Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Into the summer break

We're well into a near month long gap without any relevant PDC darts, there's the Development Tour in a couple of weeks, but it's just exbos outside of that, so let's look at the FRH rankings after a triple header from Barnsley where Cross, Aspinall and, from where I don't know, Keegan Brown got the cake:

1 Peter Wright
2 Gerwyn Price
3 Michael van Gerwen
4 Michael Smith
5 Danny Noppert
6 Rob Cross (UP 1)
7 Luke Humphries (UP 1)
8 James Wade (DOWN 2)
9 Jonny Clayton
10 Jose de Sousa
11 Nathan Aspinall (UP 3)
12 Dimitri van den Bergh
13 Ryan Searle (DOWN 2)
14 Dirk van Duijvenbode (DOWN 1)
15 Gary Anderson
16 Joe Cullen
17 Damon Heta
18 Krzysztof Ratajski
19 Dave Chisnall
20 Callan Rydz

Not a huge amount of changing - Nathan winning one and finalling another gives him a huge jump getting close to the top 10, while Wade either missing the events or doing nothing in them (I forget which) and Cross winning one with Humphries finalling one sees him drop down to eighth.

Lower down, Keegan's win sees him go up to 61st, it's been a fairly solid weekend for most of those outside the top 20 so not a whole lot of shifting there, Ted Evetts making a semi sees him back into the top 80, and that's pretty much it.

So what of the WDF? The big Aussie event was fairly disappointing in terms of quality - we at least got stats to work this out, which is better than what they could do in Antwerp, where Jamie Lewis and Wesley Plaisier got the cake. How they did it, who knows. No stream either for the Australian event, at least outside of domestic which was paywalled anyway. Later on, there's some small antipodean events for which is usually pretty terrible in terms of getting any sort of reliable data, one in Sweden I don't know, then we get to the British Open which I think ought to be covered on Dart Connect. We'll see.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

Post-Matchplay FRH rankings

Apologies, super busy week, needless to say that I didn't see any decent bets in the latter stages, maybe van Gerwen was marginal value in the final, which would have paid off, but can't take credit for that. Overall a disappointing tournament from a betting standpoint, but we can't complain about the number of good close games that we got, and it's good to see that the best player in the world got his hands back onto a major trophy.

New FRH rankings:

1 Peter Wright
2 Gerwyn Price
3 Michael van Gerwen (UP 1)
4 Michael Smith (DOWN 1)
5 Danny Noppert (UP 4)
6 James Wade (DOWN 1)
7 Rob Cross (DOWN 1)
8 Luke Humphries (DOWN 1)
9 Jonny Clayton (DOWN 1)
10 Jose de Sousa
11 Ryan Searle
12 Dimitri van den Bergh (UP 5)
13 Dirk van Duijvenbode (UP 1)
14 Nathan Aspinall (UP 2)
15 Gary Anderson (DOWN 3)
16 Joe Cullen (DOWN 3)
17 Damon Heta (DOWN 2)
18 Krzysztof Ratajski
19 Dave Chisnall
20 Callan Rydz

There's no real major moves outside of the top 20 - only Rowby made big inroads with his first round win, but Gilding and Lukeman are both into the top 50, Razma is into the top 40, and Lewis is pretty close to the top 32 again.

We're now into a little bit of a dead spell - there's some Players Championship events later this week but they look to have had a fair few players opt out already, then they go off down under for World Series events. There's a couple of Nordic events this weekend, then some Development Tour later in the month, but definitely a quiet spell. There's a big WDF event in Australia, but has already been marred with Littler and Hurrell not playing it, so who knows what the standard will be. Seems to be quite a few silver-level events which will add useful data - if we can get it. I guess I'll give a rankings update after PC 22-24, but other than that, expect a quiet August.

