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.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Göttingen round 3

Saturday turned out to be really quite bad, and it all started so well with Matt Edgar getting over the line against Joe Cullen, a big enough swing that despite going 0/3 in the rest of the afternoon we were only a tenth of a unit down, going 0/4 in the evening session though isn't pretty and leaves us down half a unit for the tournament. Seemed to be a combination of the opponents playing out of their skin and missed doubles - looking through game by game, Bunting's four leg run to close the game was incredible, Gurney didn't leave any real chances for Humphries to break and then an eleven darter in leg 8 iced the game, Clemens had a couple of legs with darts at double but most of the other legs from Clayton were fifteen darters so he wasn't giving away anything easy, Evans was a case of throw one bad leg to let Webster lead 2-0 with the throw and then Darren offered little in return, Wade had his best performance in some time, Ratajski missed darts at double in three of the legs Hopp won and then was allowed eighteen darts to win the decider but couldn't even get down to less than 100 in that time, while de Zwaan was on the wrong end of two terrible legs from both players in legs 5-6 which decided the game against Cross.

It's cleared up a lot of the Dortmund scenarios - Beaton, Klaasen, Schindler, Reyes and Kyle Anderson have clinched spots, Nicholson is all but safe while it's a case of Dekker or North for the last spot, North being in with a win against Clayton. Today:

van Gerwen/Bunting - Nothing here, Bunting's less than 20% and it'd need the sort of finish he had yesterday again today, MvG wasn't exactly bad yesterday.

Edgar/Gurney - Think this may still be significant for Edgar, someone mentioned on Twitter that a win here would put him in a provisional worlds spot but I don't know how accurate that is, there might be a tiny bit of value at 10/3 but I'm seeing Edgar at south of 30% to win this one so let's move on.

Smith/Beaton - Smith unsurpisingly had no problems with Kantele, while Beaton needed every leg to beat Price, the line looks pretty solid at 2/5 Smith as I have him just shy of 70% to advance to the quarters.

Henderson/Chisnall - Hendo beating White was a decent shock, while Dave needed a decider against Joyce to move through, line seems close enough yet again, I'm seeing Henderson at 35% but with the best line not even giving 2/1 it's another avoid I'm afraid.

Klaasen/Schindler - Jelle had a nice upset win over Wright, while Schindler got a whitewash over King despite not playing that great, will it be a case of job done for Jelle now? Maybe, and the line looks good to say that it is - 0.25u Schindler 4/5, I'm seeing this as over 65% for the home nation player.

Clayton/North - Enormous game for Richard, who beat Whitlock yesterday, I've got him at 40%, he's around 6/4 so line looks solid once more. Maybe the pressure of the situation gets to him?

Wade/Webster - Should be a good one this, both played pretty solidly yesterday, Wade especially, the line's Wade 8/11 which looks close enough, I'm getting the Machine at 53%, which with the vig isn't giving enough of a chance on Webster to bet the Demolition Man.

Cross/Hopp - Tempted to bet Cross with Hopp being unconvincing in victory yet again, but 1/3 with Cross at 78% isn't really enough with potential boisterous home crowd backing in the last game of a session.

Back tomorrow with a round up.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Göttingen round two - we continue

Solid day today on the betting front, can never complain about 4/6 when everything you're betting on is odds against, although honestly Gilding, that might be the most important game you've had since the UK Open semi final and you produce that? Oh well, let's carry on, quick projections and bet suggestions and that's it, as mentioned previously this weekend will be limited, anything you see after this before Monday afternoon you can consider a bonus:

Cullen/Edgar - Edgar played decent yesterday against de Graaf, and has been playing a bit better than his result suggests all year. It's Cullen in Europe, but on the numbers throughout Edgar's better than a one in three shot so 0.25u Edgar 13/5

Smith/Kantele - Nothing here. The numbers suggest it's a Smith bet, even at 1/7, then again these are season long and Marko's already made one projection look a bit silly and one match isn't going to suddenly make the sample not limited, so next...

Chisnall/Joyce - This line actually looks alright - I'm getting Joyce in the low 30's to win this and he's just the right side of 2/1 if you want to bet on him. Close enough to not bet, he didn't rip up any trees when beating Wattimena.

Bunting/Mansell - Think this is another underdog punt, 0.25u Mansell 2/1, when was the last time Bunting was able to put more than one really good game together? Anyone? Mickey didn't do anything spectacular, but he's been doing his usual give nothing away game for quite a while now, and that game rates to win four out of ten against Bunting, which is good enough for me.

Gurney/Humphries - Odd one in that I'm currently playing Lose Yourself on the randomiser, and this may be the only opportunity Luke's got. Do I want to bet it? Yeah, sure, 0.25u Humphries 12/5, I'm seeing this at about 36%, he'd better capture it, not let it slip.

Whitlock/North - Richard was not impressive in getting through Bunse, not at all, which is an irritant given the model's getting him up near 40% against Whitlock and the odds look nice. The model's never really liked Whitlock, so I'm wondering what the deal is here. It just doesn't seem like one to trust the model on.

