 to Richard North? Otherwise, it was mostly chalk and mostly one-sided forgettable games - West/King was as tight as we thought it would be, going to a decider and needing West to kill 106 after King wired bull for a 126 out, Noppert hung around against Cross for quite a while until a combination of his scoring falling off and Rob putting on the afterburners saw a 4-2 lead quickly turn into a 6-4 defeat. Nicholson was fun for two legs I guess.

There's preliminary lines out for Saturday evening. Oddschecker just has Smith/Cullen, but at least one bookie has lines for everything already and nowhere's going to be that far off.

Smith/Cullen's got Smith nearly at 1/2, is that fair? Maybe, I think it's overrating Cullen a bit. Cullen, first leg aside, really didn't play that great, Klaasen missing a stack of doubles and only getting the legs he did because Joe did the same, Smith averaged a ton and would have averaged a lot more if Lennon didn't throw junk in the first and last legs (although, if that happened, Smith is likely going home), I'm seeing this at nearly a 3-1 game in favour of Smith, so 0.5u Smith 4/7, this looks a fairly safe edge. Whitlock/Wright is next, Wright just held in six visits and broke in five every single time, pretty pedestrian stuff but not easy to really punish heavily, while Whitlock won the first leg in sixteen darts but needed no more than fifteen in any other in a 6-3 thrashing of Steve Beaton, the last two legs he won being twelve darters. The model's giving Whitlock a 35% shot - and a lot more on recent form, although on recent form the model hated Wright in the last round as well. But hey, we have the odds to go with it over the full sample quite comfortably - 0.25u Whitlock 3/1. North/Cross is third up, we talked a bit about how their games went earlier, it's a tough ask and the line looks good. We can just about get 4/1 on North, but a full sample is giving him only 21%, so there's not much there. A smaller sample is thinking he's got better chances, but betting North against the world champion in a race to 10 just seems wrong. Last is van Gerwen/West, as you'd expect the odds are pretty comical, West was OK but van Gerwen was superb, continuing his incredible form of late. For once odds of double digits odds on seem justified - especially in the more recent samples, which are putting West below 10% on the chances to come through.

That's it, today we had the longer punts, tomorrow we've got the better shots I think.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

European Championship round one bets

Projections are done and the lines have been up for a while now, so let's have a look at the Thursday evening and Friday afternoon sessions to see what we like, I'll also have a bit of a play with reducing the sample to look at form a bit more, generally after the summer break:

West/King - I'm seeing this one as the closest game of the round, with West not even having a cigarette paper's advantage, that's how marginal it is. The bookies also have it close but are leaving King 6/5 out there on offer, which season long is just about tempting, but when I close it down to a more recent sample, the model loves West, and by loves, I mean it's infatuated with West and has made a marriage proposal, it's almost that one sided that I want to bet West at 8/11... smaller samples are more prone to variance though, so I'll just pass the opener.

White/North - Line looks good on first inspection, 4/9 White when I'm pegging him at 70% is round about where I'd expect it to be. Ian is a little bit better than that on the more recent sample at around a three in four shot, not quite enough to punt though.

Whitlock/Beaton - 4/6 Whitlock with Simon being around 53% season long isn't of interest, there's a fair bit of vig so I'm not inclined to bet Beaton either, although he did have a good weekend... the model barely moved however when I shortened the sample, not even 1%, it'd be in our favour but this looks tight enough to go down to who wins the bull - and Whitlock likes a bull.

Smith/Lennon - Michael's rightly well favoured, but Lennon's no mug over this distance, and the numbers seem to back this up. If anything, Steve's playing better now than he has been all year despite his big breakthrough coming in May - over 40% to win this on the recent sample, coupled with one in three season long, points to 0.25u Lennon 13/5.

Cullen/Klaasen - Jelle's been putting up god awful numbers all year, but Cullen's been pretty average on the Pro Tour so the year long figures settle at round about what the odds suggest. Cullen's numbers since the break though are a bit better, but a 68% win chance on that sample at 4/7 isn't really tasty.

van Gerwen/Nicholson - Can we bet Paul? We can't bet Michael at 1/14. I don't think we can - 16% season long might be worth it at 10/1, but more recently van Gerwen's been on fire, giving Nicholson less than a 7% chance.