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Matchplay quarters

Not a great couple of bets. van Gerwen won comfortably enough, but de Sousa continuing a return to form out of nowhere gave us a bit more of a set back. Smith falling might be a surprise to the casuals but not to us (or the market), and it gives us a fairly interesting quarter final lineup, let's take a peek:

Wright/van den Bergh - Peter needed overtime against Ratajski, Krzysztof performing better than expected as we thought he might but just missed a couple of key doubles at the death. Dimitri didn't have too much of a problem with Rowby, who I think can be fairly happy with his performance this week. Market has this, to me, surprisingly close with Wright only at 4/5, I'm seeing it a bit further apart, close to 60/40. Maybe ever so slightly better as Wright has a tiny bit more consistency, but nothing to generate a bet.

van Gerwen/Aspinall - Michael shrugged aside Joe Cullen as we thought he might do, while Aspinall was pushed by Wade and won by the odd break. This ought to be fairly comfortable for Michael, Nathan's done alright this week but this feels like a step too far and I'm projecting MvG to win 75% of the time. That's enough for an easy play at 365 as well as a couple of others, 0.25u van Gerwen 4/7

Price/de Sousa - Jose must be liking the warm conditions, getting a big lead against Cross but this time the comeback was prevented, Price was in a little bit of bother against Chisnall yesterday but a good second half showing was enough to move the number 2 seed into the only chalk v chalk matchup we've got. This looks like a 75/25 play again in favour of the Welshman, actually slightly better. Odds are slightly shorter again, but this is worth the shot, 0.25u Price 1/2

van Duijvenbode/Noppert - Dirk got ahead early, then when Smith threatened a comeback after a decent second session, he kept Michael at arms length for long enough to get over the line. Danny had little trouble with Daryl Gurney, and is the only player in the field with back to back ton plus averages for those who like their meaningless statistics. Market has it at evens take your pick, the length of game makes this a pretty trivial play on Hills, 0.25u van Duijvenbode evs, he projects at near 65% which is the best play of the round by far.

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Matchplay round 2

To say that was a disappointing first round was an understatement. Some players (Heta, Anderson) just didn't turn up, while others (Dolan, Gilding) blew leads of various sizes, only the automatic play of Wright got home. Just the two seeds out other than Ando, we thought Aspinall over Humphries had a chance, but Rowby over Clayton isn't one many of us thought was on the cards. So we've got a lot of seed on seed action now, let's go through round 2:

Rodriguez/van den Bergh - Rowby got the big shock as mentioned above, Dimitri easily dispatched a sub-par Callan Rydz. Can't see the conditions (I am guessing it is going to be fucking boiling, IIRC the Winter Gardens isn't the coolest place at the best of times, and it's slightly warm at the moment) affecting either, so a projection of 75/25 Dimitri doesn't seem to need altering. The market's giving Rowby a fraction more chance than that, no bet.

Wade/Aspinall - James overcame Martin Lukeman comfortably enough, not the greatest game and first TV game nerves seemed to play a factor. Nathan took out Humphries, many people's tip to go all the way, but it won't be this year, and I think he'll take out Wade as well, I'm seeing a touch better than 60% chances, sadly he seems 8/13 across the board as Wade's #5 seeding is correctly not being taken seriously.

Wright/Ratajski - Peter mauled Razma losing just four legs, Ratajski was pushed a bit harder by Bunting but looked pretty good. Ratajski has chances, nearer to 40% than one in three, but it's not that much nearer that we can start to look at 2/1 as any sort of value bet. After being all over Wright in round one, it's definitely not one I'd put in any sort of accumulator.

van Gerwen/Cullen - This one's been spicy a few times on TV and after van Gerwen didn't look the greatest against Lewis, there's the chance this might be again. This looks to me to be another case of lay Cullen, he won heavily in round one but that to me looks more like Damon playing badly rather than Joe playing fantastically, I see MvG at over 75% to claim the quarter final spot, so 0.25u van Gerwen 4/7

Gurney/Noppert - Daryl didn't need to play great to eliminate Anderson but did enough, Noppert was pressured by Dolan but pulled away after the second break and somehow ended up with a 100 average. Seems a straight 2-1 in favour of the Freeze, that's roughly the line, so no bet.

de Sousa/Cross - Jose came through last night when many thought he was a seed in danger - maybe the warm conditions suit him? Cross also came from a big hole against Dobey, so maybe a bit of a name on the trophy moment? Looks about the same sort of value as the previous game, Cross a little bit better than 2-1 favourite, not quite 70%, I think 0.25u Cross 8/13 is worth the stab.