White/Henderson - Wow, didn't Hendo make that first round game look difficult. Line looks close to good, projecting at around 2-1 in favour of White, so while it looks like there's potential value on John, given today's performance I'm going to pass the spot.

Clayton/Clemens - Big shot for Gabriel to push through to a Sunday here with Jonny being all over the place since winning one of these, Clayton is probably overall the better player but he's not shown it for a while, and I've just got a sense that now's the time that Clemens, who the model projects as the right weighted side of a flip, does something on a stage - 0.25u Clemens 11/8.

King/Schindler - This is really tight in both my projections and in the market. Nothing to see here, but should be a fun one to kick off the evening session.

Price/Beaton - Steve nearly fucked it up but got over the line against Huybrechts, Price will likely not allow himself to get into such a huge hole in this one. Line looks good in this one again - I'm seeing Price as not quite 60%, so if there was no vig you might have the tiniest of Beaton value. Next.

Webster/Evans - Now that the Gilding hype train has crashed and burned, we can now remount the Baby Shark hype train, 0.25u Evans 11/8, model has him up at 46%, it's not a huge edge, but in the context of Ricky slamming down a 104 average with absolutely no assistance whatsoever, I'm running with it.

van Gerwen/van der Voort - Yawn.

Wright/Klaasen - Jelle's the sort of player at this stage where he needs to show something decent in two or three games in a row to even think about betting on him, he was alright today, but as the model thinks the line is spot on I don't even need to ask that question right now.

Wade/Alcinas - Alcinas seems like one of those players that the model likes that we'll keep on betting until the end of time. There's a bit of inconsistency in his game, whereby when he hits he's good, and when he's not he'll lose the leg and hence the model, working on legs won, will like him more, but it's seeing north of 40% and we're getting better than 2-1, so 0.25u Alcinas 9/4, with the consistency comment it seems hugely dangerous against Wade of all players, but I'm taking that chance.

Hopp/Ratajski - 0.5u Ratajski 11/10, lol at this being a flip, the numbers give this a 2-1 edge to Ratajski. Punt of the week.

Cross/de Zwaan - Intriguing set of last three matches of the night really. Cross is coming off of a comedy performance in Dublin and this really isn't the qualifier he'd want to face in a race to six, 0.25u de Zwaan 5/2, he's good enough that even against the world champ he's over 40% to win, this is a short race and he was pretty clinical this evening.

Sixteen games, eight bets, got to be something for everyone here, although it's another day where we're going hard on the underdogs. It worked today, didn't it?

Göttingen round 1 bets

These are fast, and as oddschecker doesn't yet have the matches included featuring the German qualifiers I'm just looking at a couple of books which do:

0.25u Brown 6/5, should be the other way around so there's a little value here

Edgar/de Graaf, Mansell/Killington, Henderson/Wilson lines look fine

0.25u Clemens evs, stated I think he'd be 60/40 against Dolan, he's not done great on the European Tour but he has home field and seems the better player right now

Nothing on Marijanovic/Kantele, my sample on Marko isn't really that bit and while it hints at a bet on Robert, I won't and will probably just regret not taking 8/15.

0.25u Joyce 6/5, sure Wattimena's been doing more recently but I'm not even convinced Jermaine's the better player

0.25u Ratajski 6/4, I'm projecting Ratajski to be the favourite so this is probably the best bet so far

North/Bunse I'm passing as I don't have that much on Christian and betting North at 2/5 doesn't seem like it could be value.

0.25u Gilding 13/10, as stated previously he's got the better stats season long and is rounding into form so this seems automatic.

Woodhouse/Schindler seems accurate. Might be small value on Stevenson but I'm passing that one as van der Voort needs it more and it's not that much to write home about. Similar with Klaasen/Langendorf, it's probably worth a bet on Maik but Klaasen needs it more, probably end up annoyed at not laying Jelle given Jelle's not done much at all for a while now. Beaton's probably near a bet for the same reason as the Keegan Brown bet, but with the odds being the wrong way at 11/10 there's much less margin for error. de Zwaan's too short to consider, he should win but nobody except MvG should be 1/9 in a race this short.

0.25u Alcinas 7/4, another decent one to finish, Noppert's got the recent form but the class is permanent and that's giving this as close to evens.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

European Darts Trophy preview

All good things must come to an end, and that's what's happening to this year's European Tour in Göttingen, with the final event going to finalise the Dortmund field, and eliminate one of the three events left before the worlds cutoff (and, as an extension, the race to save tour cards). 19 of the active FRH top 22 are here (Anderson we obviously knew about, but Suljovic and Lewis withdrew) so it's a tough field for anyone to come through if they're needing a cash, let's look into tomorrow's running order - numbers in brackets indicate current FRH rankings with mincashes for this weekend included, but before I start, should I credit my overall betting record with an extra quarter of a unit because I was on the wrong side of the rigged Ulang/Simm worlds game from a couple of years back? Maybe?