Cross/Noppert - Cross is close to value here, better than 1/3 with a 75% shot indicates you should at least consider him for an accumulator/banker, but does Noppert's recent win and general play warrant any bet recommendations? Not really, it just brings Cross's chances in to more or less where the line is, Danny having 27% at 5/2 is close enough for me to ignore it.

Wright/Wattimena - Jermaine's been playing a lot of darts, but has he been playing at a good enough level to upset Snakebite? 30% year long at 10/3 would normally be tempting in itself, but from September onwards? Where Wright has won a Pro Tour event, made the Champions League final (although that doesn't count in the stats) and finalled the Grand Prix (which also doesn't)? Jermaine actually projects to win the game. Weird, I know. 0.25u Wattimena 10/3.

Clayton/Wilson - Another really, really tight game on the projections to kick off the second session, this time it's Clayton they're offering 6/5 on. It's a similar story however to the West/King game, in that the more recent stats favour Wilson enough that the line looks right. It's not the stupid swing in the West game, but it's just enough that it corrects from very tiny marginal value to nothing whatsoever.

Webster/Bunting - These guys met at the Grand Prix, and Webster won comfortably, the bookies however can barely separate them, and neither can I, giving Darren the slightest edge which with him being 5/6 looks like another no bet. It's another weird one like the West game whereby if we severely reduce the sample, one guy springs out to be a huge favourite - and that's Stephen Bunting. I'll generally only go for using the smaller sample if the larger sample was already hinting at a bet, and it wasn't.

Price/Anderson - Gerwyn has the 60/40 line edge in a game I'm projecting Anderson to win. Price has been playing better of late, getting that Euro Tour title hints at that, but the more recent games favour Kyle even more. You wouldn't have thought it, but as I said in the last write up, if it was hinting towards a bet and it swings even more in our favour, we'll go with it - 0.25u Anderson 29/20.

Suljovic/Reyes - Hard to work out how Cristo's got here, it's a name that's dropped from the radar a little bit, just steady qualifying getting him there. Mensur we know more about and he's nearly as short at 1/4, which on the season long stats looks too short, but we can't consider it - Reyes, based on games in the last two months, has less than a 10% chance at pulling the upset.

Gurney/Evans - Market has this at 2-1 in Daryl's favour, roughly where I thought it would be but Evans might be small value. It would only be small value however, and the form guide makes it even smaller - 37% season long, 35% from the September/October games... at 2/1 there's really not enough there.

Hopp/O'Connor - Max is the favourite in the books, O'Connor is the favourite in the projections. 55% offered 13/10 looks nice unless the form guide gives us any reason not to do it... form guide likes Hopp a bit more, but only so much that it becomes almost an exact coin flip. 0.25u O'Connor 13/10 to take out the home nation player.

Wade/Schindler - German number two coming in now against the Machine, if you read the previous post you'll know that Martin's figures in the Players Championship have been great, and in everything all year they're good enough to make this close, over the last couple of months however he's really rocking into form, enough that it's making him around a 55/45 favourite. Odds against and with homefield advantage? Yes please, 0.25u Schindler 7/4.

Lewis/Chisnall - Oddschecker's somehow throwing up a line involving Jamie Lewis on Sportingbet, lol, the market says this is a flip, I'm favouring Dave over the course of the season, and the form guide tends to think the same thing - upping his chances by a couple of points or there abouts to make it exactly 60/40. That's good enough for a bet, 0.25u Chisnall 20/21.

Six bets, only one of them odds against, let's see what happens.

Some Players Championship statistics

Thought I'd share a few things with you - DartConnect has a fair bit of info in the "tour leaderboard" section, but I don't find a lot of it particularly useful, and for the love of god they need to add some tooltips to the headers as I have no idea what a bunch of them mean. So I will - I'm filtering on the Players Championship dates, and for the rate stats I'm imposing a 200 leg minimum. That's basically nine legs per tournament, not that huge a number, which brings it down to 120 players. It cuts out the likes of Cadby and Ratajski who only played a small number, and it also cuts out the likes of Groen - while he's played sixteen events, it's hard to get up to 200 with the results he's had, so, without further ado, some stats and commentary:

Most legs won:

1 Adrian Lewis 455
1 Ian White 455
3 Gary Anderson 381
4 James Wilson 378
5 Rob Cross 376
6 Michael Smith 373
7 Dave Chisnall 364
8 James Wade 359
9 Jermaine Wattimena 353
10 Steve Beaton 348

You'd expect White up there, but Lewis is an interesting name to tie with him - he has made quite an effort this year, he's not missed an event and while he's not won one, three finals, two semis and three quarters are a fair few legs and he's been pretty consistent in not going out too early. Shout out to James Wilson - the win will come someday.

