Saturday 20 May 2017

MvG versus the field

With Michael van Gerwen managing to win the Premier League from a lost position, and with the Matchplay being just around the corner, the question has to be can he be stopped, and can we not just print money by going for him to win it outright? Let's see.

The event isn't up on oddschecker yet, but checking on the sponsor's website, van Gerwen is an 8/11 favourite. I wouldn't imagine that others would have him that far off, but let's use that as a marker. If we want to have an edge betting van Gerwen at this price, we really need to know he'll win at least 60% of the time. Will he? I've taken the stats of all of the current Matchplay competitors and shoved them into the master computer and extrapolated the chances that the other 31 beat him at each stage of the tournament.

As far as the hardest run goes? The opening match (against a non-seed) would be against Kyle Anderson, where van Gerwen is projected to win 91.21% of the time. The only player who could drop out of the top 16 and be a tougher challenge is Whitlock, but we'll keep him as the last 16 opponent. Here, van Gerwen wins 90.9% of the time. Now we're into the quarter finals. There's a clutch of very good players who could reasonably get the 8/9 seed, but we'll go with van Barneveld, who's currently in one of those slots. van Gerwen wins this 81.35% of the time though and we plow forward to the semi finals. Here, the toughest opponent is Adrian Lewis, but van Gerwen still wins this match 83.45% of the time. In the final, Anderson is the clear toughest opponent, but van Gerwen still projects to win that tie 69.42% of the time.

Multiply all of these percentages together, and you have van Gerwen taking the title slightly less than two times out of five. Thus it's a horrible bet. But what if we have the easiest run possible? Here we've got to be a bit more realistic in terms of projecting opponents - let's say that, at most, a seed can advance one round further than than expected, and we only play against a non-seed in round 1. We open up with Ronny Huybrechts where van Gerwen has a 98.35% shot of advancing. In round 2, we'll say that Robert Thornton continues to drop down the rankings and is overtaken by Whitlock, putting Thornton at the #16 seed (dartsdatabase right now puts Whitlock five grand down on Thornton, which has been cut by a third already today thanks to Thornton's first round exit and Whitlock is still alive in the last 16). Thornton goes out 94.34% of the time. Now to the quarter finals, for which it becomes a touch trickier, as we've got to use an 8 or 9 seed. Klaasen isn't that far behind Suljovic, it'd only take a Pro Tour win or a European Tour final to be within a couple of grand of overhauling him, so not unrealistic. van Gerwen takes this one on 95.67% of occasions (for reference, if you think that Klaasen can't catch Suljovic, Suljovic wouldn't even win 10% of games). To the semi finals, and we have number 5 seed James Wade, who van Gerwen defeats at an unbelievable 98.67% clip. Then, in the final, he'll play Peter Wright - who van Gerwen beats 86.95% of the time.

Multiply all those up and you get van Gerwen binking more than three times out of four. That looks like a much better bet, but that even with the easiest reasonable draw, it's nowhere near the automatic win that some people might think.

Will round up Milton Keynes tomorrow night - big weekend already for Chris Dobey in terms of Matchplay qualification by getting the European Tour qualification double, Clayton got one and is in the last 16 today, Henderson also qualified twice and added on another grand earlier today.

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