Monday, 30 November 2020

Now on to the worlds

Fair play to King yesterday, great job to get past Wright somehow and reach the final, and give MvG a real run for his money, only losing out in a decider. Let's look what that's done to the FRH rankings:

1 Peter Wright
2 Michael van Gerwen
3 Gerwyn Price
4 James Wade
5 Dimitri van den Bergh
6 Michael Smith
7 Rob Cross
8 Jose de Sousa
9 Nathan Aspinall
10 Glen Durrant
11 Ian White (UP 1)
12 Dave Chisnall (DOWN 1)
13 Joe Cullen (UP 3)
14 Gary Anderson
15 Krzysztof Ratajski (DOWN 2)
16 Daryl Gurney (DOWN 1)
17 Simon Whitlock
18 Jonny Clayton
19 Mervyn King (NEW)
20 Mensur Suljovic (DOWN 1)

Noppert drops out of the top 20, one space outside. Heta is now well inside the top 40, Woodhouse gets back in the top 50 and Rydz is just two spots outside of it. Sedlacek is inside the top 64 once you incorporate first round worlds money.

Speaking of which, we've now had the qualifiers, and we've got a fairly standard list of names into the worlds. Zonneveld and Sedlacek got through the ROW qualifier at the expense of Schindler and Dekker in the final, who are (assuming Ward does hand in his card) 65th and 66th in the tour card race as things stand, so will drop off the tour card list for 2021, also losing out in the quali that'll lose their cards as a result are van de Pas (semis to Sedlacek) and Rodriguez (round one to Sedlacek - seems he's single handedly forced three players to Q-School).

In the UK qualifier we got a few interesting players in - Matt Edgar won through, which will delight Twitter, which looks to have saved his tour card, Jamie Lewis surprisingly got through over Robert Thornton and cost the Thorn his tour card, Lewis needing another miracle run to save his. Edgar beat Payne, who's got enough in the bank to be back for 2021 almost certainly. Ciaran Teehan surprised a few by beating Joe Murnan in a deciding leg, Teehan's done little all year but this may help set him up into year two of his tour card while Murnan will be back to square one, finally we got Nick Kenny getting in, another one who's had a fairly quiet 2020 but this will set him up nicely. Kenny beat out James Wilson, who's in a bit of a precarious spot - currently 61st in the tour card race assuming Ward does resign his card, it'd only take first round wins from Kleermaker and Kuivenhoven to move him down two spots, then not much else is needed to force him out - would need two of Hunt, Zonneveld, Rydz, Lowe or Sedlacek to beat their seeds. That's some strong names who, with an alright draw, can easily do it.

In this one we've seen Simon Stevenson lose his card after he went out to Payne, Scott Baker didn't even attempt the qualifier so he's done, Gavin Carlin's also gone (what price he'd give for there to have been a Tom Kirby this year?), then we're looking at names who'd be way too far off and would need a miracle worlds run - suppose the biggest name is Richard North who was knocking on the top 32 door within recent memory.

I suppose the players who I feel the most for are those who won their cards in 2019, who've not been given a real shot at saving them in 2020 thanks to ridiculous government overreactions to the whole situation. Sure, everyone around them also didn't win anything from the cancelled events, but it was certainly possible for someone to bink something out of nowhere and then maybe use that to sneak into a major, put an additional five grand on to their accounts, and help themselves. You just want the opportunity really, and everyone thinking there's a major public health crisis after it finished for all intents and purposes in May has cost them exactly that. McGeeney's the one I feel for the most - he's now one spot behind Wilson, so will need just one less thing to go wrong for him to end up back at Wigan or wherever in a month or so.

I've put the worlds money onto my FRH rankings now - all the top 32 seeds are in the top 33, only van Duijvenbode is in the top 32 that isn't a seed. Webster and Pipe are the players highest up the rankings to miss out, followed by Klaasen, Payne, Ward and Wilson. I'm going to start compiling all the data for the worlds preview, I've got a full week off work, but with the draw not taking place until Thursday morning (why?), it's going to be a bit before I can start presenting anything.

Sunday, 29 November 2020


Pity that Cullen couldn't nick that game, it might have made for slightly more interesting analysis, but we've at least got the top three in the world plus King to look at. Again, like in the quarters, King is kind of tempting - we can get as large as 7/2, and I think he's playing well enough that he may have near a one in three shot at it. I can pass this one though as betting against Wright in a semi final doesn't seem like the greatest idea, and the edge isn't as much as it was against Heta, and we didn't bet there either.

