Monday 17 July 2017

Matchplay pod 8 - 21 world titles against the young pretenders

Phil Taylor (World rank: 8, FRH rank: 18, match odds: 4/11, tournament odds: 25/1) v Gerwyn Price (World rank: 18, FRH rank: 17, match odds: 11/4, tournament odds: 200/1)

Phil Taylor's last competitive dart was thrown in 2016 as he went out of the world championships to potential second round opponent Raymond van Barneveld. Since then, he finished a creditable third in the Premier League, but an exhibition is an exhibition, even if there's hundreds of thousands of pounds in prize money riding on it. He's always loved Blackpool, but with him no longer having the aura of invincibility he had around three years ago, is he there for the taking?

Gerwyn Price will certainly think so. Making a first major final at the UK Open, he's elevated himself to the position where he's getting World Series invites and knocking on the door of the top 16 in the world. He's not been in a position to win anything else, but has made several final sessions in Europe and is putting himself in the right areas.

Taylor is listed as not quite a 75% favourite in the market, I have him slightly above that mark, which makes me think the line is good enough here to not warrant a bet.

Raymond van Barneveld (World rank: 9, FRH rank: 7, match odds: 4/11, tournament odds: 50/1) v Joe Cullen (World rank: 21, FRH rank: 19, match odds: 11/4, tournament odds: 300/1)

Curiously the same match odds as the other match. Barney indicated that he'd be playing the full tour this season - dartsdatabase has just gone down so I can't check at a glance, but it worked for a little bit, recently not so much. He's not had a ranking cash since April in Europe, and hasn't really gone deep in much, the UK Open quarter final being as good a finish as any. He's clearly still got the talent, although hasn't converted it to results, only finishing mid table in the Premier League.

Cullen's finally made the breakthrough he's been threatening for years, picking up one tour title earlier this season back in April, and adding a second right at the cutoff. A last 16 at the UK Open wasn't bad, he did see off Cadby in style at the world championships as well, and he has been making the final session of European Tour events with regularity. I think he finally believes, and is going about the game the right way, a run at a major is the next step.

This may be too soon though. Barney's just too strong, but the market seems spot on - I have Barney at 73% here, so there's no value either way.

In round two, I think everyone hopes to see a Taylor/Barney match, possibly for the last time. If we do, it should be quite close, Barney not being quite a 60/40 favourite on the numbers. Barney would be better than 80% against Price, while Taylor would be just short of 70% against Cullen. If both the young'uns win, Cullen would be aronud 60/40 against Price, having slightly the better numbers when winning, and comparable when losing.

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