Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Matchplay round 1 bets

Let's work through them in chronological order:

Aspinall/King - 0.25u King 9/4, honestly this doesn't seem anywhere near as one sided as the market makes out. King's winning scoring is within half a point of Nathan's, while his losing scoring is a couple of points back meaning he might give away a couple of legs, Mervyn's projecting at 45%, and I really don't think you can adjust it that far down based on a slight bit of inconsistency.

Price/Bunting - 1u Price 4/9, this looks the other way around. Bunting is a clear five points behind Price on winning points per turn and is more inconsistent to boot. Projections show Price at over 80% to claim the first round win, so 4/9 looks like a nice enough edge to work with.

Anderson/Noppert - 0.25u Noppert 11/4, I should have just recommended the bet when seeing the 7/2 earlier - I've taken that, but I think I still need to recommend Danny at this price, Anderson no longer projects as the underdog after a couple of solid days of performance, but he's not put in anywhere near the level of performance that makes this line even remotely justifiable. It's 55/45 Anderson on year long stats.

Cross/Dobey - no bet. Should probably go with Cross, he's looked sublime in a couple of games this weekend and looks to have enough game that 4/11 is a tempter, it's probably acca safe but I can't really recommend a straight single play. Dobey's shown enough about him this year that the 80% I'm seeing for Cross might be a slight overestimate.

Webster/Ratajski - no bet, Darren continues to struggle, but the market's correctly adjusted to that I think - it's 1/2 on the Pole and I'm reckoning about 70/30 in his favour, so no real edge on the Eagle here.

Chisnall/Hopp - no bet again. It's another 1/2 line, and I'm seeing Dave within a percentage point of that implied probability. Hopp's not made a huge number of headlines this year in comparison to Chisnall but is playing well enough that we're not interested in lumping on Dave.

White/Cullen - no bet once more, and for the exact same reasons as the last two. Again, White is around the 1/2 mark, and I'm seeing him at 66%, so no thanks - that's shifted in a solid 5% in Cullen's favour as a result of the past couple of days.

Smith/Hughes - no bet. This is a reluctant one, I should be firing on Hughes as we're getting close to 6/4 and both players are rated closely enough that it ought to be a flip, there's just something very worrying about how Hughes has played these past two days, I wouldn't want to say it's a case of he's taken the foot off the pedal having got into here at the last second, but those stats don't look great.

Wade/de Zwaan - no bet. Very close to firing on Jeffrey, if the money comes in on Wade (and there's every reason to think that it might do), then a small play might be in order. Jeffrey is projecting at about 43%, albeit with a bit more inconsistency, the 13/8 currently available isn't quite enough. If it shifts nearer to 2/1 then fire at will.

Suljovic/Wattimena - 0.25u Wattimena 23/10, the projection here is about the same as what it is between Wade and de Zwaan, but we're getting a much better price so perfectly happy with recommending a bet on this one. That head to head record is a bit of a concern but surely Jermaine will put that aside at some point.

van Gerwen/Beaton - no bet. Odd one, you would expect over a longer format that the market would favour MvG more than it does do in the Euro Tours, but we're only getting 6/1 on Steve, and he's not even up at 20% to win the game, so no shock punts at this stage.

Lewis/Durrant - no bet, very close to firing on Glen, 8/13 is probably slight value, but given I'd put the line at about 2-1 in Glen's favour, with Adie punching through to a semi final today and with Glen not looking brilliant, I think there's enough uncertainty to avoid it. And let's not forget, for all Glen's experience, it's his first proper PDC major, and we've all seen him talk about what it means to play here - maybe it means too much?

Clayton/Brown - no bet, this one looks extremely close to being on the money, Clayton's rated at 4/5 and I'm seeing him in the mid 50's, could be one to look at the over/under number of legs.

Whitlock/Henderson - 0.25u Henderson 6/5, this is another one where I'm seeing someone in the mid 50's to win the game. Fortunately for us, it isn't Simon Whitlock, who continued to look pedestrian these past couple of days.