In the other one, we get a redo of last year's final - Michael looked damned good against van Duijvenbode, but I'm not quite sure why he is the favourite against Price here. Sure, van Gerwen's looked a fair bit better over the last couple of tournaments, but Price is just better over longer form. 0.25u Price 11/8, this will probably be the last bet of the season, Price looks, on post-restart form, a 60/40 favourite. We should take an alright odds against line here.

In the final, if we assume Wright wins, Wright should be about 8/13 against van Gerwen and evens against Price. The latter is absolutely even, over the course of a world final right now, the longest game we can have in darts, Wright only projects at 50.11% - that's how close it is.

Quick QF post

Very tempted by King there. We can get 6/4, which is probably a decent play, Heta's a favourite but it's a much smaller one than that. I just don't have the confidence that Mervyn will be able to convert given just how solid a match player Damon is.

Wright/Smith is a similar line, but the difference here is Peter is a bit more of a favourite than Damon is. It's only around 55/45, as such there's not much to think about.

Cullen I thought might have been worth the punt when I saw that he was around 9/4, but he really isn't - the model is saying 70/30, so no bet again.

Then we have another 70/30 to finish between MvG and DvD. We can get a bit better odds on Dirk, just the right side of 3/1 on Paddy Power, but I just feel that he's going to relatively underperform.

As such, no bets. Yesterday was a bit of a disappointment - van Gerwen covered some of the defeats but I have no idea where a scoreline in the Woodhouse match came from. Dirk winning was something I thought to be perfectly reasonable, but 10-1? Jesus. Humphries was hanging around but just got done by a good Price spurt after the final break, while Rydz did himself proud to force a final leg, it's just a shame he had two really poor visits (the 38 in turn 3, then the trainwreck on 164), Peter gave him the chance and he didn't get a dart at a double.

We now know a fair bit more about the worlds now, and the news really isn't great. Let's go through one by one (I think I've mentioned the Chinese winner already):

- Ilagan won the Philippines qualifier. This is fine.
- Paul Lim won the Hong Kong qualifier. This is also fine.
- Kantele has replaced Viljanen from the Nordic/Baltic tour list as the latter has withdrawn for health reasons, this is fine and we hope Kim is well.
- Toru Suzuki has won the Japanese qualifier. I don't know who he is. He seemed to average around 83 on the Asian Tour last year, so may not be a complete bunny, but averaged mid-70's in the semi and under 70 in the final. Oops.
- Portela has got a South American invite, this is fine as he at least plays PDC events and has some level of competence.
- Some Indian player that isn't Nitin Kumar got an invite. I don't know the internal politics of Indian darts but from what I've read on Twitter from Kumar and others it's a bit of a joke. He's seemingly played the World Cup years ago and also was young enough to play the Dev Tour in 2018 (apparently he's 25), so at least he's youngish?
- Then we've got the PDPA qualifier. Less than 24 hours after Uncle Barry said there'll just be two spots, there are, er, six, and it's split between four UK and two rest of world. Now if you really can't plug some of the gaps (would it be too hard to invite a bunch of Irish players to play online, or Dutch for that matter?), then fine, but either do an open draw, or to maintain the international quota, have everyone eligible for four spots then for all the international players that don't make it, have two more.

That's about it. Will be back before the semis.

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Round 3

OK, got a bit of time and have been able to put the stats into the master computer from this afternoon, both the bigger punts won, both the longshots lost, so we've been able to make a small profit in round 2, what about round 3?

White/Cullen - Accurate assessment by the market in this one. Seems too close to call, White perhaps counterintuitively has the small advantage, which is reflected in the market oddly enough. Would have thought Cullen having the momentum would have given him the edge. Guess not.

Smith/de Sousa - They've shifted the lines a bit from when they met last time, although it's only a real tiny odds on edge for de Sousa. I'd probably put Jose a bit further ahead, maybe 8/11, but it's not enough to keep printing by betting on the Portuguese major winner. As mentioned previously, the horse has already bolted.

Price/Humphries - 0.1u Humphries 12/5, it's a bit of a small edge this one, so will just go with a tenth of a unit. This line indicates a winning chance of about 30%, I think it's around 40%. Just think there's enough psychological things going on here to not go a quarter unit.

