Tuesday, 4 August 2020

News! Thoughts!

After what seemed like a potential quiet spell, there's been a shitload of news over the last couple of days, so let's go through some of it:

- There's an Autumn Series of Players Championship events in Germany next month, with the thought of a Winter Series back in the UK some point before the end of the year. This seems to overwrite the Jena Euro Tour event, which I'm guessing might have been as a result of the Germans not letting enough crowds in, we'll see whether they cancel or reschedule. Still, at least they now have a bit more certainty for the Pro Tour. Germany's an odd choice in that the UK government seem to be flicking between coronaplague policy seemingly at random, but we'll see what happens.

- They've announced the end of the Challenge/Development Tours in three day, six event marathons in late September (Dev Tour, with the early stages of the world youth the day after) and early October (Challenge Tour), which is good news. Important that non card holders get a bit of knowledge as to what's going on, although given that they were thinking whether two in a day is viable, trying six in three could be a bit of madness. You'd think they may not have quite the same numbers as the first weekend, so a priority of getting as many in as possible isn't quite as nuts as it first seems.

- They've also announced a four event women's weekend, that'll also serve as qualification for the worlds. Seems fine by me, but who actually goes for it will be the big question.

- Finally, they've announced the World Series players - they have MvG, Wright, Price, Smith, Cross, Aspinall, Gurney and Anderson as seeds, then Wade, Chisnall, White, DvdB, Suljovic, Sherrock, Whitlock, Heta, KAnderson, Harris, JSmith and Labanauskas as invites. Some odd choices for invites - I don't think they need quite so many Aussies, given it's a World Series event then surely there's got to be a huge case for Ratajski and de Sousa to get the nod, oh well. At least those two (and Durrant, for that matter) should be extremely high on the seeding list for the last four wildcard spots.

Still a bit of a quiet time in general though. Will be back with some things soon, but one thing I want to point out that Dimitri did in the final. Look at his second visit in these two legs late in the match:



These are in back to back legs with Dimitri being three away from the title at the start of it. Having left himself a poor score in the first visit, he has the knowledge to know that a straight ton doesn't leave him the ability to go out in six darts - 345 and 342 respectively are bad shouts, whereas a 95 leaves 350 and 347 - both of which allow you a chance at a miracle 180-huge out. It's a tiny thing that probably makes a difference once in 10,000 legs, but what it does show is the clarity of thinking the kid has under the biggest pressure of his career.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

And Dimitri wins

Pretty impressive performance. Maybe Gary could have taken more advantage of the slack legs from the Belgian (ten of his eighteen legs won were in more than fifteen darts), but Dimitri got four critical four dart kills, three of them breaks, and was putting relentless pressure on the Anderson throw - in the legs Anderson won, Dimitri was averaging over 103, completely the opposite of the severe up and down game he used to have. It was always said that if Dimitri could drastically improve his B-game (or get one, it always used to be A and then something in the middle of the alphabet), he'd be dangerous, it looks like it's finally happened.

New FRH rankings:

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

Obviously Dimitri's the big winner, Anderson hasn't made as much ground as you might have thought, but he was a lot closer to the players just behind him than those ahead, he's less than a grand ahead of Wade, although less than 200 quid behind Chisnall. Cullen, despite getting a win, drops from the top 20 due to Whitlock getting a quarter final. Vincent's up to 27, just ahead of Mervyn King.

Interestingly, the gap between van Gerwen and Wright is the closest it's been for a while, it's down to only 105k, if Wright had have binked he'd be number 1. Oh well.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

What the hell is going on

Predicting a Smith/Durrant final was more or less the kiss of death for both of them, wasn't it? Dimitri seemed to out-Glen Glen, with Dimitri not winning a single leg in four visits (in contrast to Durrant's four), instead piling in the five visit kills, slotting in a solid near-93 average in the losing legs to always be there or there abouts. Meanwhile Anderson needed a small amount of overtime to get home after it looked like Smith had done enough with a six leg burst to get the key break for 15-14 from a 14-9 deficit, but a 116 out for a twelve to level (after Smith had missed the bull to go one away) was critical, and Smith failing to get more than one treble in any visit in the final leg was enough. This was a weird one, Anderson could easily have been clear, but allowed Smith three separate breaks of throw in six visits, which at this level is really unforgivable.

As for the final, we either get Anderson defending all his money with interest (as an aside, it's pretty lol that they each got 20k for reaching the final compared to the 25k for reaching the semis), or we get a first Belgian winner of a major, which would lift Dimitri, already at an FRH ranking high of #13, up to #7 and surely a lock for the Premier League in 2021, assuming the powers that be do recognise that this is a cold that's going round and not the bubonic plague. Their stats in the Matchplay are remarkably similar - both have lost 41 legs while Gary has won 55 compared to Dimitri's 54, both are scoring 93 in winning legs (DvdB is about half a point higher) while Dimitri's doing the same in losing legs, about three points higher than Gary. Neither has been prolific in power scoring legs, only having three twelve darters a piece, both doing their damage in relentless 13-15 dart legs. Anderson doing this slightly more gives him a tiny edge on the "just Matchplay" projections at around 53/47, but Dimitri scoring more all round makes this too close to call.