Price/Chisnall - Schindler gave a great account yesterday, but Price had just enough quality at the death to get over the line, looking like one or two stray darts shy of a ton average. Chizzy was in a bit of a back and forth game with Huybrechts but Kim continued his poor Blackpool run in the end. Chizzy's live here, I'd say 35% chances, I'm surprised we can only get slightly better than 6/4.

Smith/van Duijvenbode - Michael was one of only two players to need overtime in round one, Dirk meanwhile came out the winner by the odd break in a real high quality tussle with Ryan Searle. Bookies can barely separate them, only giving Smith a tiny edge of less than 55/45, maybe it should be Smith at 11/10 rather than Dirk from where I'm standing. Should be real tight.

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Here comes the Matchplay

Great few days of Pro Tours just now and the Matchplay lineup is confirmed. Got to say that I do like the changes from last year, seems like a lot of the dead wood on their way out have been replaced by newer, up and coming players, and the draw looks pretty exciting too. Will go through the games in a bit, but first, the new FRH rankings (incorporates mincashing the Matchplay but all the top 20's in so it doesn't change anything):

1 Peter Wright
2 Gerwyn Price
3 Michael Smith
4 Michael van Gerwen
5 James Wade
6 Rob Cross
7 Luke Humphries
8 Jonny Clayton
9 Danny Noppert
10 Jose de Sousa
11 Ryan Searle
12 Gary Anderson
13 Joe Cullen
14 Dirk van Duijvenbode (UP 2)
15 Damon Heta (DOWN 1)
16 Nathan Aspinall (UP 1)
17 Dimitri van den Bergh (DOWN 2)
18 Krzysztof Ratajski
19 Dave Chisnall
20 Callan Rydz

Dirk winning the opener, even with nothing else beyond that, was enough to get him just ahead of Heta and Aspinall, but less than 2,000 points separate those three. Dimitri isn't too far behind those but had a comparatively poor weekend compared to those. Lower down, Dolan's win puts him up to 21, Adie's win sees him one place outside the top 32, Gilding is into the top 45 while Koltsov's final from nowhere gets him back into the top 90.

So, Matchplay. Mincashes put Gilding and Lukeman into the top 50, highest ranked players to miss out are King, van der Voort, Suljovic, White, Ross Smith and Whitlock. Lots of good new players coming in for the first time like Schindler, Razma and Rodriguez, I believe someone said it's the youngest average age ever. Let's look at each game and pick out some bets. Will go in draw order, overall scoring listed in brackets:

[1] Wright (94.40) v Razma (88.75) - Not really much of interest here. Wright is still elite and Razma's got the lowest scoring of anyone in the field, only making it in as the penultimate Pro Tour player. I can't see anything but a rout, Wright should win this 85% of the time so I think we can go 0.5u Wright 2/7, Madars might nick some legs but lacks the consistent scoring power to trouble Peter over a race to 10.

[16] Ratajski (93.44) v Bunting (91.66) - Ratajski held on to his seeding place (although has clearly been doing enough on the Pro Tour that he was safe anyway), and is playing better than many commentators think, and ought to have a small edge over Bunting, who's merely been OK, nothing more nothing less. Does seem like it will be a close game, I have Ratajski at about 55% and he is 4/5, so the odds makers are in agreement with me.

[8] Clayton (94.26) v Rodriguez (90.14) - Rowby held on to the last place on the final day, was down to whether Mensur could go incredibly deep, but he couldn't. Clayton's an incredibly tough draw though, and with four points in the scoring this is translating to an exact 80/20 edge for the major winner. Rowby's picking up a bit of form but with a best price of 10/3, we really can't bet this one.

[9] van den Bergh (93.05) v Rydz (91.25) - Dimitri might be under a bit of pressure here as he is defending title money, and an early exit could see him slip possibly outside the top 16. He's only seeded 18th in the worlds race. Rydz will be a dangerous opponent but one that Dimitri should have an edge over, I'm looking at 65/35. The market favours him ever so slightly more than that, but we can't consider taking the contrarian Callan punt.