Smith/Heta - Another game that looks like it's an accurate read. Damon is the better player, but Ross is no mug - I think he's got somewhere between a one in three and a 40% chance. He's 6/4, so we'd probably be looking towards Damon if we had to bet, but we don't.

Sedlacek/King - Nice run continues from Karel, while Mervyn got a very good win against Danny Noppert. Market is implying 70/30 in favour of King - which is exactly what the data model throws out. So no bet again.

Wright/Rydz - 0.1u Rydz 9/2, while I did think that the market might have finally picked up on how good Callan is, this line gets thrown up. It's a bit of unchartered territory, but he is really, really good and ought to claim this about one time in three. As such, 9/2 is a must bet.

van Duijvenbode/Woodhouse - Very big opportunity for either of these, especially for Luke (Dirk has at least got a major final on his CV already). Market is saying it's a bit more than a 60/40 edge for Dirk, which is a bit ridiculous, Luke is at least on Dirk's level, or fairly close to it. 0.25u Woodhouse 13/8, Luke actually projects as a favourite around the other way so this looks like a great play even after taking into account Luke having a big inconsistency factor (although Dirk's isn't too clever either).

van Gerwen/de Zwaan - 0.5u van Gerwen 1/3, Jeffrey's looked alright in this event, but I think we can take Michael to come through this often enough that 1/3 is a justifiable punt. This is near 85% for van Gerwen, so we'll go with it.

Weird that we've actually gone FOR van Gerwen. That rarely happens.

Players Championship round 2

What a beautiful day yesterday was. Probably close to the perfect day with the way the bets were ordered - the first five romped home with Woodhouse, Boulton, Humphries, Searle and Rydz all doing a job, setting up a profit for the day and making the rest a freeroll. Could have been so much better, as only Hughes added to the winners, but we were very close on some others and seemingly on the right side of the two big long shots - Waites missed five for the match, Meikle threw a great leg to force a decider against Wright and then, as so often happens, completely lost his scoring after doing the hard work, then Adie got himself into a great position to break the Whitlock throw at 4-4, missed three darts to do so, was gifted another three, then missed those as well. Webster wasn't close against de Zwaan, but hey, nobody's perfect.

Sixteen games this afternoon - will say in advance that I don't know what I'm doing today so getting some last sixteen lines and analysis may not happen. Meanwhile, the Philippines worlds qualifier is ongoing, so if I do come back later today, hopefully we'll know who's binked it by that time, seems like all the big names are there. Will go again in draw order:

Wright/Whitlock - Covered these guys matches already. Both possibly a bit fortunate to reach this stage. Line looks spot on, I'm thinking Simon has slightly less than a one in three shot at this, Peter's 4/9, so next please.

Searle/Rydz - Took both these players to the bank yesterday with them getting comfortable wins over van den Bergh and Gurney which may surprise the casuals, this one is too close to call, more or less a 50/50, so let's see if the market is unbalanced... 0.25u Rydz 6/4 it is then.

Smith/Anderson - Michael got through a decider against Krcmar, needed to fade a low three figure out in that one but Boris didn't get a dart. Gary looked in pain yesterday but produced a great post break run to come from a big hole against Keegan Brown. Appears 60/40 on the numbers, which is about where the line is, so no bets, although if Ando does prevail then given his potential next opponent, it could be an auto-lay in round three.

de Sousa/van der Voort - Jose was able to ease away from de Decker after Mike kept things close for the first half of the game, while Vincent had zero troubles with Derk Telnekes, not a pretty game and he'll need to improve today to stand a chance. Boat has definitely sailed on de Sousa value, the 4/11 we can get looks absolutely perfect.

Aspinall/Smith - Mentioned Nathan should have gone out already, Ross meanwhile was in no real danget against Kim Huybrechts, mainly because Kim was only ever getting one dart at a double and kept missing them. Market thinks Nathan wins this a bit over 60% but not quite two in three - I think that's a bit unkind on Smith, who for me easily has over 40%, getting close to 45%, so while it's close to a bet, doesn't this just seem like the sort of game where Nathan knows he's dodged a bullet and starts a name on the trophy run?

Heta/Murray - Damon easily swept aside Maik Kuivenhoven who really looked like a shell of early 2020 Maik, while Murray got through Stephen Bunting pretty competently, was a 140 machine but could definitely do with tightening up his doubles. Game looks roughly 70/30 on the stats. Market is close enough to that to not bet here.