What about longer samples? On both just 2020 and a full twelve months, this favours Anderson considerably - somewhere in the mid 60% range up to around a 2-1 favourite. Does this suggest a bet? Not really. Gary's 8/13, which isn't really tempting enough over the course of longer samples, factor in that Dimitri's been playing the slightly better darts over the week, and the edge that the larger dataset points to probably disappeared. As such, there's no bets to recommend, so the near 2 unit lead we had built up this year has gone and the year to date stats are down to about a quarter of a unit loss. Which is a shame, I think I'd make all the bets again, we just had a few people critically underperform.

Where we go after this is unclear - there's a great lack of action, I would have thought the PDC would have announced another series of five Pro Tours at some point in August, but there's nothing yet (maybe they are waiting until after the Matchplay), there's an intriguing to be confirmed set of Challenge Tour events in MK in mid August before the Premier League catches up, but there's nothing ranked until Hungary in September. Meanwhile in the WDF side, there's nothing scheduled until minor events in Iceland in September. So we'll probably have to do a bit more filler, we do have stuff to catch the Second/Third Division Darts up a bit, but what we do outside of that, who knows.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Then there were four...

Stats of the semi finalists in this tournament:


This really should be Glen's to lose now. Smith's playing at a slightly higher standard in terms of the legs he's won, and is certainly more explosive, but he's got quite a few more legs in over six visits than Glen has and is considerably worse in the legs he's lost, so if it was to be a Smith/Durrant final (as I think it will be), I think Glen will be able to grind out enough that he'd be able to claim the title. Of course, there's games to be played before that can actually happen, what do we think will happen in them?

It's Smith/Ando first. The bookies have this even, Anderson is actually evens with Michael just a shade ahead at 10/11. On the form shown in the Matchplay, this shouldn't be close in favour of Smith. Over all of 2020, this is fairly even, Smith showing a marginal edge in the low 50's percentage wise. Over a twelve month time frame, Gary takes a solid 60+%. Which do we believe? Probably the middle one. Anderson's been fairly mediocre, but being one game away from a final, and realistically speaking this could be his last chance of winning a big major (he will be 50 by the time the next worlds ends) and if he can't raise his game for this one, he surely can't raise his game for anything. There's also the whole psychological "mentor" thing that Sky bring up, as well as the pressure that Smith still hasn't won a major title of any description. Should be close, wouldn't surprise me if it went to extra legs, it also wouldn't surprise me if Smith opens up the sort of lead that Cross opened up on him in last year's final. No value here.

Then it's Dimitri against Glen. Durrant's been in a few major semis on the PDC side but has yet to win one, whereas this is, I believe, Dimitri's first. Glen's just a little bit better on everything, but Dimitri has enough talent and has cut out enough of the times where he just goes away in a game at this stage to be in with a chance. Over twelve month stats, I'm seeing around 65/35 in favour of Durrant, more like 70/30 on 2020 form, while it's more like 75/25 looking just at the 76 legs they've won combined this week. 4/7 is very close to value on Glen, but the line looks close enough to correct to not bet on this one, there's enough of a combination of Dimitri having improved and maybe Glen seeing the final that I'm hesitant to recommend a play. Glen certainly didn't look outstanding against van der Voort, and if Vincent didn't have those two consecutive legs where he let Glen win in 23 darts having missed tons of doubles (the second being the one where he went on monkey tilt), we'd probably be talking about a different semi final. 14-8 would have been a huge lead to claw back.

Should be two very good semi finals, it really wouldn't surprise me if we got a match of the year contender in one of these, have we really had any so far apart from that Dobey/Ratajski UK Open game? Or that Price/Petersen Pro Tour semi final?

Friday, 24 July 2020

If my tipping quality continues like this Duzza is fucked

Hmm, didn't expect Ratajski to lose that comfortably, Smith played OK but it wasn't anything that Ratajski wouldn't have been able to handle normally you'd have thought. Meanwhile in the other quarter, Whitlock was able to hang around with Anderson until 12-12 before Gary pulled away to set up a repeat of a Grand Slam last 16 from 2017 (Ando won that one 10-6), they've only actually met in a ranked event once since then, which comes as a bit of a surprise, but there you go.

One thing I do want to note, which is a very good development - van der Voort did this in the penultimate leg of his match with Gurney, and Ratajski also did it separately against Wattimena very early on. Wanting 132, they went bull first dart, and after hitting bull, both went to 14's and hit, Vincent missing the outshot but Ratajski hitting it. This is excellent news in that they're both seeing sense as to what to do when both opponents were on a big number for double return. You need to hit two targets, go for the biggest one. Then again, Whitlock did manage to clog up the treble 20 heavily enough on a 120 out that he thought it best to go bull-bull (and hit lol), so who knows.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Matchplay quarters

What was already not a great Matchplay got a bit worse by Noppert being completely unable to score heavily against Lewis, it's somewhat of a miracle that he was able to keep it as close as he did for as long as he did, but that level of checking out was clearly unsustainable for the long haul. Elsewhere, Gurney went out as seemed a possibility, Dimitri got over the line in a tight one against Cullen, and Durrant beat Wright in a bit of an upset - seems like more or less a two horse race for the title between him and Ratajski, but it is incredibly wide open. The stats from the first two rounds for those who are left:


That's a bit small but it should be legible - and should indicate what I was saying, this looks like a straight fight between the top two here. Of the remaining games, tonight we've got a flip between Ratajski and Smith while Ando's around a 2-1 favourite against Whitlock, while Lewis and Dimitri looks like a flip as well, with Duzza being about a 5-2 favourite over Vincent. What do we like?