[4] van Gerwen (95.58) v Lewis (91.51) - This could easily have been a major final at some point if their peaks had coincided, as is it's a first round matchup and Lewis will mostly be happy to be here, having been in no way a certainty before the last Pro Tour series. van Gerwen is back after surgery, so there's a bit of a question mark as to how well he's playing, but projects at between 75% and 80% in my models, so 2/5 on Spreadex might be worth a small stab, but they're the only bookie who's giving close to any sort of value.

[13] Cullen (92.23) v Heta (94.98) - Not a bad draw for Heta, at least in the first round as that's a brutal quarter with both MvG and Humphries there (had to laugh at one commenter saying that Cullen's been a top four player this year lol), while Cullen would have preferred a much better opponent. Cullen appears to be the only seed priced as an underdog, and nowhere near the level of underdog he should be as I can only see him taking this one 30% of the time, Damon is just that much better. 0.25u Heta 4/5 is fantastic value.

[5] Wade (91.40) v Lukeman (89.69) - Wade's actually got the lowest scoring of anyone in the seeds, even worse than de Sousa, and he's drawn one of only two players in the event scoring under 90 per turn in the in form Martin Lukeman, so this might not be the highest quality, but both players seem to make the most of the skill they have, so it could be nip and tuck. Wade should have a moderate edge, projecting at 55% but with a little bit of a consistency edge, Lukeman at 2/1 is kind of a tempter but with this being his first big major event, and playing someone who does what he does, only better, who also has course and distance and likes this sort of format, I can't go with it.

[12] Humphries (94.34) v Aspinall (92.59) - What a match up. Aspinall's playing well, Humphries is up there in the argument as being the best player in the world right now, four Euro Tours doesn't lie. Market is thinking 60/40 - that looks close enough to me, maybe Luke should be a tick or two shorter, but this is probably his first major with real expectation on him whereas Nathan's won one before, so perhaps it actually plays out a little tighter in real life.

[2] Price (93.54) v Schindler (92.27) - Price is maybe not quite at peak form, but is still clearly a very dangerous player, as is Schindler, who's getting close to getting that first tour win but still waiting to get over the line in one of them. Seems like they've played a few times of late but I could just be imagining it, this is the sort of game that Martin typically doesn't win, and only projects at 30%, and he's priced a bit longer than 2/1 which is right on the money.

[15] Chisnall (92.61) v Huybrechts (90.05) - Interesting one this, Chizzy's holding a top 16 spot primarily based on a worlds semi from two years ago, while Kim is getting into these which is what he needs to do to get back into the world's top 32. This is a tough ask for the Belgian who I'm thinking will take this one down slightly less than one time in three, Chizzy seems to be a best price of 1/2 so there's not enough differential there.

[7] de Sousa (91.54) v Clemens (90.27) - Jose's arguably the most out of form player in the whole tournament, not really doing much of anything in 2022 but keeping the scoring going enough to still get wins here and there, but like a few players here will drop solidly down the rankings once his Grand Slam win drops off later this season. Gabriel got another final recently but got destroyed by Dirk, not playing at his best still in my opinion, but still OK and maybe has a bit more than a 40% chance here. The market however has already adjusted enough to de Sousa's lack of form and we can't get better than 5/4 on Gabriel, which is close enough to correct that we can ignore the game.

[10] Cross (94.06) v Dobey (91.92) - This ought to be good. I've picked Cross to win the event as he's still playing at a very high level, just not getting results and this quarter isn't the most testing - only Price would be a big threat and you can see that Rob is outscoring him. Dobey might be the biggest challenge, Chris can play better than he is doing right now and an in-form Dobey is tricky to beat, but this looks like close to a bang on two to one favour line for Cross. If you've got money on the obscure books offering 8/13 I'd go with a small flier, but most of the big boys are offering at best 4/7 which isn't really of interest to me.

[3] Smith (93.73) v Gilding (93.37) - Is this going to be the tournament where Smith finally wins a big one? It's not a bad quarter he's got but this is a brutal draw with Gilding making another final this weekend (he really should have won it, but me having each way at 66/1 probably bokked him), and this does have a genuine sense of being too close to call. Peak Gilding is what we've got right now and peak Gilding is capable of making major semi finals, Smith's not playing badly either but this price is way off, 0.25u Gilding 5/2 is there at Coralbrokes, but with me seeing over 45% for Goldfinger, any price you can see at 2/1 or better is clearly worth a play.