Luke Humphries (82) v Keegan Brown (37) - Interesting game to start between two young players, one in Humphries who has an outside chance of making Dortmund, while Brown's had a bit of a mare to date in Europe and isn't really in the picture, he'll just be looking to improve his Pro Tour ranking that's seen him just the wrong side of a recent cutoff for Dublin. Should be quite close at around 55/45 for Brown, Luke's got the greater motivation but will probably need to beat Gurney in round two to avoid a countback clusterfuck.

Matt Edgar (88) v Jeffrey de Graaf (65) - Neither's really close to Dortmund, and with the winner facing European specialist Joe Cullen in round two, this could be close to an effective final, although both players have the A-game to trouble the Rockstar. de Graaf has a comparable edge as what Brown has in the first game, should be two close games to start off - assuming in this one we don't have one show up and one not, which is always a risk.

Mickey Mansell (61) v George Killington (147) - Tough ask for George here against a Pro Tour winner from this year, Killington not having done a great deal on the senior circuit, but he's won one Development Tour event as well as a final and two semis to put himself right up those rankings. Neither really has any chance of Dortmund, but Bunting in the second round isn't out of the question, especially for Mansell who rates to be approaching a 2-1 favourite here.

Mark Wilson (135) v John Henderson (21) - Wilson's here for a third attempt at the European Tour this season, but he's only won three legs in two games and a matchup against the big Scot isn't really the draw he would have been looking for. Henderson's surprisingly not that close to making Dortmund, a couple of exits when seeded and getting no ranking money as a result being potentially very costly - he's likely going to need at least a semi final, if not a final, and Ian White is a formidable second round opponent. That's a matchup that should happen, John's got a 75/25 chance according to projections.

Brendan Dolan (51) v HNQ6 - This is the Clemens section, and there's really nobody in this section that should trouble him (not that it's stopped him being troubled before), Blum's gone already leaving no notable names - Dolan's got an outside chance of making the European Championship if he can reach the final session, a hit or miss Jonny Clayton in round two is winnable, and the other seed in the section is Whitlock, so who knows? That said, if Clemens does get through Dolan's a 60/40 dog to make Saturday.

Marko Kantele (108) v HNQ5 - Kantele just missed out on making the worlds as mentioned previously, but he's going to have to put that behind him and concentrate on this game, which will see him up against a probable opponent of Marijanovic, with only Tautfest being a name I recognise in the draw. If it was Marijanovic, Robert would be strongly (greater than 70%) favoured to get through to face Michael Smith, but data on Kantele is limited. Could look at the SDC stats I guess?

Ryan Joyce (67) v Jermaine Wattimena (28) - This should be a good one - Jermaine had a very tidy weekend in Dublin both on the floor and stage, and has got to be feeling confident as he tries to edge up the top 32 in the world. Joyce has had some great floor form, but hasn't yet managed to crack a seed as yet, although he's been close on a couple of occasions. He could make Dortmund if he's able to do that and push into the Sunday evening session, and he's slightly better than 50/50 to get over the first hurdle, but Chizzy in round two is one where anything could happen, and likely needing to beat Ian White makes things look unlikely.

Krzysztof Ratajski (50) v Steve West (20) - Game of the round for me, forget your Huybrechts/Beaton face off. Ratajski got jobbed over for the Grand Slam spot, what can you do, and after last year it's surprising that he's got work to do to make Dortmund, not having everything his own way in the qualifiers like last year being a problem. West would likely be more of a problem on the Friday than Hopp would be on the Saturday, with Ratajski needing to reach Sunday as a minimum. West's safe, but despite West's very good play he's not even 45% to win this one. The Polish Eagle could still get what he needs, it's a tough first game but it's on.

Richard North (41) v HNQ4 - North will need a similar run to Ratajski to qualify for Dortmund, with them both having the same money, but his first round game is substantially easier - Horvat was the biggest name in this section of the qualifier but he's gone, leaving maybe Bunse or Berndt, who'd meet in the section semi - one of Simeon Heinz, Jens Kniest or Lukas Sekinger will make the final. Winner of the main game plays Whitlock.

Ricky Evans (46) v Andrew Gilding (70) - Two players hitting form - Evans is obviously safe for Dortmund after his final, but Gilding is showing sparks, perhaps a bit too late to save his card, but peak Gilding is a phenomenal force, and Darren Webster in round two isn't the worst potential draw. Even looking season long as I do, I can't separate them, so there could be a bit of a chance for Goldfinger to make Saturday and us to potentially profit as I'd imagine Evans will be installed as favourite.

Luke Woodhouse (98) v HNQ1 - This is probably going to be Schindler, unless Herz, Junghans, Hurtz or Sprudzs (too many z's) can take him down. Schindler would be better than a 2-1 favourite against Woodhouse if it is him, he is currently just on the inside of the Dortmund cutoff and just qualifying ought to make him safe. Woodhouse has made two of these before this year, with just the one win over Ryan Meikle, and assuming Martin gets through the quali I can't see Luke making it a second win, especially on German soil.

