Thursday, 27 February 2020

Belgium day 1 picks

Qualifiers are done, which has seen Wesley Plaisier and Ryan Harrington get through the associate qualifier (interesting to see Norris made the trip for that one), and Geert de Vos, Ronny Huybrechts and Jeffrey van Edgom make it through the home nation qualifier. Bit of a disappointing turnout for that one, no Vandenboegaerde or Baetens, oddly enough. Never mind that though, two great things this evening, there's already lines up for all the games including the qualifiers, and Dirk van Duijvenbode's liked my tweet bemoaning his bad luck re: draws. Day 1, what do we have?

Darren Penhall v Ryan Searle - good game to open up, obv Searle has won an event, but Penhall's had a solid enough opening to his PDC career so isn't without his chances. The line looks competent enough though, maybe Searle's got slightly better chances than the 1/2 odds currently quoted, but it's incredibly slight.

Andy Boulton v Andy Hamilton - the Hammer's back on the European Tour, and the markets have this fairly even. Not sure why, 0.25u Boulton 11/10, he's a lesser name but he's playing solidly better darts than Hamilton is and has been doing so for some time.

Kai Fan Leung v Steve Beaton - interesting opening matchup for Kai, and one that I think he can take if he can take what he's done on the floor so far against Beaton who, while we know what Steve can do, hasn't had the best six months or so. 0.25u Fan Leung 13/10, it's not that far odds against so they are respecting his game somewhat, but probably not enough, Kai's playing the better stuff as of right now.

Luke Humphries v Ronny Huybrechts - great for Ronny to get an appearance in front of a home crowd, but it'd take a huge price for me to consider going against Humphries in current form, 5/2 isn't it.

Michael Barnard v Damon Heta - still not quite sure how Barnard got through a qualifier but it is what it is, will be interesting to see what Heta will do on a European Tour debut, but I can't see any way he messes this up, 0.5u Heta 1/3, this seems very safe.

Wesley Plaisier v Benjamin Pratnemer - Plaisier's back through the associate qualifier again and gets the worlds competitor Pratnemer who got through the eastern qualifier. If you can actually get on the evens that Sportingbet are offering on Wesley and not get it palped then there's a tasty arb available, but we're not going to be interested in that, 13/8 on Ben's half tempting but I think I'll pass due to lack of data.

Martijn Kleermaker v Stephen Bunting - boy does this one look decent, Martijn's not lit it up quite as much as I thought he would do, but has a stage opportunity against the former Lakeside champion, and he's a decent underdog, which I think is worth a poke - 0.25u Kleermaker 21/10, this seems a bit more like a 6/4 sort of game so we'll push what looks like enough of an edge.

Justin Pipe v Mervyn King - afternoon session closes with two veterans and former Euro Tour winners colliding, no clue why Pipe is the dog, 0.25u Pipe 13/8 is very easy, probably the easiest pick so far, that line should be the other way around.

Dirk van Duijvenbode v Luke Woodhouse - what a great game to start the evening session, two of the more in form players that are under the casual fans radar, and the bookies can't split them, I think it's fairly close to going with a DvD bet at evens, but this only feels 55/45 or there abouts so it's not that big of a deal.

Mike de Decker v Ron Meulenkamp - this is evens each of them? OK, I'll pick one if you're printing a pick'em line, 0.25u Meulenkamp evs, Mike may be at home but Ron's the superior player and this ought to be 8/11 in his favour roughly.

Callan Rydz v Gabriel Clemens - tough draw for the North East native, who's not done a great deal in his first few tournaments as a tour card holder, Clemens is rightly installed as a better than 2-1 favourite, which is right where I'm seeing the line.

Danny Noppert v Geert de Vos - I've got nothing on Geert. At least not recently. Danny's 1/3 which given how he's been performing for a long time now doesn't seem too unreasonable.

Ryan Harrington v Kim Huybrechts - Rod's lad lives! Maybe not for long against a rapidly improving Huybrechts in Belgium, 0.5u Huybrechts 5/11, Ryan's really done very little to warrant betting against Kim and his qualification performance showed nothing truly threatening.

