Thursday 18 July 2024

Matchplay quarters - not getting better

That result was a blow. Probably worth talking about both losses - the Aspinall one I think I can put down to being my fault, and if I had spent all the time in the world reading every single preview that indicated he is injured (but clearly not injured enough to not play, or to put in a sub par first round performance), then maybe I cut it back to a no bet. As for Smith, that's just a weird one which we can put down to randomness - both players' figures were commensurate of how they have played all season (indeed, Smith's figures went down after yesterday's game, while Dobey's performance last night was within a fiftieth of a point per turn of his larger sample), that I'll just put down to unfortunate missed doubles in the early stages which put Chris a bit too far behind to pull it back. This puts things as probably the worst tournament I've had to date, at least in the Dart Connect era, but we'll just put it behind us and down to experience and try to rebuild in the quarters, which will see no new major winner guaranteed.

Smith/Wade - Ross looked extremely strong in his win over Price, hitting four twelve or better dart legs and only winning two which went past fifteen darts, while Wade we've touched on a bit above, got off to a very good start but then just did what he needed to do from there. This looks like a good play on Ross, as I see him as having a touch more than a three in four chance, and with the odds offered, that's more than enough edge. 0.25u Smith 1/2

Humphries/van den Bergh - Luke was equally good in the second round, only having the one leg drift beyond fifteen darts and while Stephen was a bit off his best, he wasn't really given a chance. Dimitri also looked pretty solid in having eight of eleven legs sewn up in fifteen darts and keeping Clayton at bay before pulling away with a strong run towards the end. This looks like a strong favourite spot for Luke as expected, it looks bang on 80/20 for me, and Dimitri is 4/1, so we won't be playing this one.

Smith/Cross - Michael looked ok but not spectacular, getting an early lead but winning less than half his legs in fifteen darts or better - while Rob looked like a true title contender, hitting nine of eleven legs in that speed, five of which were in four visits. Cross appears a solid favourite here - I've got this as a bit more than 70/30, which even if Smith is playing a touch better than historical numbers, which might be the case but might not, we can still go with it, 0.25u Cross 7/10

van Gerwen/Gilding - Finally we have what doesn't look like an overly interesting game on paper, van Gerwen looking pretty decent against Cullen who made a good effort to keep it close after a bad first session. Gilding looked maybe the best he has done for a long time in getting a big lead over Ratajski and then seeing it home with a solid four leg run, which is the sort of level he'd need to display again if he wants to be competitive in this one, where my projections give him somewhere in the 20% to 25% range, slightly more towards the bottom of that. 9/2 is maybe being a tad harsh, but it's not enough to try to take the underdog shot.

Let's hope we can claw some of the losses back! 

Tuesday 16 July 2024

Matchplay round 2 - ouch

Think it's fair to say that yesterday did not go as planned - can't do a massive amount against how well Smith played from leg 10 onwards, but Ando should have been 4-0 up and had a dart for 5-0, rather than 3-2, then just couldn't really score. That's obviously a big loss, but it's good to know that I wasn't the only one who was quite this bullish on Anderson and it's a bet I would do again 100% of the time. Littler losing as well compounded things, but that one was at least moderately close so not quite as fussed about it. All in all it was a pretty chalky round one with just four seeds dropping out, some of whom we thought might (Wright), others that we thought needed to turn up for sure given their opponents (Noppert, Heta), then someone who we thought was relatively safe but just didn't show up at all in Chisnall. Last sixteen, let's go:

Clayton/van den Bergh - Jonny looked pretty solid in his win, not spectacular but just not letting many legs drift past fifteen darts and scoring over 99 on the legs Barney won, who wasn't exactly playing badly himself. Dimitri was a bit more up and down - got the nine, but was fortunate to nick a couple of very dodgy legs as well as being the beneficiary of a couple of legs where Schindler either didn't score, or didn't hit doubles. Or both. Overall scoring is pretty close between the two - I've got Dimitri as outscoring Jonny, but is more inconsistent, so happy to drop a 65% projection down to probably below 60%, maybe down to 55% given how there is plenty of evidence at this stage that Clayton is in a bit of form. That said, he's the underdog in the market, which thinks it should be 55/45 the other way. That's more than enough for me to play - 0.25u van den Bergh 6/5