[14] van Duijvenbode (94.14) v Searle (93.08) - A contender for tie of the round, Dirk added another tour title recently, while Searle was just one place outside the top 16 and is a major finalist within the last twelve months. Think the styles of play should complement each other and this should be an excellent match, I think Dirk has an edge but only a very small one, Searle at 6/5 is an accurate price.

[6] Anderson (94.65) v Gurney (90.28) - Gary's barely played this year and Edgar points out in a recent video that he is defending final money and lots more across the rest of the year. His level of play is still very good, it's just over not too much sample size, Gurney's played nearly 700 ranked legs this season while Gary's under 300. I do think that this is a good spot to bet Ando, 0.25u Anderson 4/6, better is available on Spreadex, my projections give it at over 80% for Ando, let's say that's a sample size aberration and it's not that much - even 70% would be a simple play at that price. Daryl's only just scoring over 90, and I've got to feel that Gary is rested enough and will be keyed in knowing this is an important tournament.

[11] Noppert (92.21) v Dolan (90.95) - Final game and we've got the most recent major champion against the most recent Pro Tour champion, Dolan won the last Pro Tour while Noppert won one two days earlier so both will be confident in their games. Like his compatriot in the previous game, maybe he's not playing as well as he was, say, nine months ago, but still looks to have more than 40% chances, so I can take a small shot, 0.1u Dolan 2/1, just taking it small as the edge isn't as big as others and I think my model is starting to underrate Noppert a little bit.

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Humphries winning everything

Jesus christ, Humphries looks in incredible form right now. Another 25 grand in the bank putting him in a potentially extremely winnable match against Gary Anderson at the Matchplay as things stand, although the spots just below him are incredibly tight, so a bad set of Pro Tours could still see a bunch of things change. Breakout weekend for Rowby as well, thankfully he didn't actually win as he's one of the few players still in our circle of betting trust (but for how much longer), as of right now he's less than 500 quid out of the Matchplay so a good weekend (I say weekend, it's now four events) and he can get in. It's extremely tight from Gilding in 14th down to about Williams in 22nd with less than five grand separating the lot. Would think that Clemens will be fine, there's enough of a buffer that while you could see one, maybe two players passing him, four seems incredibly unlikely especially given that, at the last check, there are not too many players giving the event a miss.

New FRH rankings:

1 Peter Wright
2 Gerwyn Price
3 Michael Smith
4 Michael van Gerwen
5 James Wade
6 Rob Cross
7 Luke Humphries (UP 1)
8 Jonny Clayton (DOWN 1)
9 Danny Noppert
10 Jose de Sousa
11 Ryan Searle (UP 1)
12 Gary Anderson (DOWN 1)
13 Joe Cullen
14 Damon Heta (UP 3)
15 Dimitri van den Bergh (DOWN 1)
16 Dirk van Duijvenbode (DOWN 1)
17 Nathan Aspinall (DOWN 1)
18 Krzysztof Ratajski
19 Dave Chisnall
20 Callan Rydz

Heta through to Aspinall are separated by less than 2k, so Damon's quarter, along with nobody else doing a great deal, gets him up to what is surely a new high. Bunting's semi gets him up to the last man out of the rankings, although he is still some way off Rydz. White's quarter sees him hold a top 30 spot, he'd be in there anyway but by a bit more than 8 points as of right now, while Rowby hits the top 40. Surprise semi finalist Razma is only a couple of places further back, while Martin Lukeman and Luke Woodhouse, after final day runs, are not far off the top 50.

So I said I'd rant about the World Cup. I think if we saw anything, it is that the tournament desperately needs a shake up. There's so much disparity between the top nations and everyone else in this format - I was able to hit a twelve-fold on round one with very little trouble. All the seeds made the quarter finals, and it was only Australia's run which prevented it from being complete chalk - Heta likely being underrated being the only reason they weren't the higher seed than Belgium, then the matches with England and Wales were in fair upsets.