Sedlacek/Razma - Karel is the lowest seed left in after stunning Ratajski in what can only be described as an opportunistic performance, Krzysztof missing an uncharacteristic number of doubles. Madars got by Chris Dobey in a game that was a bit closer than the scoreline suggests, Dobey missing doubles as well which could easily have changed a 6-3 loss into a 5-4 lead. Too tough to call this one, I think Madars has a really tiny edge, so with the market saying 4/5 on Razma we can keep moving on.

Noppert/King - Danny took no time to beat Steve Beaton, only dropping the one leg as Steve just had far too many no treble or one treble visits. Mervyn got a good win over Dave Chisnall, getting a solid lead early in the game and just not relinquishing it - Dave didn't play bad, Mervyn was just better. Appears close on paper with Danny having a tiny edge, bookies agree, let's go to the bottom half.

Price/Hughes - Hendo played a little bit better than I thought he would do but was nowhere near threatening Gerwyn. Jamie was similarly a class above Ricky Evans, solid high 90's average, 50/50 on doubles, decent power scoring, what you want to see really. It's nearly enough to take the shot on Jamie, I'm thinking this is about 70/30 give or take a fraction of a percent, and we can get 7/2, which looks a big number. Is yesterday just a flash in the pan though? Fuck it, 0.1u Hughes 7/2, we'll just go small to minimise the risk, it's long enough there's a decent reward.

Wattimena/Humphries - Luke put out Devon Petersen to finally get a decent result that's matched his good play over the year, and now faces Jermaine who came up against a similar player with good play/bad results in Steve Lennon, naturally Steve averaged 102 and only won one leg. This looks like a very good spot to take Luke - 0.25u Humphries 5/6, I thought my data model might favour him a bit, but it says Wattimena only wins one in three! If we can get virtually a flip price we have to take it.

White/Clemens - Two players who came through fairly close games here, White taking out Borland in ten and Clemens eliminating Kleermaker in a decider, didn't need to fade any match darts though. It's a match I'd like to see but I guess it'll be dumped on stage two, another one that looks like it's priced correctly, I have Ian as a tiny favourite, not even 55% so with the market being around evens we can move on again.

Cullen/Cross - Joe wasn't really threatened by Hunt, Adam never really getting close on Joe's won legs, I think he had one dart at double in all of them and that was at bull. Rob was a surprisingly easy winner over Jason Lowe, was 5-1 up and Lowe only really had chances in one of those five. Think it's a sign of their respective form that this is a pick'em in the analysis, market is also on the Cullen hype train and not liking Cross and giving us much the same odds. Yawn.

van Gerwen/Clayton - Michael was an easy winner over Labanauskas, Jonny similar over Mansell, nothing really to see here, both players averaged a ton, very good spot to go Clayton here, 0.25u Clayton 3/1, seems on the stats to be about 55/45. That's an extremely strong edge.

Jones/de Zwaan - Wayne got through Glen Durrant, who looked much improved from the Slam but just really couldn't handle an extremely solid game from Wayne, not doing a lot wrong, possibly his best game all year. Jeffrey beat Webster easily enough as we mentioned earlier, nothing to see here other than it was good from him - ton average, solid all round game. I'm half tempted to take Wayne here. We can get 9/5, and the stats say this is only about 55/45 in Jeffrey's favour, I just can't see Jones as the sort of player that can play that kind of game in back to back matches, so I'll pass on it.

Zonneveld/van Duijvenbode - Niels got one of the bigger shocks yesterday by putting James Wade out, while Dirk got through a good tussle with Willie O'Connor early on, both players averaging 100 and neither doing much of anything wrong at all. This is an extremely similar game to the previous one - the winning chances and odds are identical, and it's similar in that I'm just not sure that Niels will be able to replicate the game from yesterday. Ought to be a good one to watch though.

Woodhouse/Boulton - Final game, one where we were on both of these yesterday so I expect to see no value, in both games the loser picked up four legs so the matches were competitive, so good to see them get over the line. No bet here once again. If either player has an edge it's Woodhouse, but it's the tightest game of the day on the analysis and the bookies can't separate them either.

So just the four plays. Humphries and Clayton seem the best, Rydz looks good enough to go with, Hughes is a bit of a flier but we know he's been able to do it in the past and given Gerwyn's had the odd vulnerable game, who knows?