Most legs lost:

1 Adrian Lewis 301
2 Ian White 293
3 James Wilson 286
4 Dave Chisnall 280
5 James Wade 278
6 John Henderson 277
7 Michael Smith 261
8 Jermaine Wattimena 260
8 Stephen Bunting 260
10 Rob Cross 258

Who knew that playing a lot of darts at this level will see you lose a lot of legs as well as win them. It takes until you get down to Rowby John Rodriguez at 211 legs lost that you find someone with more legs lost than won - to accumulate a lot of lost legs, you've got to play a lot of legs, and to play a lot of legs you've got to win a lot of matches.

Highest overall points per turn:

1 Michael van Gerwen 96.98
2 Gary Anderson 95.22
3 Rob Cross 93.86
4 Mensur Suljovic 93.84
5 Ian White 93.46
6 Michael Smith 93.18
7 Peter Wright 92.78
8 Dave Chisnall 92.54
9 Adrian Lewis 92.18
10 Jeffrey de Zwaan 91.97

For any Germans reading, erstlich willkommen, and Schindler and Clemens are both just outside the top 10, Schindler 11th and Clemens 15th. That's the list of names you'd expect to see really, but let me throw up a few other names that are up in the top 40 - Ross Smith's just outside the top 10. Brendan Dolan's only one spot behind Daryl Gurney, both in the top 20. Paul Nicholson's in the top 30. Jamie Lewis, who we've seemingly not heard much from at all this year, is up there. Stephen Burton has had a solid season to end up over 90 on this stat.

Lowest overall points per turn:

1 Ross Twell 79.29
2 Eddie Dootson 81.09
3 Jamie Bain 82.22
4 Aden Kirk 82.89
5 Mark Dudbridge 83.34
6 Jarred Cole 83.63
7 Robbie Green 83.72
8 Chris Quantock 83.74
9 Gary Eastwood 83.98
10 Devon Petersen 84.11

For those that are wondering where Benito is, he's below 85 on this as well at 17th, but there's a few interesting names here - Scott Taylor's in the lowest 20, and he's made a final this year. Ronny Huybrechts is just in the bottom 20 as well. Jamie Caven, Jelle Klaasen and Justin Pipe are all down in the bottom 30.

Highest percentage of legs won:

1 Michael van Gerwen 68.52%
2 Gary Anderson 62.77%
3 Ian White 60.83%
4 Adrian Lewis 60.19%
5 Peter Wright 59.58%
6 Rob Cross 59.31%
7 Michael Smith 58.83%
8 Darren Webster 58.49%
9 Steve Beaton 58.10%
10 Jermaine Wattimena 57.59%

Just how much better is van Gerwen than everyone else? This should be a pretty good indication.

Lowest percentage of legs won:

1 Eddie Dootson 32.20%
2 Terry Temple 32.23%
3 Ross Twell 32.59%
4 Jamie Bain 36.58%
5 Mark Dudbridge 37.87%
6 Robbie Green 38.54%
7 Kevin Burness 39.22%
8 George Killington 39.56%
9 Steve Hine 39.78%
10 Gary Eastwood 39.85%

Burness is in the World Championship, and Killington might be as well through the Development Tour. That might not be too pretty.

Highest percentage of won legs done so in fifteen darts or less:

1 Michael van Gerwen 72.76%
2 Michael Smith 67.83%
3 Gary Anderson 66.14%
4 Gerwyn Price 64.38%
5 Ian White 63.96%
6 Rob Cross 62.77%
7 Jeffrey de Zwaan 62.28%
8 Dave Chisnall 61.54%
9 Steve Lennon 61.32%
10 Martin Schindler 60.81%

Look, look, Schindler's on a list!

Monday, 22 October 2018

European Championship outrights preview

So earlier this evening I shoved 400+ permutations of matches into the master computer, and this is what it spat out:

Isn't it beautiful? Why yes, it is, but what can it tell us?