Rowby-John Rodriguez v Steve Lennon - I'm not even going to look at the master computer for this one. Steve's returned to peak form and should ride through it, he's 1/2, that might even be value.

Steve West v Jeffrey van Egdom - Another qualifier I have no recent stats on. He's 6/4, which isn't enough to make me consider going against an established player like Steve, Jeffrey's final round average was OK, but that's not going to cut it unless we know for sure Steve's going to miss chunks of doubles.

Dimitri van den Bergh v Derk Telnekes - This line seems alright to me. Dimitri's 2/5, perhaps a little short, but that it's in Belgium in front of (by this stage) pissed Belgians surely counteracts any small edge on Telnekes.

That's the lot, seven picks, let's see what happens.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

UK Open first gut feelings

These are in no way intended to be tips, but I'm just going to throw out what I think will happen at this stage:

Ashton section is pretty tight and interesting. Think Meikle has the edge, but de Decker's quality, Koltsov if he shows up can beat anyone here but could easily lose first round, Borland's an interesting wildcard.

Heta section should be his but this is full of ridiculously dangerous players, there's only Telnekes that I think doesn't really have much of a chance.

Fancy Vincent to claim this one. Think Fallon on stage should win the first two, but off stage, maybe not so much, Huckvale or Burton (favouring Adam on recent Challenge Tour form) could throw a spanner in the works.

Lowe should get through, he's playing too well not to unless Harris or Taylor show peak form.

Kciuk's good enough to make the last 64. Should have little trouble getting through the first two rounds, Ward/Carlin's a close one to call but the Pole I think's better at this point in time.

No stopping Joyce here. Jacques/Teehan might be a close struggle that could give Yordi an edge.

Askew I think has a little bit over Ritchie, but it's close, Rowby should beat either, then we get the tipster's nightmare game.

Rydz seems like the pick of these who start in the first round, although Smith-Neale has some level of pedigree. Edgar being rested up and his opponent having two games in the bank by the time they play might make the difference.

Owen should have too much for Williams. Owen hasn't shown enough to make me think he'll beat a non-bottom tier tour card holder. None of these are in de Sousa's league.

Jones should be able to grind the first round out, but Whitehead I think has a bit of extra class. West ought to come through the last game though.

Evetts is the pick here, Wilson is lacking in form too much. Berry's game is an interesting one, got to pick against Owen based on big tournament experience.

Doets should be able to take down probably the most inexperienced player in the field, but then Pallett (on stage, presumably for Alfie equity) is a big step up. Dave ought to have enough over Stevenson.

None of the rest of these seem controversial, Anderson has every chance but Humphries is showing way too much in the last 2-3 months, similarly with Woodhouse/Payne, can't see Thornton or Reyes troubling either of their opponents.

Kai's playing decently early in his Pro Tour career and should handle both opponents, but Pipe is an incredibly tricky opponent.

Think that whoever wins out of Hunt/Sedlacek takes this, Bates will not trouble either and only Murnan I think is a real threat from the other half, and not that big of a threat.

Barry/Tabern's a good game. Think Keane's going to step up, Steve Brown would be a tough second round ask assuming he beats Barnard, which he should given how well he's taken to being back on tour, but after the last weekend Lennon's too good.

Mansell I think's doing enough here. Lynskey I'm not convinced by, and I think Hamilton's experience will show over Zonneveld, but Mickey has the tools to nick this one.

Rafferty's been a bit quiet which is why I'm picking Beveridge, but Mike's improved a bit of late and I think he claims the round two win. None of them should trouble Jamie.

Only game I'm really sure of here is the round two game, I think either Richardson or Penhall should be an easy favourite. Both first round games should be very competitive, and I think Alcinas is there for the taking.

Menzies if he shows up ought to win, but what's he done of late? Kenny's started the year off well enough that he ought to cash, but Devon's inspired right now and ought not to be defeated here.