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Players Championship betting analysis

Not yet updated the betting tracker - one, I forgot, and two, the running total only changed by a hundredth of a unit, so apart from ROI ticking down ever so slightly, nothing has changed. 32 games tomorrow, we'll run through them in draw order and see what we think will happen:

Wright/Meikle - Nice opportunity for Ryan to get a bit of exposure here, but while Wright is clearly the better player, I don't think Ryan's anywhere near as outclassed as the market indicates. Meikle's been scoring at a solid 91 clip since the restart, which is very respectable, so 0.1u Meikle 5/1, it's a long shot but the projections reckon he's got much better chances than that - maybe around one in three. Knock it down a bit for stage experience etc, but still a decent spot.

Lewis/Whitlock - This is a first round game where five years ago it'd have been a Premier League match. How times change. Simon's resurrected his career a bit in the last six months or so, while Adrian's a bit off doing that and could really do with a result to try to push back towards the top sixteen. 0.25u Lewis 5/4, odds against may look right on results, but Lewis has been doing enough where it should probably be priced 8/11 the other way. He's outscoring Whitlock.

Searle/van den Bergh - We'll see what Dimitri can do and whether he can get another major run going. Searle's probably been a bit unlucky in a few spots this year, and landing in this stacked eighth of the "draw" is a bit more of the same. Got to trust the numbers here, 0.25u Searle 11/5, this is, on the numbers, a coinflip.

Gurney/Rydz - Good opportunity for Callan here after sneaking into the event in the Winter Series, Daryl's got a decent enough seeding that I think's reflective of where his game is at, but while the odds are a bit closer than I thought they'd be, I think they're still sleeping on Rydz here - 0.25u Rydz 13/8 - he should take this nearly 60% of the time. He's playing that well.

Smith/Krcmar - Unfortunate that Boris has got this draw, he's a very dangerous opponent but is running into Michael at just the wrong time. 9/2 is maybe a little bit dismissive of his chances, but it's not that much of a misprice that I want to go with it, I'd probably have gone around 100/30.

Anderson/Brown - Hard to call really. Gary's barely played this year apart from one tournament, and Keegan's someone I can say I've barely noticed at all the entire season. I'd like to go for a policy ignore the game as a result, but fortunately I don't need to, stats say Keegan winning slightly more than one in four, and he's priced at 5/2, so I can just move on.

de Sousa/de Decker - Newest major champion against an up and comer who's quietly doing work a bit under the radar, unfortunately running into close to the nut low draw. Mike being 4/1 or there abouts isn't unfair, it's accurate.

van der Voort/Telnekes - Seems like it's increasingly rare that we get all Dutch ties, but we've got one here between the PDC veteran who's not had a bad year at all, and the newcomer who's made a solid start to his career on this side of the divide. Looks a bit more than a 60/40 in Vincent's favour, we can get slightly longer than 2/1 on Derk, which I wouldn't blame people for taking, just feel that there's been enough games where Telnekes has really done nothing, which might give van der Voort that little bit of extra edge.

Aspinall/Waites - Ought to be a good one this. Nathan's not done a great deal wrong this season, while Scott's picked his game up throughout the year and generally adapted well to the PDC. Very well, in fact - 0.25u Waites 3/1, Scott's winning percentages are perhaps a bit exaggerated by him having a bit of a large number of "taken off" legs, but on the raw won legs he's up at nearly 45%. Even if we knock 10% off for consistency, that's still better than one in three, and one in four is the break even point. We'll take that.

Smith/Huybrechts - Ross has often been in the conversation for best player not to win a PDC event, while he's yet to manage that, his season's been good enough to get into the top 32 of this ranking. Kim's also done alright, certainly trending back into the right direction and could get close to back in the top 32 of the general order of merit. Ross seems like he should take this most of the time, although Kim's not that far behind as an underdog - 4/5 might be worth the nibble on Smith, I'd probably be all over evens.

Heta/Kuivenhoven - Damon had another good week at the Slam, and comes into this one as a solid favourite over Kuivenhoven, Maik having tailed off in form a fair bit after a very solid first few months. Seems like a pretty standard 75/25 in Damon's favour, market has it slightly more biased towards him, but not enough where we can consider going against Heta.