Gurney/Evans - 0.25u Evans 2/1, the only thing that's in Gurney's favour here is the consistency rating, because as far as winning legs go they currently score within 1/100th of a point per turn of each other. It's only the distribution of that which separates them - Ricky being a tiny favourite. I mention consistency, Gurney's losing average is about 1 point lower than his winning average, but Evans is solidly below the PDC average on that as well. This isn't a concern and looks a good bet.

Wright/van der Voort - no bet, while Wright looks unstoppable, he needs to be a bit more of unstoppable in order to punt at 1/3 - he's a little bit better than that, but south of 80%. It's not worth the gamble.

That's your lot - six bets, one big favourite in Price, one minor dog in Henderson and then four in the 2/1 to 3/1 range where if we can pick off two of them, we end up nicely ahead.

Pre-Matchplay final checkup

Peter Wright's claimed his second title in as many days, so with Michael van Gerwen and James Wade having given this Pro Tour double header a miss, let's have a quick look at the stats of the remaining 30 players from these two events:

Clearly Peter is leading the way, but some interesting things to note:

- Michael Smith's got to count himself pretty unlucky - sure, you wouldn't expect two first round losses to Toni Alcinas and Pete Hudson, but it's not like he was playing badly in the legs he lost.
- The other players up there are those that you'd have thought would be, but Joe Cullen's put a bit of form together right at the right time, capped with a final run today (although he was obliterated therein) following a last 16 yesterday. Maybe it's not so straightforward for Ian White as we first thought.
- While Smith lost twice in the first round, so did his opponent Jamie Hughes (to Josh Payne and Kirk Shepherd), and didn't look good in either of them, not the greatest of looks coming into a big major. Similarly, fellow newbie on the circuit Glen Durrant seemed a fair bit off the pace, sure it took Wright to beat him yesterday, but he did chuck away a 5-2 lead in that then lose to Steve West in the opening round today.
- Speaking of Wright, the players in his quarter really haven't performed - five of the seven others are all in the bottom ten of this pair of events, Gurney's also in the bottom half - only Jonny Clayton continues to put up any kind of resistance in his quarter and and 7/4 for Peter Wright to claim it looks really quite good.

New FRH rankings:

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

Cross's prize money degrading faster than Smith's has helped Michael claim the #2 spot in the rankings despite a pretty poor couple of days results wise. Otherwise there's no movement - Wright's double bink has kept him above White where some real failures would have seen him slip to #10, he's opened up a near 20k point gap over him and is back within 10k of Aspinall. Cullen's final has stabilised him in the top 16 for now, lower down Ron Meulenkamp's semi final yesterday sees him hit the top 50, Justin Pipe is now solidly back in the top 64 following his final, a couple of board wins for Christian Kist has bumped him back into the top 90, surprise semi finalist today Adrian Gray is up to near the top 128.

I'm going to shove all the first round matchups into the master computer with all of the data from the last two days and recommend bets accordingly, watch this space.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

PC19 - There is now steam in the Flying Scotsman

Nowhere near fully digested what's happened today, that's for tomorrow during a well earned day off work, but the critical information right now is that Gary Anderson not only entered an event, but didn't withdraw from it, and actually managed to reach the semi finals - which gives us a heck of a lot more data than what we had previously to this year, which was more or less fuck all.

In the 33 legs he won, he managed five in 12 darts or better, a further sixteen in 15 or better, and all but one of the remainder were in 18 or better. Which goes at a nice clip of 95 and a half for winning average. That's not bad, that's more or less in the same region as James Wade, Peter Wright (who dicked him again), and a touch better than Durrant and Hughes. Then again, it's not that much better than the low 93 he was doing prior to today, in around the same sample size - so if we split the difference he's at about the same level as Noppert, O'Connor, Kyle Anderson... let's not just look at "ZOMG SEMI FINAL" and assume he's back. Heck, he nearly fucked up a 5-0 lead against Marko fucking Kantele of all people. Still, more data is better data, let's build on this and try to draw some more useful conclusions tomorrow evening.