Simon Stevenson (71) v Vincent van der Voort (39) - VVDV's another player who's just on the cusp of qualification, one of the group on £10k needing to get two wins to move into a tie for the last spots, assuming nobody improves. Stevenson isn't an easy out, while he's had trouble qualifying for these he did win a board in Dublin so isn't playing too badly, and has enough chance in this one that while the Dutchman's the favourite, it's not even 55%. Which he wouldn't be against van Gerwen in round two.

Jelle Klaasen (26) v HNQ2 - Jelle's one of the players who have just enough cash to qualify for Dortmund, currently in on countback, so winning this game would be enormous for him. Wright would be the second round opponent so he may not add more than that, but one win should be all he needs. The home nation qualifier has Langendorf in this section, Münch is also there but Maik's a round further already, if it was Maik who advanced then Jelle would be a bit better than 60/40 to get the win he needs.

Kim Huybrechts (23) v Steve Beaton (22) - A lot of the time one or both of these are seeded, so to see them facing off in round one is unusual. Neither's mathematically safe, but it'd need a weird situation for Beaton to not make it, while Huybrechts, after multiple first game losses as a seed, is part of the group on just £10k looking in - despite having reached a semi final this year. A European Championship without Kim seems wrong, but with Beaton being a tiny projected favourite, it's going to happen way more than half the time. The winner faces Price which isn't going to be an easy win for either player on current form.

Jeffrey de Zwaan (30) v HNQ3 - Jeffrey, despite all his stage form, has a shocking record of qualification for these, and actually playing well in them in the rare occasions he has qualified hasn't happened either - he'd need to reach the final to stand any chance of making the finals weekend, while he certainly has the quality, and a not bad opening game against one of Eidams, Siepmann, Roith or Rosenauer, he'd have to beat the World Champion on the Saturday and then go from there. Not an easy task, but one he'd be up for.

Danny Noppert (46) v Antonio Alcinas (52) - An all European faceoff to close us out, with the rapidly getting used to the PDC Noppert coming up against the Spaniard who's having a second run after a few years on the edges of the scene. Noppie's already safely in and Alcinas seems too far back needing to reach a semi final, so this doesn't have a great deal riding on it, but I'm projecting a coinflip, maybe even Alcinas being a tiny favourite, and with Wade in round two not being the hardest draw you can get, maybe one of these can get something going here?

Not seen any big exits in the qualifier (which is running right now) since I started writing, other than that Münch has gone from the Langendorf section that'd face Klaasen, so all the HNQ reports still seem current. Bets later once lines are up and the qualifiers are done.

Monday, 8 October 2018

More on Durrant

A brief one - rather than speculate looking at things like points per turn, why not shove Durrant into the master computer against the PDC top 16? Why not indeed, so here's the winning chances over a race to 10, coincidentally the length of a first knockout round game in the Slam, so in increasing order of ranking, here's everyone:

Lewis - 69.89%
Cullen - 75.94%
van Barneveld - 75.68%
Webster - 74.73%
Wade - 72.63%
Price - 66.33%
White - 55.54%
Smith - 51.31%
Chisnall - 57.33%
Whitlock - 71.67%
Suljovic - 64.77%
Gurney - 64.34%
Anderson - 48.18%
Cross - 51.77%
Wright - 55.24%
van Gerwen - 29.90%

I think those figures should speak for themselves. But lest anyone say "but FRH, these just look at winning legs, it's not fair", Durrant is scoring just 2.48 points per turn less on losing legs than winning legs. In comparison, Cross is at 2.51, Anderson 2.32, van Gerwen 5.04 (although that one's just because he's really ****ing good and wins all the time), Smith 4.92, Wright 4.43, Suljovic 0.38, Gurney 5.91. So bear those figures in mind when looking at the percentages, and please don't be afraid when we get to the Slam and I go HAM on Duzza.

Wes Newton now available for exhibitions in early January

So that scenario where someone who wasn't already qualified for Lakeside taking the last Lakeside spot by winning the World Masters came up, Adam Smith-Neale coming from a couple of sets down in the final against Glen Durrant to win 6-4 and claim his first major title. Quite an achievement, it's a name that's been around for a while but I didn't realise quite how young he was, dartsdatabase reckoning he doesn't turn 25 until later this month, which equates to him having his tour card in his teenage years. It'll be interesting to see where he goes from here, you've got to think he tries the Q-School route, but I guess it's going to depend on what he does in the worlds, and whether he fancies stopping around for another year - this sets him up real nicely in terms of BDO ranking points for next year, unless they change their qualifying criteria he'll be in the 2019 Slam (although Wiki thinks that Smith-Neale is in this year's Slam instead, which conveniently avoids the Ratajski question). Will be an interesting decision - if he is in this year's Slam that may well point towards a Q-School punt.

If you haven't watched it already, go back and watch both the final and the Williams/Waites quarter final - both cracking games that have got to be at least mentioned in dispatches for game of the year. The Williams one in particular, with him pinning 167 to save the match and breaking Waites in a last leg decider is well worth checking out. It's all on the BDO's Youtube channel for the grand cost of nothing, so why not.