Humphries/Bunting - Luke as expected had few problems dispatching Pietreczko, who to his credit played a lot better than what he has done of late, just ending up with an awkward draw, against almost anyone else he might have been able to get into a position to ask more questions. Bunting was one of two players who needed overtime to get through, we thought Joyce would make it tough for him, and he definitely did, Stephen perhaps getting a few legs where he benefitted from weak scoring by Ryan which he held in over 15, nick any of those and we could be talking about a different game here. I'm getting this at between 70% and 75% for Humphries - the market has it towards the top of that range, with Luke not available at 1/3 and Bunting shorter than 3/1, there is a very small consistency thing that might draw things a point or two in Bunting's favour, but with the relative level of performances in the opener I'm absolutely fine with calling this a no play.

Aspinall/Wade - Nathan was generally pretty good against Woodhouse, who may be ruing missed opportunities where he let Aspinall win easy legs, mainly in the first leg of each of the two mini sessions. Grab those and it's 10-8 the other way. Or just score in the final leg and we get to overtime and ask further questions. Either would work. Wade was steady against what was frankly a below par Noppert, 10-5 may be flattering but Wade got breaks in three of the first four Noppert throws without needing to hit a fifteen to get them, which is frankly making things way too easy for the other guy (Wade also got a seven visit hold early on). I've got this as maybe around 60/40 in Aspinall's favour after accounting for inconsistency a tad (which you'd expect against Wade), which makes it all the more surprising that the market has James as the narrow favourite. 0.25u Aspinall evs

Price/Smith - Gerwyn made pretty short work of Daryl Gurney, certainly finishing very nicely after the second break when the match was still somewhat in the balance. Smith meanwhile looked excellent in handling Josh Rock, only dropping the four legs and winning all but one leg in fifteen or less. This is one where maybe both are a touch underrated - Price maybe on account of having a quiet season, while I still think it's taking its time for the public to appreciate just how good Ross is. Still, Price is a bit better, and over this length of match it translates to Smith having pretty much just a one in three shot - which, with Price at 8/15, is more or less in line with how the market sees it, the market maybe giving Ross slightly more of a chance than how I see it, but not enough for me to even start to think about taking the former world champion.

Ratajski/Gilding - Krzysztof allowed everyone to get off for the football just in time with a dominant 10-2 win over Dave Chisnall, who really didn't show up and it didn't requite Ratajski to do a huge deal in terms of quality (only half his legs won being in less than fifteen darts) to get that scoreline - Chizzy barely averaging 80 in the ten legs Ratajski won. Gilding was a similarly comfortable winner over Peter Wright, he did concede five legs but was a tad better in the ones he won. Ratajski is as expected projecting as the winner - I've got it up towards 70/30 - so fractionally more favoured towards the Pole than the 1/2 market price suggests. Maybe if some money starts to come in on Gilding then we can start to look at it, but I'm finding that doubtful as a possibility.

Smith/Dobey - Talked about the Smith match in the preamble so won't repeat myself. Chris was the last man through against Edhouse, looking reasonable enough in the legs he won, but only one of the seven legs that Ritchie won was in under sixteen darts, and that was the four visit kill he took to go 5-3 up, so that's something that Dobey will need to tighten up on. Should come as no surprise that we're looking at laying Smith again - Chris' numbers are simply a lot better than Michael's, a clear two points per turn ahead and he even has a very small consistency advantage, and that all leads to a projection where Dobey has between a 60% and 65% chance of winning. The market has it at around 60% to Smith. 0.5u Dobey 13/10, it is not quite the level of edge that we had in the first round, and maybe there's some Smith playing better on TV and Chris not being quite at his best going on here, but this is still a big enough advantage to go with the half unit play.