I think the only tricky one to call in this section is Smith/Jenkins - Harms appears the class of the top section, while Murray's a fair bit better than either Atkins or Bunse, although Christian should at a minimum give him a decent workout.

Tricky section first up. McGeeney's better in long form but hasn't had the best 2020 to date, Boulton appears the best of the lot.

Smith/van der Voort should be very competitive, I've picked the Canadian but this is real hard to call.

Dirk's playing at a level that he should be able to win these two games. Darius is going to be a very hard task, but the Dutchman is at a standard now that if he holds his game together he should prevail.

Kuivenhoven easily enough, he's had a very nice start to the year, but Clemens is different gravy.

Only possible controversial round 3 game is Schindler/van de Pas, I've gone for Benito as I think he's had a much better start to 2020 than the German, Martin's definitely got the quality that he can take it though. I guess if you know Dekker's going to play well you can make a case for him, but Willie's looked a clear couple of levels better than Jan in 2020.

Wasn't expecting the draw up this early, so I've shoved this up and will look more to Belgium later in the week.

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Ten things we've learned from this weekend's darts

1) Peter Wright is the best player in the world right now

Sure, he was the world champion, but his level of play is that little bit above anyone else who might have been in the equation. Post-worlds he's a clear point per turn ahead of anyone in the field (Ian White's currently in second) and there's only one other player who's within two points, namely MvG. If I was to extend to include the worlds, White's less than a point behind but it's still the only two players I mentioned who are within two points. He's playing that well, he's taken over from MvG in Faria's Elo rankings which is saying something.

2) We're at peak Devon Petersen

Would it shock you if I said that Devon is in the top five points per turn in the world from Ally Pally forwards inclusive? He's not played a huge amount of legs, but the legs he has won have been extremely impressive after running into a bunch of players doing alright in the first couple of weekends. A semi final on the Saturday was very impressive, whitewashing today's semi finalist Bunting, averaging over 110 and 105 in the next couple of rounds, holding it together against Rob Cross, only being stopped by Wright, while today he won his board again, beating an in-form Christian Bunse (look, if you beat MvG I'm calling you in form), Hendo then Glen Durrant before being edged out by Krzysztof Ratajski. He's not in the first Euro Tour but he is in the second, so combined with the UK Open, there's chances for his notably better stage game to kick in at a time when he's playing well. Which could be scary.

3) There's plenty of entertainment away from the PDC

While being disappointed that there was no obvious stat coverage in this weekend's Slovakian events, there was actually a stream of it, seemingly on the channel of the venue - I'd go and check it out, the first men's final was a solid nip and tuck event between Wayne Warren and David Evans, every leg being a hold and the Welshman claiming it, while the second one was Chris Landman look really good for 3-4 legs against Sebastian Steyer, before they mutually forget how to play darts and Chris gets over the line 6-1. I just picked out the men's finals, there's at least one of the ladies finals between Deta Hedman and Maria O'Brien, and James Beeton I think was in one of the youth finals. Russ Bray's calling it so it's worth searching out just for that.

4) Gerwyn Price confirms he has that MvG hoodoo off his back

I was fearing the worst in today's final when he blew a 7-4 lead to be pulled back to 7-7, where MvG was on throw, but that 171 he hit to leave 94 and then hitting bull to finish it off after MvG hit 174 to leave a single darter, that's some play.

5) Can someone give Dirk van Duijvenbode a break?

I've been talking about Dirk's quality of play for quite some time now, this weekend he drew Glen Durrant in the first round, averaged 102 and lost, then drew Gary Anderson, averaged 98 and lost, 6-5 and 6-4 respectively. He's scoring 93 a turn this season which is easily in the top 20, how high up being dependent on how much you want to filter players with small samples. Sure, the secret is out a little bit after he did have the one good run earlier, but it'd be nice if he was given a couple of layups at some point.

6) Is Steve Lennon back?

Just a small fraction of a point behind Dirk is Steve - he's hit a nine this weekend, made a semi final, made the board final to follow it up, it's some decent play that's got results, he didn't do a great deal in 2019 but wasn't exactly playing badly, maybe he can push on from here.