0.25u Ratajski 19/20, on pure natural talent this is the best chance Smith might ever get to bink a major, but he's going to know that, he was a bit fortunate against Suljovic, but he's got a very tough task here. On 2020 form he's not even at 40%. On twelve months form he's more like 35%. Taking the Pole as a flip looks to be a real solid play (then again, we said the same things last night about Noppert, so...)

Nothing on the Whitlock game. 9/5 just isn't quite fat enough. It looks flat out bad on a twelve month sample, and he's only at 40% on a 2020 sample, but if we had a bit more we'd go with it. Look at the distribution of their scores above - Whitlock and Anderson are scoring exactly the same per turn when winning legs, while Whitlock's scoring a lot more in losing legs. Ando hasn't hit a single twelve in the tournament. If Simon can keep plodding away and not give Gary many chances to break in fifteen darts, this could happen.

I'm almost tempted to stab at Dimitri here. We're getting 11/10 and on twelve months form, he's up around 60%, but this drops to 55%, but Adie's hitting enough good legs. In a weird change in consistency, Lewis is playing complete trash when he's losing legs, while Dimitri's scoring more or less the same throughout, but Adrian should be able to find enough good legs to get home half the time here.

0.5u Durrant 1/3, I think Vincent's gone as far as he can go here. Duzza looks so incredibly solid and I can't see Vincent keeping up the rate at which he's been hitting twelve darters, especially at key moments. On 2020 form this looks to be a near 90% chance for Glen, over the last twelve months it's just under 85%. This is also a fairly long match, which I think given Vincent's litany of injury issues might further play into Glen's hands more than any other matchup we have here.

Two punts, and they're on the two players I'm thinking reach the final, best of luck everyone.

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

The Matchplay has jumped the shark

Seriously, what the hell happened last night? First we had Dimitri play up to a level that we've not seen before for this length of time, then we saw possibly the biggest upset in Matchplay history with Whitlock taking out MvG to gift Wright the title make this the most open event in a long, long time. Quarters in the top half of Whitlock/Ando and Smith/Ratajski look fairly tasty (well, the second does anyway, but Gary I still don't think looked particularly great, so maybe Whitlock has his chances. Michael against Krzsyztof should be good fun in any case, credit to Clemens and Suljovic for making their matches so good.

Bottom half tonight, eight players will become four, let's have a look:

Gurney/van der Voort - Odds look alright in this one. While my system hasn't liked Gurney, it's showing him winning just shy of three in four over 12 months worth of data, and maybe slightly more than that on 2020 form. He is available at 2/5 so there's an argument to go with Daryl, particularly if you do think that my projections underrate him, but I'll err on the side of caution for this one, a 92 conventional average in round 1 isn't that big a deal, if he'd slotted in 100 or something I might have gone with it. Vincent frankly played better in beating a much stronger opponent in the openers.

van den Bergh/Cullen - Market has Dimitri as a small favourite. I think it's not quite right, the Belgian should be a bit shorter than he actually is, over both samples I used he should claim this about two in three, and while Cullen didn't exactly beat a bad player, he should have lost that game while Aspinall is at least as good as White and Dimitri didn't look like losing at all. I'm so tempted to go against Joe, while my projections are based on winning legs, and it'd become a bit closer if we look at everything, their losing averages are within a quarter of a point of each other. I should probably go with it, but I won't. If there's a flood of money on Joe and Dimitri gets to evens then I'll punt.

Wright/Durrant - This could be the match of the tournament, whoever wins this one has a real chance to bink. Market says around 65/35 for Peter, which looks close enough to me, I'm seeing Snakebite's chances at 68% for either sample, although in running it might be a touch closer given Glen's incredible game in the opening round. Either way, I'll duck it - if you like Glen's side, I'd be tempted to just back him for the tournament each way, as I don't see anyone else that's left on this side of the draw as being a serious threat.

Noppert/Lewis - The bookies have this evens. How times change, but Danny taking out Price will do that for you. It's not enough of an adjustment though, 0.25u Noppert evs, my projections are seeing this as 2-1 in favour of the Dutchman over twelve month stats, and near three in four over 2020 stats. What's especially worrying were some of Adie's comments after the Beaton game, I can't find them precisely but they weren't exactly those of someone full of confidence, which is exactly what Noppert should be. So we've finally found a bet, take Danny.

Quarter final previews tonight I guess, probably do them all in one go.