van Gerwen/Cullen - Michael looked close to his best against Littler, with four four visit kills and a huge amount of dominance in the middle stages, say between legs four and thirteen, that was extremely good play. Cullen didn't look too bad compared to how he has been either, but that was with a much lower bar to clear, and Dolan wasn't exactly putting up a huge amount of resistance in that one. Cullen's actually showing enough to have more than a 35% chance according to projections, although I'll draw that back from being nearly closer to 40% to safely below just based on how well MvG played and some consistency issues. That still makes Cullen possibly worth considering at 5/2, but I'd really need to be confident that everything we've seen in 2024 from Joe is misleading, and I simply can't do that.

Cross/Searle - Rob needed a deciding leg and to dodge multiple match darts from van Veen, who from 8-4 put up an obscene level of play to force the match to overtime in the first place. It's just as well that Rob looked very, very good, otherwise we wouldn't be in this place discussing this match in the first place. Ryan also looked extremely good against Damon Heta, four legs won in twelve or better, only two drifting past fifteen darts, after a slow first couple of legs he was basically unplayable. This is one where Rob is better, but he's not that much better, giving Searle solidly more than a one in three spot with the projection for Cross being slightly nearer to 65% than 60%. Market has Rob at 8/13, which I guess is fine.

So three plays - we fire moderately big against Smith again, then going with a couple of around even money plays that I didn't necessarily expect to be making, but will trust in the numbers. Back Wednesday with the quarters.

Thursday 11 July 2024

Matchplay round 1 preview

Draw was done a bit ago - bit of a shame that Wade and Gilding held on, nothing against James or Andrew but seeing someone new like Doets or Menzies would have been a fair bit more interesting. Still, the draw has thrown up a lot of real interesting matches, so let's go through them in draw order.

Humphries v Pietreczko - Not going to lie, while I was working out who was running the best and worst for this I was struggling to find the 32nd player in the field. It then became apparent to me just how bad Ricardo's form is, such was the huge distance he was behind the 31st player in scoring. It's huge - the graph of his rolling average, to use a Blackpool landmark, looks something like the first three seconds of the Big One after it's got to the top. There's lots of good games in this tournament - this isn't one of them. Humphries is so far ahead I don't even have Pietreczko as having a 5% chance. As such, the price we're getting is worth a big play - 1u Humphries 1/7

Bunting v Joyce - Another player in decent form, Bunting is very much a top ten player in terms of quality right now. That said, Ryan, making his return here after a bit of a gap, is not that far behind him. The projection is showing him as just shy of 45% - there's a little bit of a tiny consistency issue in play, s maybe draw that down to splitting the difference between 40% and 45%. 7/4 as such is fairly close, we're not touching Bunting in this one which looks like a perfect storm of possibly overrated against surely underrated.

Clayton v van Barneveld - Clayton managed to bink a Pro Tour so may be showing some signs of getting back to some semblance of form, with his numbers having crept up back to 91 or so per turn, which isn't bad, but it's behind Barney, although not by a great deal. Clayton does actually project ever so slightly better, and is trending upwards, but RvB does have a consistency advantage, so I'd probably put this one as too close to call. Barney at 13/10 or there abouts looks like the slightly better play, but it's not a particularly good play, so we won't make it. 

van den Bergh v Schindler - Dimitri's seemingly done little all year apart from win a major, whereas it seems like Martin is at the back end of lower ranked tournaments every other week, and has of course finally manager to win one. Both players are marred with wild inconsistency figures, but Schindler's are generally better, with DvdB only really coming close around the time of that UK Open win. Numbers are putting Schindler at around a 55% to 60% advantage, which is more or less exactly where the 8/11 number in the market thinks as well, so no play here.

Price v Gurney - Gerwyn's deceptively under the radar right now, still for me very much in that elite tier of players that should be among the favourites to win any tournament he enters, but it feels like that's not the case in terms of perception. That's probably a good thing, and a bad thing for Gurney, for who it feels like the 12-18 months where it looked like he was getting back towards his best have gone, and that his numbers have dropped off somewhat - the overall figure is at a pretty average 90, and the trend is very much downward. Should not be a hard one to call, the projection is showing Price at having a fair line of 1/7, and he's nowhere near that. That's very exploitable so 0.5u Price 4/11, almost tempted with a full unit.