But hey! Great news! The BDO has confirmed the World Trophy for the back end of August, in Blackburn of all places!

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Quarter 4 - The Wright stuff

We kick off with the latest TV title winner in Peter Wright (congrats to Gabriel Clemens for making the final by the way, that title is surely just a matter of time, although we've been saying that about Chris Dobey for three years now), who's bizarrely seen as not being in the greatest of form despite having the fourth highest points per turn of anyone in the world - I suppose some people do just look at titles. Maybe now that he's won one he starts getting a bit more credit? His first opponent is Vincent van der Voort, often billed as the fastest player in the world despite not even being the fastest player in this quarter, the Dutchman seemingly having a bit of time without any back problems, which has allowed him to put together solid statistics throughout the year although in terms of results it's mostly been a few quarter finals and steady accumulation, rather than anything spectacular, as such he was only just able to get into the field. Should be an easy enough win for Peter, although he only has a 6-5 head to head record and lost their only meeting this season, and also lost their only meeting in a major back in 2014.

And his second round opponent might not be that much tougher - Simon Whitlock is seemingly in a stage of decline in his career, his rankings being kept alive by sporadic good runs such as the final he made on the European Tour, and the European Championship run last autumn. He looks like he's putting things together a bit more in the last couple of months but is still playing a lot worse than his ranking suggests. John Henderson will be his opponent, Hendo having a nice run of quarter finals earlier in the year and a semi final in April, but in the last couple of months it's been a bit quieter. He's still putting together better statistics in more or less every single category than the Australian, and ought to be a moderate favourite in this one. Hendo edges the head to head 4-3, but they've only met once since 2014.

Daryl Gurney's the top seed in this section, but I'm not sure he's the best player in this section, putting together scoring that's a fair bit worse than Wright, and is not that much better than the other players in his mini-section, although his numbers are pretty odd in that his winning legs are really quite average, below his first round opponent Ricky Evans, but his losing legs are not far behind his winning legs per turn at all, so is he running bad or being gifted legs? Or both? He has at least won a Euro Tour, so can't be doing too bad, and in that Euro Tour event he beat, er, Ricky Evans in the final. Ricky's been getting a bit gimmicky with his walk-ons and that banter is disguising that his quality of play has come on leaps and bounds in the last twelve months, reaching three finals, two of them being on the European Tour, so getting lumps of cash to push him up the rankings. This'll be deceptively close - that Gurney final win pulled back the head to head to 4-3 in favour of Evans, Ricky having won the three previous matches.

The final game is Jonny Clayton against Keegan Brown - Clayton is perceived as being a bit out of form, and I'm not really sure why given he's picked up another floor title this season and is scoring perfectly fine - I suppose he's just had a few accidents early in the Euro Tour events that doesn't help perception. It ought to be a good opening match against Keegan, who's becoming a bit of a specialist against Michael van Gerwen, having beaten him twice in the Euro Tour on his way to semi finals in both events, which is a nice habit to get into. This is another game that threatens to be very close - they only appear to have the one meeting, where Clayton won a board final in a deciding leg on the floor earlier this year.

Later on, I think Wright looks to be as close to a lock to make the quarters as anyone in the field, whereas the other quarter finalist could realistically be any of them - but whoever it is ought to be an underdog to Wright in the quarter.

Everyone wants more graphs, so let's have another one:

Most players are just below their dot, although some have shifted a bit funny - VVDV is the orange dot, Brown is the salmony one, Beaton's the light green dot and Ratajski's the darker green one.

Berry van Peer's recently binked Challenge Tour 11 which has shoved into a three way clusterfuck for fourth right now with him, Edhouse and Harris within fifty quid of each other, Edhouse having had another first round accident and Harris only mincashing. Cameron Menzies was the beaten finalist, forcing his way up to second in the rankings, while Arjan Konterman and Rusty Jake Rodriguez made nice runs through to the semi finals.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Quarter 3 - Cross or Price? Or White? Or Ratajski?