Looking at what the BDO 32 did as a whole over the weekend, an 8.5% clip of legs in twelve darts or less isn't too bad, and nearly 52% of legs in fifteen or less is fine - that averages out to around the season long averages of Vincent van der Voort, Simon Stevenson, Jeffrey de Graaf, Stephen Burton, Jermaine Wattimena we can maybe throw in but he's a bit better on the twelves. It's not an awful standard at all, although it's obviously going to be tilted as the better players will be throwing more darts. Durrant and Waites managed over 96 and 95 points per turn respectively, with the winner also ending up over 90 - if we filter just on the quarter finalists, the percentage of legs finished in twelve is about the same, but they're killing 60% of legs in fifteen darts and are over 91 in points per turn. The closest approximations I can see to that season long in the PDC are Jamie Hughes and James Wade - and nobody would be saying Wade's a mug or having an awful season. The Wade comparison seems apt - he's not the sort of player that's going to blow you away with a spurt of twelve dart legs, but he's not going to give much up at all and is going to keep things really tidy. There were 121 legs on the final day, and only four out of them went more than eighteen darts for someone to win. There were 119 legs in the semi finals and final of the PDC worlds last year, and they had two of them go over eighteen darts.

As this is the last BDO event we're going to have before the Slam, let's take a quick look at what the BDO's runners and riders are doing in terms of season long points per turn - this is from Lakeside, the World Trophy and the "televised" stages of the World Masters. I don't think any of them played the UK Open, but if they did (Smith-Neale played the qualifiers if I remember rightly), that'd count as well:

Glen Durrant - 95.00 (286 legs)
Scott Mitchell - 92.48 (118)
Adam Smith-Neale - 89.22 (137)
Jim Williams - 88.86 (191)
Michael Unterbuchner - 87.89 (227)
Mark McGeeney - 87.11 (219)
Wesley Harms - 86.82 (49)
Gary Robson - 86.25 (67)

Now the last two have no sample size whatsoever, but let's give the names of the PDC players immediately above and below each of these (minimum of 150 legs played):

Durrant - Gary Anderson, Rob Cross
Mitchell - Dave Chisnall, Jeffrey de Zwaan
Smith-Neale - Ron Meulenkamp, Ritchie Edhouse
Williams - Ritchie Edhouse, Max Hopp
Unterbuchner - Dave Pallett, Darren Johnson
McGeeney - Robert Owen, Vincent Kamphuis
Harms - David Evans, Richie Burnett
Robson - Jason Cullen, Paul Rowley

Let me reiterate that top one. Durrant is scoring more points per turn than Rob Cross is. Now you can argue all you like that Cross is having a mediocre season, but he's the world champion. Only van Gerwen and Anderson are scoring more points per turn this season in the PDC than he is. This is kind of why I put that poll up on Reddit - the most common pick is that he would be a top 16 player getting a third of the votes, with top 32 just edging out top 10 for the next most popular pick. Got to be anti-BDO trolls (or just general trolls) in there somewhere, but seven people thinking he'd lose his card? Come on now. Only one vote for top five, and no, that wasn't me. Imagine also what would happen if someone cleaned up some of those sixteen-eighteen darters that he occasionally leaves (he's killing over 70% of the legs he wins in under fifteen darts, which is higher than anyone not called Michael van Gerwen in my database), and instead of 501 in six visits, he scores 469 in five visits or something like that, as can happen. The average would probably go up in the PDC, not down.

Players scoring less than all of the BDO contingent? Jamie Caven, Christian Kist, Ronny Huybrechts, Robbie Green, Scott Taylor, Benito van de Pas, Devon Petersen to name a few - all top 64 players or ranked finalists.

There's been a few people clean up some of the PDC worlds qualifying spots - Rowby won the south/east Europe qualifier, don't know what would happen if he finalled one of the last Pro Tour events - does it go to Rusty? Kevin Burness won the Tom Kirby, he won his tour card earlier in the year but hasn't put up anything of note or any great numbers, Yordi Meeuwisse won through what's for all intents and purposes the Dutch qualifier, we've seen him around for a couple of years, he doesn't finish too quickly from what we've seen this year but is tidy enough I guess. Labanauskas and Larsson finished up getting the Nordic spots, Larsson at the last second as Kantele couldn't get over the line in the final event - we've seen enough of Darius to know he's legitimate, Larsson's not looked awful in a very limited sample and coming through what's a decent tour has got to stand him well. Apparently Asada won the Japan qualifier, which opens up an additional Asian Tour spot, which close to locks Maclidem in for a debut and Paul Lim for a 6945th appearance, while I'm sure I've read somewhere that Koltsov won the Russian qualifier, given his Challenge Tour form he won't be a bad addition.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

van Gerwen wins major tournament shocker

Didn't sound like the greatest of finals, but he got it in the bag, which after missing out on the first two big events of the year he'll be quite happy about doing. 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 Simon Whitlock
10 Michael Smith
11 Gerwyn Price
12 Darren Webster
13 Dave Chisnall
14 Jonny Clayton
15 Joe Cullen (UP 1)
16 James Wade (DOWN 1)
17 Adrian Lewis
18 Mervyn King
19 Stephen Bunting
20 Steve West

So only the one change, and that's between two players who went out in the first round, odd how that can happen, then again with the tournament not having any large prize money differential round by round until the quarter finals, and five of the quarter finalists being in the top 6 in the rankings, nobody's done much to shake it up. Wilson's risen to #24, Meulenkamp's into the top 45 and de Zwaan is now in the top 30 (above Alan Norris).