7) What's Michael Smith doing?

A couple of games this weekend where he's lost in the opening round - Saturday he lost averaging a ton 6-5 to Jamie Lewis (no, Mason, he's not back in form), then today he lost averaging seven points more to Robert Collins. Weird results. He's not playing bad, he's looked majestic in some spots in the Premier League, it's probably weird variance, but you would expect Michael to be claiming these ones.

8) Several players we were hyping last year are still playing well

Danny Noppert's in the top ten of points per turn. Krzysztof Ratajski is there as well. Jose de Sousa's just a place outside. We've mentioned Dirk already. Luke Woodhouse is safely in the top 30. These guys are doing consistent things week in week out - obviously we've seen some of them go on to do great things, some this season, but a consistent drum beat needs to be heard.

9) Is Benito back in peak form?

van de Pas won his board on Saturday, beating Ian White and putting up a 108 burger on Jason Lowe before running into an inspired Steve Lennon, today he whitewashed Martijn Kleermaker, he's been deceptively alright more or less since winning through to the worlds as a wildcard, and perhaps for a little bit before that. He needs to do so as well given his tour card status.

10) UK Open is finalised

The level of "amateur" qualifiers is pretty hilarious, we've talked about the previous weekends already but this weekend we got James Richardson, Darren Beveridge, Jason Askew, Justin Smith and Alfie Thompson added. I was surprised Beveridge didn't get an auto-shout from the Challenge Tour countback, but it is what it is, Richardson we know is quality, Dave's lad has looked threatening on the secondary tours, while Justin's had multiple secondary tour quarters or better as well. That just leaves Alfie - who's apparently not even of drinking age, and will surely give the TV guys a decent story in the opening round if they can avoid talking about Sherrock for five seconds.

New FRH rankings:

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

Not a huge amount of movement, Krzysztof making another semi final sees him edge ahead of Adie by less than a purple granny, while Bunting's semi sees him climb above a continuing to slide Whitlock. White's less than a semi final behind Wade, while Duzza's only 8k behind White. Aspinall is within one event of the top five. Lower down, Lennon's up to #43 but there's a decent sized gap to the top 40, Devon's good weekend sees him rise to #55, and a couple of board finals for Scott Mitchell sees him up in the mid 100's.

Next stop is Belgium, I'll probably take a quick gander at who's already qualified, before coming back on Thursday evening once all the remaining qualifiers are done with the first bets in quite a while. Take care ladies and gents.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

2020 Second/Third Division Darts Results Page

Division 2:

Ian White 10.17
Jose de Sousa 10.00
Chris Dobey 9.83
Krzysztof Ratajski 9.17
Dave Chisnall 9.00
Dimitri van den Bergh 9.00
James Wade 9.00
Jamie Hughes 8.50
Adrian Lewis 8.00
Mensur Suljovic 7.33

Division 3:

Josh Payne 10.00
Ted Evetts 10.00
Jeffrey de Zwaan 9.83
Keegan Brown 9.50
Martin Schindler 9.50
Max Hopp 9.00
Ricky Evans 9.00
Danny Noppert 8.17
Luke Humphries 8.00
Callan Rydz 7.00


PC1 - No games
PC2 - Jose de Sousa 6-1 Adrian Lewis (2), Martin Schindler 6-0 Callan Rydz (3)
PC3 - Chris Dobey 6-3 Mensur Suljovic (2), Ted Evetts 6-2 Callan Rydz (3), Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-3 Danny Noppert (3), Josh Payne 6-1 Luke Humphries (3), Keegan Brown 6-4 Martin Schindler (3)
PC4 - Ian White 6-4 Jamie Hughes (2), Ian White 6-3 Mensur Suljovic (2), Krzysztof Ratajski 8-7 Ian White (2)

PC5 plan of attack

With all the numbers into the master computer, and with there being yet another Pro Tour weekend in just a few days, let's have a think about where we want to bet. Burton's got the Pro Tour order of merit up, so let's drop all the seeds in, along with some wildcards (anyone with a sample that dates back to last season and a points per turn score of over 91 - if anyone wants to drop in a Jeff Smith, Jason Lowe, Damon Heta to their punts, go right ahead, I won't stop you), and see what things look like:

So a word on what this is showing, before we start thinking about who we want to punt on. The seeds and players should be obvious. The odds are in decimal, and the points per turn metric is the same as what we usually use - dating back to September inclusive. There's an argument that information from that long ago isn't going to be massively relevant, but I'd rather take some extra hard information to increase sample size.