In reference to the comment at the end of the previous post, of course they couldn't have switched the events up, we can't have players missing the Pro Tour because of that most prestigious events that is the German Darts Masters, can we? Completely forgot that was on this weekend, oh well, I'm sure MvG will clean up again... oh. Still, I hope someone made some Nico Kurz making short work of Gary Anderson pun, just to see who would get it.

Rob Cross is the top seeded player in this section of the draw, and has an OK opener against Chris Dobey, who's making his debut here after being extremely close to qualifying in the past few years, I think being the last man out on at least one occasion. Cross hasn't exactly racked up the titles this year, but has made the final of both the UK Open and the Premier League, and statistically is right up there with the best in the game, although in competitive events we've not seen him on the Pro Tour in quite a while and he's dropped out of the last three Euro Tours he's played pretty early. Dobey's still looking for his first title, getting close in Denmark to clinch his place here but completely running out of steam in the final. Cross has won three out of their four meetings, including the only one this year on the Euro Tour. Rob should have enough you'd think.

Darren Webster's looking to get things back together after a horrible twelve months since he made the quarters last year (beating Cross, oddly enough) - eleven first round defeats on the floor isn't a good look and he's one of the two weakest seeds in the event. It's not a good sign that he's drawn one of the very best qualifiers in Krzysztof Ratajski, the Pole having claimed another floor title recently and has put enough together to qualify for this. Their only previous meeting was on TV in the snow-affected UK Open, and I can't look past a repeat of that result where Ratajski won 10-7, although I think that'd be a minimum sort of scoreline, it could well be more one sided than that.

Gerwyn Price has continued to raise his game after getting his first major title last autumn and can now class himself amongst the world's elite, and has to fancy his chances of doing some damage in this section of the draw. He's continuing to rack up titles having picked up a pair of Pro Tours, reached the UK Open semi and seems to be deep in events more often than not. His first round opponent will be Stephen Bunting, who's managed to get here just about, although that was in doubt a couple of months ago, but a final on the floor at the start of May made things safe enough, and the final in the Czech Republic late last month was overkill. Stephen's a big name and still has his moments, but is somewhat down the pecking order of qualifiers nowadays and surely won't be able to put up enough resistance to trouble the Iceman over a game of this distance - their meeting in Denmark recently wasn't close and Price has won their last three matchups.

Finally we've got Ian White, who is putting together the sort of season he did last year, if not more impressive - winning two Euro Tour titles, making the final of two others, it's just the same lingering question of if he can do it in a televised major. You would think that having the run that he's had in the Euro Tour, it's going to happen sooner rather than later, and he's got a decent chance to get things going against Joe Cullen, who has had quite frankly a horrible last twelve months after nearly beating Gary Anderson here last time around in the quarter final. He made the semis of the European Championship but that's about it - he's slipped from the top 16, hasn't threatened to do much of anything on the Pro Tour, and even in the Euro Tour which, at least in 2018, was the safest of spaces for him, he's started losing early and doing so often. He needs to put his game back together quickly, and running into one of the in form players in the world right now isn't going to be the place where it happens. They've met eleven times, all on the floor, but oddly not since 2016, where White won both meetings very deep in each event.

Later on, Cross ought to be favoured - prohibitively if it was Webster, while it would be closer against Krzysztof, but he still should be comfortable. Price against White would be an incredibly tasty second round match up - Price is playing somewhat better darts, and while I'd project Gerwyn to win it quite a high proportion of the time, in reality it would probably be closer. As for who wins the quarter, I think Cross against either of these should be tight, similarly if Ratajski sneaked through, it'd be tight, except there Price/White probably has the small edge, rather than the other way around.