The World Masters goes on, and we've got a Durrant/Mitchell semi final, while right now Jim Williams is hanging around but with work to do against Scott Waites, while Wayne Warren faces surprise package Adam Smith-Neale for the last spot. I've put all the stats from the last 32 and 16 into the master computer, and it's interesting reading. Bear in mind that you've got the top 16 in the BDO, and then sixteen players which, while you're going to have some wildcards you've never heard of, they've all come through multiple rounds of qualifying, so there shouldn't be any complete eggs - so it's disappointing to see that more than one in five legs took more than six visits to complete, and only 42% of legs are completed in "par" of fifteen darts or better.

As far as individual players go, I'm yet to be convinced that McGeeney is legitimately decent, he's gone out early here and didn't put up great numbers. Unterbuchner might have a claim to be the best German on the planet right now, and was unfortunate to run into Warren in decent form. Durrant and Waites put up the best numbers of those who won through to the quarters with overall 94 points per turn, while Warren was also in the nineties. On the other hand, Copley and Robson got there despite points per turn of 81 and 82! Luck of the draw I guess.

Briefly back to the PDC, the finalists already being in the Slam looks to have locked up Clayton and the highest ranked finisher from the European Tour - which at the moment is White, but Gurney could always win the last one next weekend (advance warning that there'll be limited coverage here as I'm at the NFL game at Wembley, but I should be able to crank out round 1 and 2 previews) and nick it. It's just the European Championship and World Series finals to go, so unless there's a right wildcard winning it, White, Hopp and Price should all be safe as houses, while King and de Zwaan are the last men in right now.

A bit more on the World Masters later probably, as Jim Williams completes the come from behind victory to make the semis. A repeat of him against Durrant in the final, if it's half as good as their Lakeside game last year, would be very welcome.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

World Masters - Good news!

1) They've streamed it, and as they have no geoblocking, it's available in the UK in all of its nine hour glory! So I can go back and watch it and compile the stats if needed, despite a scary moment last night where Youtube was only showing the last four hours (which I think is a standard thing while it's processing the whole video).

2) They've posted the good stats this morning, so I don't need to watch nine hours of BDO darts!

I'll see how they've all done, I may also pay a bit of attention to the women's as well, which is set up in an incredibly stupid way with four seeds straight through to the quarters, mainly due to the women's spots in the PDC worlds. Shout out to Burton for pointing out that Suzuki being longer than 100/1 to bink the BDO worlds was ridiculous and then getting the market suspended, Suzuki now being 5/1 third favourite, half the price of Hedman who she plays today in the quarters of the World Masters. Beau Greaves won the girls' event, it's a real shame she didn't get into the senior worlds, that would have been interesting.

On the PDC side we've got installment number 94 of the van Gerwen/Wright matchup, huge train disruption and it being a Friday prevented me getting back home to run any numbers, but I wouldn't have had any bets on it anyway, the lines looked good enough, useful to note that Anderson making a bit of an early exit and Wright making the final keeps Wright safe at number 3 in the FRH rankings for a while, excluding this event Anderson was less than 18,000 points behind him such has been his great form of late. Wright can't catch Cross even if he wins tonight, the line for which is probably a bit too favoured the way of MvG, so while I'm not going to suggest a bet officially, 4/1 looks kind of tempting - I'm getting Wright at over 30% to win a set on van Gerwen's throw and 45% to hold his own, so it doesn't take that much for him to creep up to five sets - while it's only a 25-1 shot that he holds all four of his sets on throw and van Gerwen is therefore extremely likely to force Wright to break at some point, 30% happens quite a lot of the time.

To the BDO site I go...

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Really quick quarter final bets

Damn traffic...

Suljovic/Price - Probably an easier opponent this round for Suljovic than in the previous, this is another one where the model's thinking that Suljovic has less chance than the market suggests, but I'm going to pass on it. If Mensur's handled White as easily as he did, then there's probably not as much value on Gerwyn as I'd think.

Wright/Wilson - Another step up in opponent for Wilson, while Wright gets a third straight player ranked in the twenties in the FRH rankings. Market has Wright as almost a prohibitive favourite, there could be a bit of underdog value but, like Suljovic, Peter's been playing great stuff and I'm doubting he realises the equity he has.