It shouldn't surprise anyone to think that we shouldn't bet on Michael van Gerwen - the way the draw has come out is an absolute bastard, and we already looked at this previously. But can we find value elsewhere? If you're looking each way you might want to have a look at the percentages to make the final - the model is loving Chisnall and, oddly, Kyle Anderson - these are season long stats, so if you want to discount options based on form, be my guest, but if you filter on just since September instead, while his consistency plummets, Kyle's scoring on winning legs, at a similar percentage to Suljovic for comparison with a greater sample, is a top six game, and looking overall in that time span, he has a top ten points per turn sandwiched between Michael Smith and Daryl Gurney. That bottom quarter has a lot of players of fairly similar standards, and he's a big price - if he can click, as he did when he beat Suljovic in their most recent game, then there is nobody in that bottom quarter, maybe even the whole bottom half, that he can't beat. This is the major event where he's had the deepest run and probably should have won it, so who knows.

Chizzy's another alternative - like Kyle he's got a tough opening game, that eighth of the draw that they're all in is incredibly tough to call, but let's look at the top bit. Ian White and Michael Smith might be worth a look. White we've eulogised about for months now, but Smith's numbers throughout the year are really good, and he's a decent price. It could be the better punt - White's going to have to go through Cross in round two, which isn't easy, whereas Smith would get there a round earlier, but think about this - if Smith does beat Cross, then it'd be at the same stage as a probable van Gerwen/Wright matchup. There's a big chance that you can realise a hell of a lot of your equity in the bet if van Gerwen does lose to Wright, as has happened a few times this season - the odds would plummet in that event and then it's just a case of risk tolerance, and if not, Smith's never going to be drawing dead against anyone.

We won't be touching Suljovic, who while he's a decent shot to make the final and actually the most likely to do so, he doesn't do it enough to really warrant an each way bet. We won't be touching Lewis or Wade, who seem way too short on name value in a packed area of the draw that our projections like a hell of a lot more. 10/1 for Wright seems comical given he'd probably be around 3/1 if not worse in the quarter final and then still have to advance through two really tough games in the semis and final. We'll look at things a bit more on the first round matches probably on Wednesday, including the bets, but the first round projections aren't going to change in the interim period so you can look at the odds and draw your own conclusions as to what you think we'll be suggesting.

Two quick things - the breakeven percentage should be fairly obvious, it's the percentage based on the odds that someone would need to win in order for a bet to be profitable (indicating that, taking the best prices of all bookies earlier this evening, it's a nice 12% overround for them, and you wonder why I just bet single matches). Also, I don't think I mentioned who had the worst points per turn for qualifiers (over 50 legs played) on the European Tour this year. It's none other than Robert Thornton.

edit - I have no idea why there's no conditional formatting on the win% column, don't drink and spreadsheet kids

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Ratajski hype

He's only gone and done it again, hasn't he? In a final where whoever won, de Zwaan got done over for the last Grand Slam spot, Krzysztof managed to defeat Adrian Lewis to do the double and immediately secure a bunch of things - the tour card looked safe, but getting into the Slam (whereby apparently the first tiebreaker amongst players winning Players Championship events is actually the number that they've won, who knew) and getting a much better seed at Minehead. It's all a bit of a mess in terms of permutations for Minehead and the worlds, by the looks of things Tabern, Edgar, Taylor, Hunt and Alcinas were among the last few people to make Minehead with van de Pas, Woodhouse and O'Connor being the last few players out, Jimmy Hendriks also being close despite hitting a nine today, while Luke Humphries making it all the way to the semi finals was just one round short of making it.

As far as the worlds goes, it's looking like Humphries just did enough, just eliminating Edgar, Gilding and Razma, Justin Pipe also being a player that also missed out - while there's still things that can still change, in that Pipe just being outside the seeds but making a ridiculous run in the Grand Slam qualifier would allow him to get in, a lot has been cleaned up.

A word on the game between Suljovic and Kyle Anderson - that might be one of the highest level games that's ever been seen on the Pro Tour. It finished 6-4 to Anderson, but between them they won all ten legs within fifteen darts, half of those within twelve darts, and they were scoring heavily enough that both were scoring over 100 per turn on the legs they didn't win. Really sick stuff.

New FRH rankings:

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

Kyle Anderson is up into the top 25 following his semi final today, while Barney is down to number 28, below both Klaasen and Wattimena in terms of the Dutch rankings, with de Zwaan probably coming close real soon. Ratajski cracks the top 40 for I think the first time, up to number 38.