Quick notes on the Challenge Tour - it's been a huge weekend for Cody Harris, who won event 9 and reached the semis of event 10, where he lost to eventual winner Nick Fullwell, a name who's been around for quite some time (heck, he was in the PDC worlds ten years ago), but has been quiet on the Challenge Tour this year, only having picked up £200 prior to this weekend, so he only sneaks into the top 10 of the current rankings. Harris moves into a tie for third with Ritchie Edhouse who had a rare couple of blanks, while Koltsov in second could only gain £200 on Stephen Burton, who still has a substantial lead. Nathan Rafferty had a good Saturday, picking up £1200 (including making the final where he lost to Fullwell) to get up to sixth, Andy Jenkins hit a nine on a run to the semis, while Martin Atkins (Wigan) was the other beaten finalist. Lower down the order it was a good day for Mareno Michels and Gary Blades, who apart from Harris and Rafferty were the only players to make the last 16 both times. Only £500 separates Noguera in 5th to Beveridge in 11th, so a lot of jockeying for position as Pro Tour alternates might go on and it wouldn't take a huge amount of cash to queue jump several players.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Quarter 2 - it's wide open

There's a heck of a lot of talent in this quarter so let's start from the top. Michael Smith's not done a huge amount in terms of results since making the final of the worlds, he had a nice run in the UK Open and hit a couple of finals at a time where he had dropped out of the Euro Tour seeds, but you'd expect someone of Smith's calibre and quality of play to have won something this season. Jamie Hughes has, and it's a very tight matchup between Smith and the latest European Tour winner. Hard to call, Jamie's probably peaking at the right time but Smith did have a nice run in Vegas to boost confidence. They've only met once, a 6-0 Smith win last season the day after, according to dartsdatabase, Smith was winning an event in Texas while simultaneously losing in the first round to Benito van de Pas in Ireland. You have to laugh.

Dave Chisnall's also been in the winners circle this year, grabbing a Euro Tour title as well as two Pro Tour events, and was probably the player to beat in the early part of the season before maybe cooling off slightly before taking the Denmark title. Max Hopp is his opponent, the German is scoring alright, but has been very run of the mill in terms of results outside of one Pro Tour final where he lost a decider to Harry Ward, as well as making one Euro Tour semi where he really should have been able to beat Simon Whitlock. Chizzy's rightly a nice favourite and ought to have enough to see this one home. They've met several times - Hopp's won a couple of close ones but Chizzy's won the rest, and mostly fairly comfortably, a straight sets win in the last Grand Prix and a 6-1 rout in the World Series finals being the most recent games.

Hard to say what we think about Gary Anderson. He's played next to no competitive darts at all, be that through the injury issues that saw him miss out on the Premier League, continued ignorance of the existence of the European Tour, or through late withdrawals to events he has been in. When he has played, he's not been good, losing to Steve Beaton in the UK Open, then not winning his board in four Pro Tour events with early losses to van der Voort, Whitehead, Nentjes and 6-0 to Wright. Less than 80 legs is no sample, but Noppert's outplayed what Gary's done there over 500+ legs. Danny has quietly been putting together excellent performances, highlighted by a pair of semi finals in the Pro Tour in one weekend, and is playing at an extremely similar level to the likes of Willie O'Connor and Nathan Aspinall, albeit more explosive. That's good enough to equate to a 3/1 shot of beating MvG in a Matchplay final. He's 7/2 right now, which is just silly - heck, their previous TV meeting (when Noppert was still in the BDO) went 10-9 to Anderson, and Noppert won their only meeting since.

Speaking of Nathan Aspinall, the newest major champion and World Series event winner completes the seeds in this section. He's comprehensively shown that the worlds semi was not a fluke. He's nearly added another couple of ranking titles to that UK Open win, and has forced himself up into the top 16 in any reasonable metric you want to use - although it is a debut for him here. One player it's not a debut for is Mervyn King, who was able to deal with van Gerwen and open up the draw for Aspinall, but has been pretty variable in how he's done. He's got a big consistency differential, which has seen him win with some decent legs that project King to be close enough to Aspinall that he has a realistic chance, but his off legs are quite a bit worse. If they have met before, it's only been once and it's not been recently.