But how to reform it? One thing I've suggested before is to expand - if you move to 36 or 40 teams and have a play in round between the weakest teams, you at least have a chance to eliminate the complete garbage (Italy, I'm looking in your direction) and allow a few more teams to enter. That, or seed 16 teams - give teams ranked 9-16 a one round bye, and teams 1-8 a two round bye. 17-32 enter at the opening stage, winners play 9-16, winners of those play 1-8. Looking at who might have got those extra seeds, I would guess that Poland, Ireland, Czech Republic, Canada, Austria and Spain would get one for sure, then it's a case of which two you get from the teams which have one good player and then someone unranked. Portugal, Latvia, Lithuania and South Africa would be those included, although you would think with de Sousa's presence, it'd win any tiebreakers. Still, a lot can change between now and next year, maybe Gates/Lauby/Baggish can win or re-win their card and van Dongen can pick up form. Maybe we see someone join one of the Nordic/Baltic country representatives and nick a card. Who knows. Something needs doing though - and I have zero interest in "all pairs" or suggestions like that.

Sunday, 3 July 2022

Trier day 3

More small gains yesterday, beats losses, just keep ticking over. Eight matches going this afternoon, lots of seeds going out yesterday so the tournament is wide open (watch Humphries bink a fourth):

Rodriguez/Clemens - Market thinks this is too close to call. Are they catching up on Rowby, or just not rating Clemens? It seems fine to me, I can't split them either.

Aspinall/Williams - Scott moves on again to face Aspinall, who did for one of our tips yesterday, think the market is catching up to Scott a little bit (especially after his Pro Tour win) but still correctly values Aspinall as a solid player, maybe the line should be slightly tighter than it is, the Williams line looks perfect but Nathan's too short with the vig. Nothing here regardless.

Plaisier/Razma - Wesley crushed de Sousa while Razma overcame Schindler and the German crowd, and it's a big opportunity for both now. Wesley's the favourite and this seems real close to a bet for me. Unibet have it some decimal value that's not converting right the pair, if you can get that then I think it's just about worth it, I have Wesley at just shy of 60%. The 4/5, 8/11 he's at in most larger books isn't quite worth the punt to me.

Cross/Woodhouse - Luke finally moves through to a final day after a big break (maybe ever? Context of tweets I've seen is ambiguous), and gets a tough draw in Cross, Luke's maybe got slightly more chances than the market suggests - 5/2 is available in a few places and I'm estimating his chances at 35%, again like the above it's not quite enough to go against Rob in this spot. Weird spot where Cross dodged a bullet and maybe it's a name on the trophy moment.

Lukeman/Bunting - Martin swept aside a surprisingly under par Searle, Stephen needed every leg and a missed match dart from Bialecki to advance. Looks to me like Bunting should have a moderate edge at not quite 60%, he's 8/11, there really is no value whatsoever today by the looks of things.

Heta/van den Bergh - Damon took advantage of a few missed doubles from Rydz while van den Bergh looked amazing with a 110 average against Hempel who really stood no chance. I think this is our first bet, 0.25u Heta 6/5 available on Hills and VC, I have Damon at 57% which is more than enough to go at a slight odds against price, this is maybe a bit dangerous given Dimitri's performance yesterday and that his two recent tournaments are unranked and hence not in my data, so maybe I underestimate him a fair bit, but it's hard to pick against Damon at odds against against most players.

Humphries/Wenig - Luke was given a decent test by Menzies while Lukas had a checkout extravaganza with a come from behind win against Chris Dobey. I think the run ends here, that sort of finishing seems unsustainable, I'm actually half tempted to take the 1/5 on Luke as this looks 90/10 to me.

White/de Zwaan - Two final leg winners here, Ian taking advantage of uncharacteristic missed doubling from Cullen while Jeffrey dodged a match dart coming from 5-3 down to van Duijvenbode. Big game for both as they both look to rebuild after a couple of lean years, de Zwaan in particular desperately needs to get money on the board as he is going to need the worlds to save his tour card. Ian's a small favourite in the market, line looks spot on.

So just the one bet - if you're on the DvdB hype train then it's understandable if you don't want to play it, but I'm on the Heta hype train so let's go.