Over the next week I'll preview the European Championship and do some more looks at how things stand in the tour card race as well as some season long Players Championship stats.

Asian Tour 2 - Electric Boogaloo

While I wait for the final Players Championship of the year - congrats to Ratajski on binking it and probably securing a tour card as a result, pity for Dobey to lose in another final, and today's huge as the last event before a bunch of cutoffs, can Gilding get into the worlds? He's playing as good as he ever has but he needs to get results right now. But while I wait, Scothead180 made an interesting point on Reddit re: the Asian Tour, querying whether the stats would look better if we filtered down on just the quarter finals onwards, as in the earlier rounds, players may not play their best stuff. TheMaximum180 didn't make a good point, referencing irrelevancies like averages and one player having three good visits to the board once, but let's ignore that...

This is understandable reasoning given the general quality of the Asian Tour, or at least the spread of quality. That said, are players really going to take it that much easier dependent on the opponent? There's a few things in play here - first the nature of darts, this isn't a game like snooker where, if you're playing a worse player, you can try to keep it safe and wait for your opponent to make the first mistake, as he'd be more likely to do - outside of a few small spots where your opponent's score is going to potentially affect your choice of route on a checkout, the two players are in discrete games, and there's no real advantage to be gained by slowing things down. It's a six round, very occasionally seven round tournament - that isn't that long and it's only a race to five, it's not like the Challenge Tour where you're doing two events in a day and you might think about pacing yourself, if indeed you can - how easy is it to turn your A-game on and off anyway?

But let's think about one thing that might happen - if you're playing against a weaker player, and maybe you play things a bit safer or just having a bad leg, that bad leg is more likely to count than if you're playing in the worlds - against a 70 average player you'll get a seven visit kill count most of the time, against a top 10 player he's gone out and you just need to look into the losing averages at the same time and see if there's a huge difference in consistency. So let's do what Scothead suggested - I'm going to filter from the last sixteen onwards - firstly to give more sample, but secondly, that's around about the type of level where all the real crap is filtered out - while these five seem to be above the rest at least in terms of money won, if you chuck in the likes of Muramatsu, Perez, Harith Lim, Ono, Park etc, you'll have a competent enough opponent.

So what do the stats look like now? Let's see:

Player by player, Ilagan actually has worse stats than in the whole sample, although it's only ever so slightly, Malicdem's a bit better, getting his 15 or less above 40% and becoming one of two players in the sample to over 80%, albeit only just. Lim's got a huge jump in twelve darters, is up at 56% of legs in fifteen darts and over 88% of legs in eighteen darts - which is pretty damned solid really - it's similar numbers to Steve West and Keegan Brown, without the same level of four visit kill explosiveness (Brown has an 11.6/55.7/88.4 stat line, West 12.3/55.6/88.1). Lam is a little better in that he's got above 30% of legs won in fifteen darts and is now up to 75% of legs won in eighteen darts, but that's still nothing to threaten anybody, while Asada actually has an even larger sample of legs won very slowly, but at least has got up to 45% of legs won "in par" compared to just under 40% in the whole sample.

So do the numbers look better? Generally yes. Do they make the players look like they might compete? Apart from Lim, who looked the best before, no - but Paul Lim being a competitive darts player isn't exactly new and exciting news.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Outright betting for the European Championship

This is something I've briefly touched on before I think, it may even have been the exact same sort of post. Michael van Gerwen is a current best price of 10/11 to win the European Championship. The question is whether this is value or not. My initial assumption would be no, if only because his half of the draw is absolutely brutal - let's look at a best and worst case scenario for each round, and then see what chances the master computer thinks he has of binking the whole thing. Bear in mind that, in order to make a profit, van Gerwen needs to win the whole tournament 53% of the time.

Round 1 - Paul Nicholson

This is clearly a best or worst case. While Nicholson certainly isn't the hardest opponent he could hope to face, the first round is just best of eleven. Anything can happen in a best of eleven format. It was only two years ago where van Gerwen himself was a dart away from elimination against Simon Whitlock. The computer thinks that van Gerwen wins this match 83.93% of the time. That's already eating over 14% of the 47% that we can afford to give up - mostly this is the format, if these two met in round two, van Gerwen would be over 90%. In this format he's lost this year to Schindler, Razma, Dolan, Clayton, White, O'Connor... would Nicholson really be that odd?