Bunting/Murray - Stephen's doing enough here and there to maintain a ranking in the top 32, but is starting to miss majors, which is going to severely hurt him and put a lot of pressure on him in 2021. On the other side is Murray, who's quietly had a competent season after getting his card way back in January. 6/4 seems an accurate reflection of where the players are at - Stephen's just doing enough to be the favourite, but Ryan is a solid operator who isn't that much worse at this stage.

Ratajski/Sedlacek - All Eastern European tie here after Karel got into the event with a decent last day run which wasn't quite enough to get him into the worlds, Krzysztof we know all about, we're just waiting for the one good TV run which is the only thing that's really lacking. This projects at 70/30, so the 4/1 we can get is awfully tempting, but I get the feeling that Sedlacek's rating is slightly false on account of him seeming to be slightly streaky, so I can't really go against the rock solid Pole in this one.

Razma/Dobey - More Euro action with Madars here, got to a final earlier in the year and is another one who's got an incredibly hot A-game but can disappear for a while. Dobey's disappeared for much of the year, but still is good enough to project as about a 60/40 favourite in this one. He's a little bit shorter than that at 8/15, so if we were looking to bet we'd go towards the Latvian, but the edge isn't quite there.

Noppert/Beaton - Danny's had another great year and is finally starting to get the plaudits that his play deserves, and he's got a nice enough draw here in Steve, who's now dropped from the worlds top 32 and is reliant on the Pro Tour to make the worlds this year, which could be the beginning of the end. Beaton's still perfectly competent, but Danny's so good, and should claim this around two out of every three. Steve's priced at 7/4 which seems fine to me.

Chisnall/King - Another tasty first round tie, Mervyn's continuing to hang around the top 32 and keeps having solid runs often enough to maintain that ranking. Dave's had a couple of decent chances to bink a big event this year but is still coming up short, just not quite putting together enough when it matters most. This'll be closer than the market thinks, King is 7/4 which is extremely close to go mode, I'm getting him at near 45%, just got an underlying feeling that Dave will up his game enough here to claim it.

Price/Henderson - Not much to say about this one. Gerwyn's been really good this year. John hasn't. That we can't get 1/6 on Price isn't disrespectful, if anything it's an inaccurate assessment of their relative abilities in that Price ought to be shorter. Not enough edge to lump on, but can shove the Welshman in your accas all you like.

Evans/Hughes - Not sure how this one is priced close. Ricky's not done a great deal and hasn't shown his peak game that much this year. Jamie's not had a great season but has shown overall scoring that's a good couple of points better than Evans. As such, 0.25u Hughes evs, might even be worth a half unit play give he projects to win nearly two in every three, well over 60% in any case.

Wattimena/Lennon - Tricky one this. Jermaine's been playing alright and getting some results that seem a fair bit better than what his quality would suggest, whereas Lennon's been playing about the same but not converting into scores. Have got Lennon at a little bit over 40% in this one, although the market's enough of a non believer in Jermaine that we can only get 6/4 here. No bet.

Petersen/Humphries - Could be the tie of the round this. Devon's reclaimed some decent for after a little bit of a blip in the Winter Series, whereas Luke has been very good throughout the last year, just not getting that first senior title. Or really looking like threatening to do it. Seems like a flip of a game so 0.25u Humphries 13/8.

White/Borland - Ian could do with a bit of a TV run, seems like he's not been getting great results for a while now, although his level of performance hasn't tailed off as much as some people might think. Willie's not played bad at all this year, but this looks like a bit of a mismatch, and an appropriately priced mismatch at that - projections say he's only fractionally better than 25% and he's 3/1. Next.

Cullen/Hunt - Joe'll be looking to make a big run in a TV event after picking up his quality of play over the last couple of months and starting to look dangerous again. Adam we've mentioned a few times recently as someone who's been under the radar, cat may be out of the bag after he got through to the Slam knockout stages. Not quite the value to go with him here though, we can get 5/2, but I think he should only be about 7/4 or there abouts. A little bit longer and we'd go with it.

Cross/Lowe - Another game that'll be a good one. Rob's been alright, but nowhere near his best stuff, and Jason's someone who, but for Heta, would be in the equation for best new tour card holder. He's been playing very well after dominating Q-School. Market's already adjusted though, he's a shade over 40% and we can only get 13/8. Oh well.

van Gerwen/Labanauskas - Seems like we've seen this one a few times this year. It's usually not ended well for Darius. Can't see that changing, van Gerwen isn't value and is overrated in the market again, but not enough to go with the Lithuanian.

