Saturday 15 July 2017

Matchplay pod 2 - No Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman go double Dutch

Gary Anderson (World rank: 2, FRH rank: 3, match odds: 1/9, tournament odds: 5/1) v Christian Kist (World rank: 38, FRH rank: 36, match odds: 8/1, tournament odds: 750/1)

Our next set of matches see the two time world champion Gary Anderson, looking to add to his title haul with a Matchplay win, an event where he's not even reached the final, up against another former world champion in Christian Kist, who is on debut here as he's building up a bit more consistency in the PDC. Anderson has the third best form points stat in the field behind the other players in the top two, which is impressive given he's ignored the European Tour completely and certainly hasn't played much of the Pro Tour, but when he has played he's looked incredible, winning three events, making the final of three more, as well as looking strong in unranked events, the only blot is really the UK Open (Hogan though) as well as the comedy that was the World Cup, but who cares about unranked pairs matches.

Kist has a huge task ahead of him, and while he's getting better, hasn't really been doing much, not having made a quarter final since the Players Championship finals back in November. Not completely safe for this until the final weekend, he's mostly here on the back of a good end to 2016, including one Pro Tour final, and consistently qualifying for European Tour events, having played in seven but never getting more than one win in any of them.

Anderson absolutely dominates Kist in every stat going - Kist has the lowest losing average in the field, while Anderson has the highest, and Kist cannot produce enough good legs, only getting a twelve darter once in every seventeen legs, not finishing in fifteen more than half the time, and having an overall record of more legs lost than won. Anderson, according to my projections, has the greatest winning chance of any player in round one - better even than Michael van Gerwen. As we went with that match at shorter odds than this, I think we need to go even bigger here - 3u Anderson 1/9

Benito van de Pas (World rank: 14, FRH rank: 14, match odds: 6/4, tournament odds: 250/1) v Daryl Gurney (World rank: 16, FRH rank: 9, match odds: 8/11, tournament odds: 150/1)

This one looks close on paper, with two young players who've been mentioned in dispatches as possible Premier League players in the next couple of years, going up against each other for the right to likely face Gary Anderson in round 2. After a very good 2016 on the floor where he collected three Pro Tour titles, but couldn't really do it on TV, albeit he did play great stuff at the worlds when losing to Anderson, Benito hasn't been truly at his best this season. The run to the final of the German Open aside, the Dutchman hasn't been able to make it past a quarter final all season, had a relatively early exit at the UK Open to Alan Norris, and has dropped multiple first round games in the European Tour to further hurt his ranking money. It's generally thought that while his floor game is up to scratch, it's lack of TV quality that's holding him back, but if the floor game is wobbling a bit, that's a big concern.

Gurney is exactly the sort of player to capitalise from this. He finally made his breakthrough to the elite level this year, following his World Championship quarter final, he made the semi finals of the UK Open, and then broke the title duck in April with a good win in Barnsley against Kim Huybrechts. This seems to have taken the handbrake off - since then he's made three further finals, and has a current streak of eleven singles events where he's made at least the last 16.

The stats have the two lined up very, very closely - Gurney comes in as a favourite, but it's not even 52/48 on the raw numbers. On current form, I think that needs to be pushed up a bit, probably to the point where it's a no bet situation. If Gurney continues playing the way he is and if Benito can replicate some of what we know he can do this will easily be the match of the round.

Looking at the second round, Kist would be around a 3-1 dog against either opponent, but it's likely to be Anderson who's up. Anderson should be the favourite against either, in the high 80's percentage wise. I'm high on Anderson, but especially if he faces Gurney, it'll be very interesting to see what the books do in terms of pricing, especially if Anderson doesn't look completely convincing.

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