Round 2 - Steve West/Mervyn King

Now we come onto games where we have a choice. These two, if they faced, would project to see King win 51% of the time, so let's say King is the worst case scenario. Here, in a longer format, van Gerwen wins 87.94% of the time - but 87.22% against West? That's a strange one, but we'll roll with it - that now makes van Gerwen 73.2% or 73.81% to make the quarters depending on his opponent. That's already more than half our wiggle room gone and we've not even hit a top ten player yet!

Quarter final - Simon Whitlock/Peter Wright/Jermaine Wattimena/Steve Beaton

Pretty obvious worst case scenario here, and that's running into Snakebite, who having not won one of these where they got shared about quite a bit, finds himself as the number 9 seed. While Wright's managed to get some key wins, he still is a big dog, with van Gerwen winning 74.41% of the time. What of the best case? That'd be Jermaine, who van Gerwen projects to defeat a whopping 91.64% of the time. It's the first one where we have a bit of deviation, in the worst case, van Gerwen's now down to 54.47% in a worst case - considering that rounds one and two don't have much deviation and Wright is surely a huge, huge favourite to make this stage, this is also the most likely case if you ask me. In a perfect world for MvG he advances 67.64% of the time, just more than two in three - a fair bit better, but still with plenty of early exits.

Semi final - Ian White/Joe Cullen/Michael Smith/Rob Cross/Danny Noppert/Steve Lennon/Jelle Klaasen/Richard North

Boy, that's a fun section. If all those top four advance to round two, the remainder of this quarter will be must see TV. The big danger here ought to be Cross, who van Gerwen in a now longer best of 21 format, defeats 72.97% of the time, but oddly enough Smith actually beats van Gerwen a bit more often, van Gerwen winning that one 71.37% of the time. Smith's actually averaging more on the winning legs than Cross is, oh boy. White would also have better than a one in five shot at him. Best case? Klaasen and it's not really that close - van Gerwen should beat Klaasen 95.61% of the time. This leaves him in the final 64.67% of the time given the easiest run, but 38.88% of the time given the worst run out.

Final - Anyone else that's left

We've already mentioned the vast majority of the FRH top 10 that are actually playing this - it's only Gurney and Suljovic that aren't there, with Price, Webster, Chizzy etc just outside, Lewis is there as well. It might surprise you to learn that Dave Chisnall has the best chance of beating MvG, with van Gerwen only winning 76.27% of matches, it might also surprise you (or not, depending on how much you read here) to see that Max Hopp would be the best opponent, who van Gerwen ought to beat 95.02% of the time.

So what's our worst case scenario? van Gerwen lifts the title 29.65% of the time - which makes a fair line somewhere between 9/4 and 5/2. In the best run, he takes the crown 61.45% of the time - around 8/13 being the right price. His actual chances are obviously somewhere in the middle, but they're going to be weighted fairly strongly towards the better run - he'd have to do well to avoid Wright, avoid all of White/Smith/Cross, then avoid all of the decent players listed in the final. Let's just say I won't be lumping on van Gerwen to lift the title. Nicholson at 10/1 to win the first round though? That's a tempter...

Monday, 15 October 2018

So, about that Asian tour...

Now that's done, what do we know about the qualifiers? It turns out, thanks to DartConnect, a hell of a lot more than what we have done in previous years, because they're giving us lots of juicy statistics to look at. So, of the five that have made it out, how quickly have they finished legs? Let's see:

I'm only listing events 3-12, firstly because events one and two appear somewhat broken on DartConnect, and secondly it always seems better to use more recent data, and ten events (even if they didn't play them all - Asada missed the last couple and Ilagan/Lam missed some of 5/6) is a nice round number that should give a good sample - they've all won over 150 legs, with Ilagan having the largest count at 213.

What does this tell us? It tells us a lot more than averages - as we know from way back when I took my postings onto this blog, averages mean nothing and rise when playing against good players - and there's certainly plenty of players on the Asian Tour which, to put it nicely, wouldn't generally be described as good. There's a heck of a lot of 5-0's, 5-1's etc where these guys are going to have to do all the doubling legwork with the reduction in averages that brings about.

What it does tell us is how quickly they'll score the requisite 501 points to win a leg. Now having a 5% chance of winning a leg in twelve darts isn't terminal - there's plenty of players in my database with numbers in that region - Wayne Warren is under 5%, Cody Harris is even lower than him, heck, Paul Hogan (for it is he) only managed two legs from 35 in that speed in the UK Open (although, in fairness, it was a bit chilly). Challenge Tour king Michael Barnard is only just over 4% (on the main tour). That's more a rating about explosive scoring and the ability to get a break from nowhere.