Clayton/Mansell - We can't go with Jonny either. Great season, continues to be underrated, very strong consistent player, but Mickey's done just about enough all year to have about a 30% shot at this one, and the market's not sleeping on Clayton and only offering 2/5. Either that, or they think Mansell sucks. Either way, we don't bet on it.

Durrant/Jones - Glen's got his big title but really done nothing since then. Can blame Covid at least. Wayne however still projects as a huge underdog. Durrant would ordinarily be a value bet, but after the Slam I think he has to be off the board until we've seen at least one good performance.

Webster/de Zwaan - Darren lucky to be here, and he's not got a bad draw in Jeffrey, who's had a 2020 that through injury and everything else I think he'd be happy to write off. Still, it is what it is and we can bet it, 0.25u Webster 11/8, while Darren's had a bad season, he's still seemingly had a better one that de Zwaan and this projects the exact opposite way, so we'll bet it.

Dolan/Woodhouse - Brendan continues to perform extremely solidly in this second coming of his career that's seen him up into the top 32, while Luke, after being talk of everyone this time last year, has had a lukewarm (boom boom) 2020, that nine darter in the Home Tour aside. We'll definitely take 0.25u Woodhouse 13/8 though, he has done enough that it projects as a flip, even though we've barely noticed him.

Joyce/Boulton - Final game and one between someone who's got himself involved in some good TV battles, and someone who's been one of the better players on tour in the year, especially in the last week of the PC series where he got into the important events. Appears to be a straight toss up on paper, so we'll go with 0.25u Boulton 6/4 as there's enough there for me.

So we have ten bets, seems like a nice number taking about a third of the games, working tomorrow so expect nothing in running but will be back either tomorrow late or Saturday morning with round 2 picks.

Edit - Skipped straight past the Wade/Zonneveld and O'Connor/van Duijvenbode matches, such was the excitement I had for the Dolan game - both lines look fine so no bets, maybe Niels is a bit underrated but also a bit rusty, so nothing more to add.

Edit 2 - This is what happens when you post in a hurry, I missed the Clemens/Kleermaker game and there's no value there either

Tuesday, 24 November 2020


Probably shouldn't ZOMG as we thought it was going to happen, but he did, Jose de Sousa denied Wade his (insert number here) major title, with a beautiful 158 checkout to seal the championship. Unbelievable performance, moves him up to third in the post restart scoring table, and more importantly, it does this to the FRH rankings:

1 Peter Wright
2 Michael van Gerwen
3 Gerwyn Price
4 James Wade (UP 4)
5 Dimitri van den Bergh (UP 1)
6 Michael Smith (DOWN 1)
7 Rob Cross (DOWN 3)
8 Jose de Sousa (UP 12)
9 Nathan Aspinall (DOWN 2)
10 Glen Durrant (DOWN 1)
11 Dave Chisnall (DOWN 1)
12 Ian White (DOWN 1)
13 Krzysztof Ratajski
14 Gary Anderson (UP 1)
15 Daryl Gurney (DOWN 3)
16 Joe Cullen (DOWN 2)
17 Simon Whitlock (UP 1)
18 Jonny Clayton (DOWN 2)
19 Mensur Suljovic (DOWN 2)
20 Danny Noppert (DOWN 1)

No new players - Petersen is within a first round win at the Players Championships of getting into the top 20, Damon Heta is up to #43 after his good run, while Adam Hunt reaches the top 64.

Now onto the Players Championships - sadly missing Jeff Smith and Mensur Suljovic for various reasons, thoughts especially are out to Mensur at this time, looks like apart from Mensur the biggest names in the FRH rankings that are missing out are Hopp, West, Pipe, Klaasen and Meulenkamp, while Krcmar is the only player now not in the top 100 (adjusted to include first round money). I'll go through the first round over the next couple of days assuming we don't get any more withdrawals, at least now it'll be a straight swap.

Meanwhile, we've had some player come through from China who looks to be a free win in the worlds for whoever plays him, and we do now know it'll be held at the worlds. But people on Twitter - do you really, honestly think there'll ever be a crowd? Have you seen how much of a lockdown nutjob Khan is? He'd give his right arm to bypass science and put London in the highest level of restrictions.