Gurney/Anderson - Joint closest line on the market at 2/5 Anderson, which shows how one sided this evening could be, I think for this one the line looks good based on the raw data, Gurney's not going to give the title up without a fight, but it's likely going to need Gary to struggle on doubles for anything to open up for Superchin here.

van Gerwen/Chisnall - Around 6/1 Chisnall here, similar line to Webster over the same distance - what does that say more about, Dave or Darren? There might be tiny value in Chisnall, but he's not really been tested to date which may stop him coming flying out of the blocks as he'd need to do.

So, no bets, what a misleading post title.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018


A brief interlude, given that the BDO have had their worlds qualifiers today. Hilariously, Andy Hamilton managed to win one of the spots, funny given that he was the first reserve who'd be in assuming someone already qualified won the World Masters (which starts tomorrow), so that first reserve, given that Roger Janssen is in through a regional list, goes to none other than Wes Newton. We also saw Nigel Heydon qualify, who's a somewhat familiar name from PDC darts who had a bit of a spell at the start of the decade but seemingly hadn't played a thing in over a year according to dartsdatabase, he has zero BDO ranking points anyway, Krzysztof Kciuk made it as well, who you might recall was the guy that knocked Ratajski out of the Ratajski qualifier for the PDC worlds last year, and the last guy in is Ryan Hogarth, someone I don't know much about but he's in their top 50 and played in the World Trophy, so likely isn't completely awful. It was a big qualifier to come through at least.

A few other names got deep - van Tergouw was one game away (lost to Kciuk in a deciding set), other last game losers were Matt Clark and Adam Smith-Neale who we know from the PDC (Clark recently enough to still be in the top 150 of the FRH rankings, Smith-Neale is there as well but will drop off when the 2017 UK Open qualifier points do), and the last final round loser was Chris Gilliland, who nearly made it through the qualifiers for a second year in a row, which would have been some feat. Others in the last 32 included Alan Soutar, Larry Butler, Gary Stone and Nick Kenny, there's quite a few fairly well known players that won't be there.

Of those that we knew before, other than the top 8 which I'll probably go into a bit further nearer the Slam, I'm mostly interested to see what Parletti will do having come from nowhere to be the ten seed, Hogan obviously, O'Shea for local funk power (no Fitton sadly), McKinstry to see if he can make a bit of a run, while we'll see if McGrath, after getting a win in the Auckland PDC exbo, has upped his game enough to get a win in the BDO worlds. Obviously the new names will be of interest - Janssen as mentioned above has had some results so who knows, there's two or three in the 17-24 list that I really don't know as well.

Quickly on the Grand Prix, was pleased to see Chisnall get the win and Gurney to hold off a bit of a come back from Meulenkamp, those results take us to a new high in terms of profit, and up enough that if we miss both the White and Wilson bets we're still break even for the tournament. A Gurney/Anderson quarter could be interesting, can't really say the same about a van Gerwen/Chisnall quarter, which we've seen so many times before. Would almost have been worth losing the bet to see van Gerwen/van Barneveld again. Looking back, that's the first time in ten years that all the four seeds have made it to the quarters in a half of the draw here. The player with the Chisnall death seed that time? Andy Hamilton. Funny how things come full circle.

* - assuming the event is held at Lakeside. Has that even been announced?

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Quickfire round 2 bets

Numbers indicate the chances the master computer thinks the player will have to win 3-1 or better. That should give you an idea of overall win chances and potential volatility based on who wins the bull.

Chisnall (47%) v van Barneveld (18%) - Barney was really close to being out already, Chisnall had no trouble beating Hopp and was one dart away from 50% on doubles, which is a good sign. That's good enough for me, even if Barney wins every deciding set our bet is profitable if we've handicapped it right - 0.25u Chisnall 6/5

Anderson (41%) v de Zwaan (22%) - Should be an exciting rematch, de Zwaan's an underdog and possible a bit too big of an underdog, but I'm not feeling the concept of betting against Anderson at this moment in time only getting a fairly small edge, de Zwaan is 5/2, i.e. he needs to win over 30% of the time to profitably back him. With the model thinking that he's getting more than 20% before a decider and over 35% of trials are going to a decider, it's tempting. Especially given that de Zwaan outplayed Anderson in round one. What the hell, let's go small for some funking power, 0.1u de Zwaan 5/2.

Gurney (52%) v Meulenkamp (15%) - Gurney was pretty damned solid on doubling both in and out, and we know he can score well, Ron was a surprise package in round one, taking out Cullen in a game where he was getting away well but not hitting doubles too well - Cullen was just worse. Gurney could be the play here, 5/11 would only need him to win half the deciding sets if it goes that far (again, if we've capped it right), that doesn't seem that unreasonable - 0.5u Gurney 5/11.

van Gerwen (69%) v Webster (7%) - We've seen this one a few times over recent years and it's usually a good one, it's interesting to note that Webster's the same price as Lennon - that seems almost entirely down to the length of the match, best of five sets gives you a hell of a lot more breathing room than best of three. 1/6 doesn't seem too appealing, what about 6/1? There's about one in four games projected to go to a decider, Webster would need to win a third of those for it to be break even, and he only rates to win a third of sets on his own throw. He's not going to have the throw every time. No thanks.