Now that last column is the key one. What I've done here is taken the number of points per turn everyone's scoring above 87, cubed it, and then multiplied it by the odds. Getting something like this perfect is going to be hard - the quality of player doesn't necessarily increase exponentially, but it does increase more than linearly I think, if we take someone scoring 85 per turn, then I'd think that someone scoring 95 probably has more than twice the advantage of someone scoring 90, but I think I've needed to do this in order to account for the wild swings in odds, unless you're wanting to chuck out the very short priced players.

Let's look at who jumps out. In the top quarter, Mensur looks useful. Still got a very good game, still has the ability to go very deep (he has a tour win in the sample used), 50's is fairly tempting, and aside from van Gerwen, his quarter isn't really that threatening, and even Michael doesn't look his usual invincible self. van Gerwen would have to go through Cross to get to that point, and while we've pointed out that Rob's maybe not in the most brilliant form previously, he's still clearly an elite player.

Second quarter has Wright and Ratajski as potential punts, but you've got to look at de Sousa. You can't look past the Portuguese guy - he's got an incredible game, is showing it this year as well, albeit running into some tricky opponents, and at 66's is very nicely priced. This isn't anything new, but is highlighting that even after two wins he's still value.

Third quarter? I had White on the Saturday last weekend, but skipped the Sunday, damnit. The only real issue is nothing to do with White's quality, we all know that, it's that this quarter is fierce beyond belief. We've gone with Clemens and Clayton a few times in these, Nathan Aspinall isn't an inspiring bet but is clearly a danger to anyone here, same with de Zwaan really, Noppie can flash and while Gurney's figures are really bad for a Premier League player, especially in 2020, he can turn it on if he needs to.

Bottom quarter has one obvious highlight in Justin Pipe, level of play is good enough that we can justify thinking about him at 150/1, but there's three very short priced players in his section that he may have to go through to win it, including an almost unavoidable Gerwyn Price, so maybe the combination of going through all of those top talents sours my enthusiasm a bit.

Then we have the wildcards. We might think Suljovic looks good - drop Humphries and Anderson (either of them I guess) in as first and second round opponents and it suddenly looks fairly horrendous. On the flip side, if any of these drop into something like, say, that eighth of the draw with Suljovic in, or the Cullen/Beaton area, or even just into a half of a board with a weak seed, then you can maybe think about taking the three figure players. Is there anyone in that list that you can look at and say nah, he can't make a Pro Tour final? I don't know. Maybe Devon is a bit of a stretch, but that's about it. Just keep an eye out on who goes where on Saturday morning, and place your bets accordingly.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Scoring from PC 1-4

Some brief stats now that I've got Players Championship 3 and 4 into the master computer. Let's pick the top 32 and the bottom 32 players in points per turn (so roughly the top and bottom quarters of the size of the field). First, the top 32:

Any surprises there? Well we know Peter Wright's been playing really well. de Sousa and Humphries have been pretty unfortunate so far. Benito van de Pas being up there is a bit of a surprise, looking at his losing average, maybe he's due a bit of a run. Of new card holders, Lowe, Smith and Heta are making good running. Luke Woodhouse is continuing decent form from last year, as I keep saying, Dirk van Duijvenbode is playing really well, meanwhile if there was a random Dutch guy who won his card that I'd expect to sneak in from nowhere, it wouldn't be van der Meer (but Kuivenhoven isn't far off). At the bottom:

This is somewhat slanted by getting a few Challenge Tour call ups, but there's quite a few players you'd be surprised to see. James Wilson seems to have fallen back off a cliff. Daryl Gurney, what are you doing? Max Hopp is a bit out of form as well. I'd have thought Kantele and Telnekes would be a bit higher given they've had some OK performances, I guess not.