Smith v Rock - Ross is in a real good spot right now, winning one of the last two Pro Tours, reaching the last Euro final, and is one of less than a dozen players whose overall numbers are above 93 so he's very much in that top tier right now. Rock however is only fractionally behind, and is coming off the confidence he'll have by making the breakthrough at the European Tour level this season, so this one should be one of the picks of the round. I'm seeing Smith as better, but at 55/45 it's neither here nor there, the bookies have both odds on so the very tiny value would be on Ross's side - but we don't push very tiny value.

Aspinall v Woodhouse - Nathan's the defending champion here, but has had a really quiet 2024, and while the statistics are fine, they are not really that much better than Woodhouse's, the debutant continuing a push up towards the top 32 in the world, the rankings not quite reflecting the level of play, but we'll just give it time. Getting a win here would be very helpful, and it's definitely on - Nathan is the better player but it is only just, and his projection does not even rate to be 55%. Much like the Bunting game, this is very much one where we are not touching the seed, but with Luke being at 13/8, there is already enough recognition that he's decent that it's not quite a play.

Noppert v Wade - Danny is one of a few players who it feels like has had a quiet 2024, although he does have a Pro Tour win over Humphries, and his numbers in the sample size I am using right now are very much top ten, so he's playing very well. Wade's the last man into the field, still playing OK, but not really at Noppert's level with numbers a couple of points per turn below the former UK Open champion's. This is a game that feels like it's between two with fairly similar styles, and one where I can't even give Wade a one in three chance of claiming the upset. Noppert is priced a bit righter than that, and I think if the odds were a bit longer (the spread companies are the only ones where it's close), we could go with a small stab - 4/6 or maybe 8/13 at a push would be what I need and it's not quite there.

van Gerwen v Littler - This is obviously the showpiece match of the round, and one where the number 2 seed could be in trouble. Littler is not quite the number 2 in the world in terms of numbers, but he's only one off, while van Gerwen is at the lowest number I've seen him probably since I've had my database running, barely holding a top ten position. As such, Littler is projecting as a very large favourite - he projects nearer to 75% than 70%, and I cannot recall ever seeing MvG project so low, at least not while I've been running the data. There is a little bit of an inconsistency thing going on and Luke was pretty average in the last Pro Tour events, so if I draw it down to 70% it's still enough to play - 0.25u Littler 8/13

Cullen v Dolan - We've talked a fair bit about how Joe's not been having the greatest of times, but would you believe it if I said that his scoring numbers were worse than Dolan's? Well, they are, and it's by a clear point complete with Cullen having greater inconsistency. The rolling averages show Brendan maybe having a bit of a tough last couple of months, so maybe there are some straws for Cullen fans to clutch at, but in general the two players are very even, and this projects as a coinflip. The market also has neither player odds against. Which is sad.

Chisnall v Ratajski - Dave has gone and got himself another Pro Tour and another Euro Tour already this season, and is probably one of the names I'd put in a list of most likely new major winners (well there's a fucking obvious number one), so this is not the kindest draw for Ratajski, who's still alright but has maybe faded a bit in 2024 with numbers that are a bit below Dave's. That said, they are at least close enough to give him fairly close to a 40% chance of winning - but we clearly can't take the 6/4 that is being offered.

Wright v Gilding - Now we have a bit of a stinker, at least in terms of quality, with neither player scoring 90 per turn in the sample I'm looking at, Peter being clearly the weakest seed as of right now, while Andrew was one of the last players to make the field and only Pietreczko has worse numbers that did make it right now. Having said that, in terms of tension, this might be alright - in terms of projections it's one of the closest I've seen in the tournament, with Snakebite only just edging ahead 51/49. The market's got it a bit more one sided than that, but not so far that we would want to think about taking Gilding in a bet. 11/8 I might go for it small, 6/4 would be even nicer. Seems like one where it'd be reasonable to think we get money in on the name player, so keep an eye on it.