Second round is incredibly tight. You can make a reasonable case for anyone who isn't Hopp to make their way to the quarter final out of the top section, such is the parity in their levels of play. In the bottom half, I doubt that King would be able to win two in a row if he did beat Aspinall, but if not, Nathan against either opponent ought to be very tight. I think the top four players are somewhat stronger than the bottom four, but realistically anyone in this quarter has the A-game to make their way out of it if they show up - maybe King lacks the stamina nowadays to come through a quarter final length match, and maybe Hopp lacks the experience of playing that length, but anyone else is completely believable.

Probably get the bottom half sorted over the weekend, along with keeping an eye on the Challenge Tour. Is there any reason whatsoever why they could have the Challenge Tour the week after while the Matchplay is on, and have the Pro Tour this weekend rather than midweek?

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Quarter 1 - MvG for certain, right?

So, you'd think that van Gerwen would be an automatic stroll in the park here. I'm not so sure to be honest. Steve Beaton isn't completely drawing dead - he's playing his best darts in years, and has certainly pushed van Gerwen close a couple of times on TV in the past, only losing by fairly small margins here in 2012 and 2014, although they haven't met in any format since 2017.

Adrian Lewis against Glen Durrant is an interesting one to call - Lewis's form seems to have dipped a bit in the past couple of months if you look at the rolling averages, whereas Glen has been playing extremely consistently ever since his move to the PDC, the only thing that he's really lacking is a TV or European Tour run, which he might be able to do here. If Durrant does go through, which we're thinking right now he'll do about two thirds of the time, note that his chance of making the quarters is not much less than half of his chances of making the last sixteen - he's that close to van Gerwen, who he comfortably beat in their only match up to date, although that was on the floor. Lewis has met Durrant three times in board finals on the Pro Tour this year, none of them have been blowouts but Durrant has been getting progressively better and took the third one after Adie took the first two.

van Gerwen wouldn't want to meet either of the next two in the quarters - James Wade is having his best twelve month spell in probably a decade, and has picked up four Pro Tour titles this season - in one of those he beat his opponent in the first round, Jeffrey de Zwaan, an 8-5 scoreline giving Wade a 4-0 head to head record having beaten de Zwaan three times last season, although two were in deciding legs. de Zwaan did claim a title himself after that defeat and would like to repeat the semi final he made here last year, but he's in a heck of a tough part of the draw to do that. He could certainly do with a bit of a TV run having fallen early in both the worlds and the UK Open, not having a huge amount of success in Europe is holding him back a touch.

Finally we've got Mensur Suljovic against Jermaine Wattimena. Mensur's been sliding backwards a touch, since making last year's final shortly after winning another Euro Tour event, he's not made a final of any description since. He's been playing a bit better than his performances suggest and is well capable of winning titles soon, so let's not start writing him off just yet. Jermaine is now well established in the top 32 in the world, and will want to get through this one to try to avenge his first round loss in overtime against Wade on debut last year. He has made a final this year where he lost to van Gerwen, and is showing up in the business end of floor events with some regularity, but if he's not going to break through and win something (he's yet to win any event in the PDC), he could do with at least getting out of the first round here. I'm not overly convinced about his numbers and he seems to be outperforming them somewhat, but this isn't the worst draw he could get and he could pick this one up - if his 0-5 record against Mensur doesn't continue, only one of those results really being close, but they've only met once in the past two years since Jermaine started to really progress.

In the later stages of this section, van Gerwen would surely be favourite against either Lewis or Durrant, but Glen is more than capable of taking him down over what'd still be a moderately short distance, and Adie certainly has the peak to do it, even if he hasn't really shown it recently. I'm thinking the winner of the Wade match would have an edge over the winner of the Suljovic match, James is playing a fair bit better than both players he could meet, and de Zwaan's certainly not playing at a bad level either. The quarter's another one where, while van Gerwen would still be favoured, and while we are getting to a longer distance, if it was Wade that he played (if he gets there at all), Wade would certainly be in with a strong chance of pushing him all the way.