Saturday, 17 March 2018

Nation Wars

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

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

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

Tell me that isn't money?

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

RIP Jim Bowen

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

Answer to previous question: Dean Winstanley

Monday, 12 March 2018

Gary Anderson - what form is he in?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Players Championship 3/4 quick roundup

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

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

Updated FRH rankings:

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

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

Monday, 5 March 2018

UK Open aftermath

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

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

Updated FRH rankings:

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

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

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

Sunday, 4 March 2018

UK Open semi finals

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

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

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

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

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

No pyro no Party - UK Open quarter finals

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 3 March 2018

UK Open round 5 bets

Follow up from the previous post:

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

UK Open round 5

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

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

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

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

UK Open round 4

Quick bets as time is of the essence:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 2 March 2018

UK Open round 3 bets

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Oh the weather outside is frightful

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

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