What is more concerning is that none of them finish half their legs in fifteen darts or better, and none of them (apart from Lim) finish 80% of their legs in eighteen darts or better. Over my whole database of over 45,000 legs (of which only a fairly small percentage is the BDO), the percentage of legs finished in five visits is 50.8%. Only Lim comes remotely close to that. Sure, there's plenty of players that have less than that (Hopp and Mansell are less this season and they've won on tour this season, Klaasen is and he's a former world champion who's qualified for multiple majors this year), Barnard again is, Norris, Labanauskas, McGeeney... van de Pas is down at 37%! But van de Pas is at least getting 80% of legs in eighteen darts or better (exactly, in case you were asking). There's really very few players below 80% that Porter or Hearn could give a WC wildcard to without you thinking they've both been on a week long spice bender. Maybe a Baxter or a Caven that are "name" players but haven't been relevant for years. Lerchbacher possibly, he's at least over 10% for twelve dart legs. Robbie Green or Devon Petersen? Mark Walsh (sorry Burton)? John Part? Ted Evetts?

Just looking at the fifteen and eighteen dart percentages, Lim's very comparable to Ryan Harrington, Davy van Baelen and Diogo Portela, Ilagan to Barry Lynn, Asada to Jim Brown and Lee Harris, Malicdem to Keith Geraghty, and finally Lam to Aden Kirk. If you're asking who half of those players are, then think before looking at the world championship draw and betting on any of these guys.

European Championship field decided - what looks interesting?

Firstly, hold mother of god was MvG playing well in this tournament. That final display with five out of eight legs won in twelve darts or better, and every single other round also looking excellent? That's got to be one of the best tournament displays of the season, and incredibly ominous as we rapidly approach the business end of the season.

Let's get the new FRH rankings out of the way first:

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

Hendo's last sixteen appearance puts him ahead of Steve West by a few hundred points, and he's almost exactly a thousand points ahead of Steve Beaton as well. The big beneficiaries in the top 20 are obviously Wade and Smith, Klaasen's quarter now puts him ahead of Barney for a surprising #2 spot in the Dutch rankings, although while Jelle's #25, Wattimena and de Zwaan are also in the top 30. North as a result of the semi final climbs into the top 40 at the expense of Dimitri van den Bergh, while Matt Edgar hits the top 80.

The European Championship is done in ranking order. You'd think that, over the course of a season, the best players will end up towards the top of the rankings, right? Well let's see - if we have a minimum rule of 50 legs played on the European Tour, let's run down the top players in terms of points per turn on the European Tour, and see how it compares to the seedings they got for Dortmund - a special prize for you if you can guess who has the lowest points per turn on the European Tour that has played more than 50 legs:

Grey indicates the player didn't qualify (and while this includes players without much sample, it'll also include players that did have a decent sample but still didn't get there), red indicates a player who got a worse seeding than their points per turn would suggest, green indicates the opposite, and yellow indicated you're the best player that's ever lived.

From what I like in the first round, Price/Anderson has the potential to be good if Kyle can bring his game, Hopp/O'Connor could be entertaining, Clayton/Wilson seems hard to call initially while Lewis/Chisnall and a lot of the other games in general between the middling seeds appear to have potential. I'll do more in depth once the last two Players Championships are done, which are going to be huge - we've already seen the likes of Matt Edgar, who's right on the borderline, withdraw from the World Series qualifier to concentrate on it - seems an odd decision, surely the best way to prepare for competitive darts is competitive darts, and one would think that he'd be in or around Barnsley the night before anyway, but there you go. We've also had the last of the Asian Tour, Lim and Maclidem confirmed what looked to be surefire places anyway after Asada won the Japanese qualifier, but the i's are now dotted and the t's crossed, so we're now getting much closer to knowing the field with half of the non-Pro Tour qualifiers in the books, with the Pro Tour finishing next weekend that should also give us a close to confirmed list barring anything really weird happening that pushes Benito out of a seed and letting an extra player in through the Pro Tour rankings (everyone below him in the seeds that's in a spot looks safe through the Pro Tour right now). Will be a very interesting weekend.