Suljovic (25%) v White (38%) - For me this is the most interesting match of the round, the bookies have Mensur as a real big favourite at 1/2, the only real concern is that White was really bad at getting off, at least early in the game, and 35% finishing isn't that great either. Still, I can't see any realistic model that gives White less than a one in three shot, Ian as I keep banging on about is really, really good so 0.25u White 15/8 and move on.

Beaton (23%) v Price (40%) - Steve did it again, what the heck? Cross just missed a bunch of doubles, both to start and finish. Price saw off Noppert in a game that the numbers say was one to forget, Gerwyn's 4/7 which seems to be in the right neighbourhood.

Wright (57%) v Wattimena (12%) - Wright just blitzed Steve West who didn't even get a dart at double in the match, which seems remarkable given that, apart from in a couple of legs, West was always getting away first visit. Jermaine was also getting away well, but Mervyn missed nine out of ten darts to finish legs and had a spectacular nine missed darts to start the last leg of the first set. The line's looking like 80-20, there may even be tiny Wright value at 1/4. I'd say it's safe to put him in an acca, but it doesn't need too much weird stuff to happen so I'm not going to recommend a single bet.

Wilson (29%) v Lewis (33%) - The last game is the one that projects to be the closest, which isn't reflected in the market, which is thinking Adie's a 2-1 favourite. You can see that I'd have him as a favourite, and I'm mindful of the previous round giving Wilson to win and Adie to lose, something that I've seen in quite a few games throughout many tournaments over the past couple of months. It's a big price though, 0.25u Wilson 15/8, Wilson's doubling apart from the last leg of the first two sets was outstanding both in and out, and his scoring looks on point. He also came from behind against Whitlock that has to help psychologically.

That's your lot, three underdogs at around 2/1 or better, so we only really need one of those to get home (ideally White or Wilson given bet sizing), then it's just lay Barney and back the champ. Let us gogogo.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Damn you Barney and your 164 checkouts

Man's still got it, but boy was that annoying - Evans missing a dart for a 143 out to break and throw for the match (twice if needed), but he'll be back right? Right? Oh well, those are the breaks. Not really the start we wanted, Hendo had an irritating combination of not hitting doubles and not really getting the scoring going either, Lennon really wasn't offered anything and still wouldn't have got much even if he was scoring like he could, as mentioned we expected van Gerwen to win that 80%+ of the time, so we can't really be that surprised that he did, at least de Zwaan and Chisnall allowed us to escape with minimal damage. Quite surprised that Cullen went out to Meulenkamp, he seemed to revert to feast or famine on the scoring charts and, like Henderson, also missed more doubles than he would have liked.

Still, we move on today to our punts on Wilson and Smith, but for now, something I've been hinting at in a few places, and it's this:

Players Championship finalist stats

Would it be surprising to you to know we've had 25 different finalists in 20 events this season? And people say this is a one man show. So what does this (huge, hence the link) graph show you? It's basically intending to show you how everyone has done in the tournaments where they've reached the final. The bold black line is the points per turn achieved by the finalist using the right axis, the bars show how many of the legs they have won were done so in the speeds highlighted, so for example Michael Smith in Players Championship 7 really wasn't allowing anyone much of a chance in the legs he won, but was still pretty much mid table in terms of what he did for an overall point per turn average.

You can see that the graph is ordered by points per turn. Look at the bottom three - it's got not one, but both finalists that were in the one that Hopp won. Also look at the players that are towards the right of the graph - it's more or less exclusively the players that you'd look and think "they made a final?" and then realise, looking at the stats shown, it is actually a case of them just beating what was in front of them, and not needing to do anything spectacular in order to do so. Searle's down there. Noppert, Payne, King and Mansell's wins are all in the bottom 20% of points per turn - they all scored less per visit than Scott Taylor did when he lost his final (although not by much). Compare that to the other end of the charts - it is your usual suspects - right down to mid table, apart from Chris Dobey (maybe Jonny Clayton as well?) it is all your major winners, your world champions, your kings of the floor - they've won their events by putting in the numbers and destroying anything in their path, regardless of what might get put in their way.

Also kind of odd to note that, of the twenty tournaments we've had, nine of them saw the runner up finish with a higher points per turn total than the winner. Weird eh?

Really hoping that the BDO can up their game with the stats for the Masters. I don't know how many boards they play, but would it be too hard to Dart Connect the event? At least produce the scorecard PDF's they normally do from the top 32 onwards as a minimum, it's the sort of thing that'd be really helpful in the run up to the Slam and Lakeside. I'd love to do more BDO coverage, but this is a drill into the numbers and analysis blog, in order to get anything useful you need a bit more than saying someone's averaged 26 points per dart (first nine). Would love it if they can deliver, they're certainly making steps in the right direction and I think all darts fans would like to see them improve their product. Darts is darts and they do have a fair few decent players.