One little bit of news that's come out today is that Dimitri van den Bergh's been given an invite to the Copenhagen World Series event, along with the big four, Sherrock, Aspinall and Ando. This is a really strange one to me, and seems horrific timing given that Dimitri only just got his first win of the year on account of drawing Aaron Beeney in the first round on Sunday, and isn't even the top scoring Belgian this year - he can dance, sure, but if you're looking for someone continental to have a shot, why not plug Ratajski in? Why not plug de Sousa in? Give Clemens more than just the German installment perhaps? He had a good worlds, fair enough, but he's had at least one shot at one of these previously, and while he's been getting better, probably shouldn't be at the front of the queue in my book. Oh well, what can you do.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

That was the weekend that was

Lot of darts been played this weekend - let's start with what's just finished, where Jim Williams claimed the Scottish Open title, defeating Steve Hine in a very high quality final, at least from Jim, who was averaging well over a hundred for most of the game, only tailing off down to two figures right at the end. Steve didn't really turn up in the final, but put in a near ton average in the semi against Martin Adams, frequent Challenge Tour contender Darren Beveridge being your other semi finalist. Quite a few familiar names going deep, Gary Stone and Paul Hogan making the quarters along with recent UK Open qualifier Jason Heaver and Neill Duff, James Richardson hit the last sixteen, Mike Warburton had a decent run to that stage, similar for former Dutch Open finalist Ryan Hogarth. In the ladies, Beau Greaves and Fallon Sherrock were clearly better than anyone in the field, and it was the former who was victorious in the final, no real shock names going deep.

To the PDC - Ryan Searle claimed a surprise first title on the Saturday over Michael van Gerwen to put himself right into Matchplay contention, pure consistency really, only the one average below 95 (still managing 93 in a 6-5 win over Durrant), and only the one above 100, in the semi over de Zwaan. Wins over Price and Smith as well, very solid run. Today saw Krzysztof Ratajski back in the winners circle, edging the final 8-7 over Ian White, with Peter Wright getting a second semi final, Danny Noppert being the other semi finalist who prevented van Gerwen from getting any of the first four events. Few surprise board winners here, Karel Sedlacek was able to take out both Rob Cross and Luke Humphries, Daniel Larsson got what seems a fairly comfortable run but still needed to get the wins, while Maik Kuivenhoven went one better to beat Larsson and make the quarters, a second quarter final of the season showing much improved form of late.

If Wikipedia's to be believed, Kevin Burness, Rhys Hayden, Robert Owen and Lewy Williams have made the UK Open - Burness and Owen we know a fair bit about, Hayden's been in and around the Development Tour for a while now along with some Challenge Tour appearances, and did make the BDO worlds back in 2015 as a wildcard qualifier, while Williams is a completely new name to me, probably as he's been known more as Lewis, must also be fairly young having played a lot of the Development Tour in 2019.

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Peter Wright
3 Gerwyn Price
4 Rob Cross
5 Michael Smith
6 Nathan Aspianll
7 Daryl Gurney
8 Dave Chisnall
9 James Wade
10 Ian White
11 Glen Durrant
12 Gary Anderson
13 Mensur Suljovic
14 Adrian Lewis
15 Krzysztof Ratajski
16 Chris Dobey
17 Simon Whitlock
18 Stephen Bunting
19 Joe Cullen
20 Jonny Clayton

No changes, although White's within 3k of Wade now, and Bunting's only about 100 behind Whitlock. Noppert's decent weekend gets him up to #27, Searle breaks into the top 40 at the expense of Steve West, while Kuivenhoven is now up to #110.

There's a few things that I want to go over on this weekend's events (need to look at the Euro Tour qualifiers as well I guess), but I want to withhold judgment on everything until I've got all the stats into the master computer, which I'll look to do tomorrow mostly, maybe some tonight. So check back Tuesday I guess?