Smith v Anderson - A great match up of former world champions. Gary's performing like one - the only player other than Humphries to be scoring over 96 a turn. Michael isn't, scoring nearer to 92 than 93 and barely cracking the top 20 in that metric. As such, it's a bit odd that the market has things so close - I've got Gary projecting at closer to 80% than 70%, such is the difference between the players in terms of levels. You don't see this kind of edge very often so I'm going the full unit, 1u Anderson 4/5

Dobey v Edhouse - Chris is at the stage in terms of numbers where he's clearly a top ten player, but needs to get results like a very deep major run or a Euro Tour win in order to progress there. This isn't the worst start he could get, Ritchie has had a very consistent run of good Pro Tour and European Tour results to get here for a debut, but he is quite some way off Dobey's standards, and I'm not even projecting him to win this one more than one in every four trials. As such, Dobey at 4/9 is fairly close to a play, feels like another one where there's a bit of a disconnect between how well someone is playing and the market perception of it.

Cross v van Veen - Rob's seeded six here, and that feels like a fair number as to where he stands right now, as I actually have him sixth in scoring. Therefore there's not many players who are better than him - van Veen might have been close to that eight months ago, and he is still playing very good stuff which has allowed him to qualify for here, but he's a little bit off Rob and this looks like a 70/30 game on paper. The market has things a little bit kinder for Gian, but with Cross at 1/2 it's not by much and we can't really think about taking the favourite.

Heta v Searle - Finally we have another game that feels like it should be very close. Damon is still putting up good enough numbers to be in the top 16, and is actually scoring better than van Gerwen to underline that point, but Ryan's within a point, so while Heta is favoured, it's not by a great deal, rating a touch over 55%, which if it was a little bit more I'd look to play, with neither being odds against and Damon being 10/11. A few more points would be needed though.

So four plays, three of them being bigger than the normal quarter unit that I'd look at, they're all on favourites. Will probably post again not before the round is complete on Monday.

Tuesday 2 July 2024

Creating pathways for worldwide players

As is often the case after the World Cup, or any other event which features international players from outside the 128 for that matter, we often get posts like we got from Lendel on Sunday, namely questioning how we can assist players such as An Sheng Lu and Max Dalla Rosa work towards the Pro Tour. That's a fair question, but I think for the two players in question it works very much differently. For Max (let's just give the Italian team big props for a moment, it was only 2-3 years ago where most of us were questioning why the hell they were even in the tournament and France weren't, now they were a couple of visits away from the semi final), I think the infrastructure is basically there. Being in Europe helps a lot. You have a lot of the WDF events you can play. If you're on the younger side, you have the Development Tour, everyone has access to the Challenge Tour. Yes, for the latter, you'll need to stump up for Q-School, but if you're not at a stage where you're able to do that, then this post isn't really for you. If the money's an issue, find a group of eight players locally, each chuck in a hundred euros, have a winner takes all for it and use the money to cover the bulk of the costs - if you can't win that then you're not really in a spot to be looking at Q-School seriously.

For someone more distant however, it's a heck of a lot trickier. Just getting to where the bulk of the tournaments are played is going to incur much higher expenses, which is going to be hard to overcome, never mind the fact that if you were to want to attempt to play the tour, you're going to have to relocate a huge way around the world, and that's if you don't get messed around with things like visa issues, which is why I've got a lot of respect for the likes of Heta, Campbell, Perez, Puha and others who have given it a go to various degrees. For those who aspire to be the next of these players, I think some assistance should be given to having a gateway into the higher levels.

First, I think someone's got to be doing a good job on their local circuit. For these, I'm just going to consider the DPA, Asian and CDC tours - there's others, but either the standard still seems too distant, or they're local enough (e.g. SDC) that expenses aren't an issue. If you're not doing a good enough job at these levels, then it's kind of hard to justify putting effort into helping someone reach the next level. What I think we should do is to say to each of the top five players on that circuit that we will guarantee you two Pro Tour entries for the next season.

This does two things - firstly, it gives someone a couple of shots at the highest level of play, and if you're able to bink a win, that is probably at a minimum clearing the cost of your flights - which you ought to be able to cover anyway from what you have won on your regional tour, but having two chances to clear a lot of your expenses is important. Secondly, dates can be arranged a fair deal in advance. These were all done in September at the latest - and the PDC calendar for the next year is typically known about a month after that. On a quick search I couldn't find the exact dates for last year, but 2022's calendar was known in October 2021. That's going to give a lot of notice for booking reasonably priced flights/hotels as opposed to scrambling at short notice, and will also give a lot of time to arrange a visa if needed, and to look into other events - I'm sure the sorts of players at this level would be more than welcome onto the Modus events, if someone on the younger side was to have got there for this season, maybe they target events 3/4, 9/10, 15/16 or 27/28, which are extremely close to Development Tour weekends. Or maybe they just look when there is a larger WDF open event and go from there. Or pick the early season, when they could do UK Open qualifiers.

Now naturally this would take away spots from the Challenge Tour top up list. But on average, we're only talking one spot per event (5 players * 3 tours * 2 entries), and it's pretty rare, if it ever happens, that we don't have at least a couple of drop outs, so whoever's right at the top of the CT list is not going to miss out. Yes, someone will fall out, but it's not as if there is a divine right to get onto the Pro Tour if you're, say, ninth on the Challenge Tour rankings. There is also the remote possibility that enough of the 128 take their entry that you have more than 128 players in an event - fine, if that does happen, someone's unlucky and has to play a prelim, it's not a big deal. I would say that the PDC if they were to implement such a system as this that they're within their rights to try to spread out the entries as evenly as they can so that there's no more than a couple of players through this method in each Pro Tour, which would limit the chances of this happening, but I just list it as something that could happen.

Finally, I wouldn't suggest this is open to everyone on the respective regional tour. I'd exclude players who have previously held a tour card from being eligible for this - a Jeff Smith or Danny Baggish does not need the chance to test themselves at the next level, as they've already been there and done that. I'd limit the amount of times that someone could utilise this avenue as well - maybe to two or three shots. If you've finished high enough on your regional circuit that often and have had that number of opportunities to see if you're capable of and willing to take the next step, you've got enough information on whether you think you can make it at the Pro Tour level and commit to it - so now you have to do so, and give someone else the chance to test the waters. Lastly, I'd probably put some sort of upper age limit on this - the whole kind of point is to see if someone can be capable of being a trailblazer for their country, and for more than a short period of time. If someone was to get on the tour, but then is looking at starting to rail the schedule back and wind down their career, you would think why have you bothered. If someone is older, then they can always do the Dave Cameron or Leonard Gates route and use the seniors circuit as an additional stop while over here.

It's something to think about. Opportunities outside the main PDC circuit have probably never been better, I think this'd be a decent way of combining those with a taste of where you need to be at to make it at the top level.

Sunday 23 June 2024

Leverkusen done

One up one down in the quarters. I guess we take that - while we could say that we had match darts in both, we also conceded match darts in both, so let's not be greedy, that could have ended up worse than it did. Congrats to Chizzy on the win, commiserations to Ross on the final defeat, a win at this level is coming, but briefly for now, the new FRH rankings:

1 Luke Humphries
2 Michael van Gerwen
3 Michael Smith
4 Rob Cross
5 Dave Chisnall (UP 3)
6 Damon Heta
7 Gerwyn Price (DOWN 2)
8 Nathan Aspinall (DOWN 1)
9 Luke Littler (UP 2)
10 Peter Wright
11 Jonny Clayton (DOWN 2)
12 Stephen Bunting
13 Dimitri van den Bergh
14 Chris Dobey
15 Danny Noppert
16 Josh Rock (UP 1)
17 Ryan Searle (UP 2)
18 Gary Anderson
19 Joe Cullen (DOWN 3)
20 Ross Smith

Some interesting moves there. Chisnall is now in the top 5, which is probably about the peak of what you can do without a major bink or a world final, but Heta's only a PC final away from him. Price slides down to 7, which seems remarkable given he is not playing badly in the slightest. Littler hits the top 10 for the first time despite not having registered points for a month, while Wright just holds on to a top 10 spot for now by a fraction over the absent Clayton from this weekend. Ross Smith holds the last spot in the top 20 after his final, while Schindi is getting close to the top 20, van Veen is into the top 30, Doets is up to 45, and Owen Bates is solidifying a top 90 spot. Andy Baetens is also already into the top 100.

Just two events to go until the Matchplay. I think Woodhouse has just about done enough this weekend to solidify a spot, so the closest thing is that it's 2 from 3 out of Gilding, Doets and Wade (in that order), but Dirk, Rydz and de Decker are within striking distance, but after that it's basically bink or done, so it may be a bit of a damp squib of a Matchplay chasedown. We'll see shortly.

Leverkusen last 8

That went remarkably well - 5/5, clawed back all the losses from Friday and actually leaves us up slightly for the tournament. Into the quarters and we have:

Bunting/Heta - Feels like Bunting's absolutely on fire and Damon's just been OK, but this actually projects straight in the middle. Heta is the marginal betting dog, and I don't hate it if you take 5/4, but I'd want a tad more to recommend a play, especially after Stephen's performance this afternoon.

Searle/Chisnall - Another one I'm seeing split right down the middle. Can't pick a winner. Searle's slightly odds against but even less odds against than Heta is so nothing doing here.

Schindler/Smith - Can go with this one though, 0.25u Schindler 23/20. Schindler projects at over 60% and is the underdog, this is a very easy pick.

Smith/van Veen - Kind of similar to the last one, 0.25u Smith 4/5, except we're a bit worse in terms of price offered, but that's countered by Ross being that bit more of a favourite compared to Schindler.

Leverkusen last 16

Well that was a day of ups and downs, Searle and Dobey coming through tight games to put us in a good spot, then Cross had probably the worst match I can remember him playing to put us back where started. Fairly chalky day with the majority of the seeds going through, I'm just going to do very quick thoughts on the last sixteen.

Bates/Bunting - no bet, Bunting being priced shorter than 1/3 is pretty much bang on, could be a tick shorter but no big deal.

Heta/Dobey - no bet, looks right again, Dobey's about a 55/45 favourite and he's 5/6.

Chisnall/Doets - 0.25u Chisnall 4/7, seems a strange one that it's this close. Kevin's OK but Chizzy projects near to 80%. Much nearer to going half a unit than not betting this one.

van Gerwen/Searle - 0.1u Searle 7/5, looks like a sliver of value, Searle's actually projecting a couple of percent higher than van Gerwen right now, although due to consistency Michael has the slightly higher average. Call it a flip and Betfred give us just about enough odds to take a small stab.

van Duijvenbode/Schindler - 0.25u Schindler 4/5, Dirk's not looked too bad this weekend but this is projecting nearer to 65% than 60% for Martin, so 4/5 looks pretty tasty.

Smith/Wright - Might be a tiny, tiny bit of value on Wright here, he's just north of 2/1 and we're getting him above 35%, if it was an equivalent player I might say a tenth of a unit for the hell of it but I just don't feel confident in Peter's ability to get wins over big players right now.

Rock/Smith - 0.1u Smith 6/5, similar to the Searle one except here we have Ross a tiny bit above 55% and the consistency is less of an issue, so the smaller price seems fine here.

van Barneveld/van Veen - 0.1u van Veen 10/11, not really sure why this one is so close, we've got Gian as enough of a favourite that he should be nearer 8/11 than 10/11. Sure Barney just beat Humphries but I don't think that should count for this much.

So we've got a couple of normal plays and some small plays around even money, let's see what we can do. Should be back for the quarters.